The NHL Playoffs continue to heat up an whether or not you’re a hockey fan, it is nearly impossible to miss the signs that the NHL Playoffs are in full swing. From social media sites like twitters special hashtags of #BecauseItsTheCup and #NHLPlayoffs, Facebook posts from the NHL teams, or even just your friends – the hockey fever has certainly taken over with fans old and new. The Western and Eastern conferences are winding down their final few games of the quarterfinals, and we’re soon off to Round 2, leaving behind 8 teams.
The most notable match-up from this conference is the San Jose Sharks sweeping the Vancouver Canucks last night. The Sharks took all 4 games in the best of 7 and were the first team to advance. The Sharks have proved themselves to be a tough team, and showed no slowing down while playing the Canucks. Although some Vancouver fans may cry “playoff curse” as they were once again eliminated from contention, but in the end this boiled down to just a better team winning.
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild are also an honorable mention from this conference. The Blackhawks started off with a strong 2-0 series lead, but the Minnesota Wild fought back in Game 3. Any fan would agree that in Game 3 the Wild were a completely different team on the ice than in the previous two games. The team brought physicality which threw the Chicago Blackhawks off their game. The Hawks did come back to win the next game, and hold a 3-1 series lead.
Some may agree that the Eastern Conference isn’t as tough as the Western, so the Pittsburgh Penguins would easily skate into the Stanley Cup Finals no matter who they played. Although the Pens were viewed as having the conference already won, the New York Islanders may another thing to say on that. These two teams are currently tied in a 2-2 series and is showing that this series won’t just be given, it must be taken. Going from a Pittsburgh Penguins series lead to a series tie, could the Islanders be able to finally pull through as the underdogs and take lead of the series for the first time?
Also feeling the heat in the NHL Playoffs this year are the Montreal Canadiens. These number 2 seeded Habs are matched up against the 7th seeded Ottawa Senators, and in theory, was thought to have been an easy victory for the Canadiens. The Senators are up to a commanding 3-1 lead over Montreal and it is not looking good. This series has been one of the most physical this year, from some hard hits, to a throw-down-brawl in center ice involving most of the team. Are the Canadiens out of gas and accepting defeat, or can they pull forward? It’s still possible, as teams have come back from a deficit once before.
These are just a few of the match-ups occurring for the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. While the teams are finishing up their best of 7 games this week, the next 8 will advance and in just a few short weeks, we’ll have a Stanley Cup winner! Whether you plan on wearing some Chicago Blackhawks gear, or sporting a Pittsburgh Penguins t-shirt, now is the perfect time to get into the playoffs with some NHL Playoffs gear.