Most intriguing potential NHL 2022 playoff matchups
The playoff spots are nearly all locked up aside from Vegas trying to get in the Western Conference and for the sake of this article, it will be assumed that nothing changes in the standings.
(2) Toronto Maple Leafs vs (3) Tampa Bay Lightning
This will be the ultimate test for Toronto to see if they can get past the first round and they will have to do it against the back-to-back defending champions.
Tampa Bay also has one of the best goaltenders in the league in Andrei Vasilevskiy while Toronto is loaded with offensive talent such as Auston Matthews who has 58 goals on the season.
(1) Colorado Avalanche vs (WC2) Dallas Stars
Colorado seems to have no trouble in the regular season winning games but they struggle when the playoffs begin.
They will likely get back captain Gabriel Landeskog for the playoffs but he has not played for a while now so he may be rusty and goaltender Darcy Kuemper has not been consistent this year.
Dallas has made an unlikely run in the past and now they have a new goaltender in Jake Oettinger to lead them while Joe Pavelski provides veteran leadership and an offensive spark.
(2) New York Rangers vs (3) Pittsburgh Penguins
The matchup of experience vs inexperience is on full display here as the Penguins return many players who won a cup with them while this is the Rangers' first time in the playoffs since 2017.
The x-factor for this series will be in goaltending with Tristan Jarry’s health in question for the Penguins while it is Igor Shesterkin’s first time in the playoffs.
(1) Carolina Hurricanes vs (WC1) Boston Bruins
This could be a surprisingly good series as the Bruins have improved immensely since the beginning of the season and Hampus Lindholm provided the team with an offensive spark.
It is also the potential last run for the Bruins and for the Hurricanes the biggest question is Frederik Andersen’s health. If he is not good enough to go, expect Antti Raanta to start.
(2) Minnesota Wild vs (3) St. Louis Blues
This is probably the most evenly matched series of the entire playoffs as each team has tremendous goaltending, a solid defense and offensive talent upfront.
The key for the Blues will be shutting down superstar forward Kirill Kaprizov who is easily the best player on the Wild.
For the Wild, they need some depth scoring and guys like Matt Boldy, Joel Eriksson Ek, Nick Foligno, Ryan Hartman and Kevin Fiala.
(1) Calgary Flames vs (WC1) Nashville Predators
Calgary has had a very solid season so far led by Johnny Gaudreau while the Predators have surprised many people this season.
Juuse Saros has been solid in net and Roman Josi is having the best statistical season in Predators history.
Meanwhile, Calgary has gotten younger on defense and added depth scoring this season with Tyler Toffoli, Calle Jarnkrok and Blake Coleman.
Jacob Markstrom has also played very well this season and will likely continue that into the playoffs.
(1) Florida Panthers vs (WC2) Washington Capitals
The Panthers should cruise past the Capitals who do not have strong goaltending this year while the Panthers feature the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Sasha Barkov and Claude Giroux.
This should be a fairly quick series.
(2) Edmonton Oilers vs (3) Los Angeles Kings
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are a phenomenal duo but the goaltending duo of Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen leaves for a lot to be desired.
Duncan Keith will also be making his return to the playoffs with the Oilers.
The Kings' defense is also not that good with all the injuries and Jonathan Quick is not what he used to be.
James Morrison is a second-year majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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