Good evening ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again and hockey fans all over the world are checking the standings to see which teams are going to the postseason and who is going to play who in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So, we here at Blue Line Station are going to do our best to dissect the playoff picture as it currently looks, and give you an idea of how it may look when April 16th starts. So let’s start with the conference that our favorite team the New York Rangers are in, the Eastern Conference! However, before we get started, I understand that the new playoff format can be somewhat confusing, so if you need some help on figuring out how it all works, you can go here but if not, then let’s get started.
Let’s start with the Atlantic Division, the Boston Bruins have claimed first place in both their division and first place in the eastern conference. They are also are looking to claim first place in the national hockey league for the President’s Trophy. Being first in the conference, means they will play against the second wild card steam for the opening round of the playoffs. There are two teams that are currently jostling in the two wild card spots to see who faces Boston or Pittsburgh, the Detroit Red Wings, who clinched the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive season, and the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time in franchise history. Both of these teams have 91 points, the Philadelphia Flyers currently have 91 points and are tied for with the Jackets for the first wild card spot and third place but the Flyers have the tiebreaking advantage, which is why they are in third.
After all that talk of Boston and who will play them in the first round, you may have forgotten about the divisional match-up that will take place between Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. This match-up is, for the most part, set in stone. The only question is, who will get home ice advantage? Montreal has 97 points compared to Tampa Bay’s 94 and will currently have the edge of home ice in a playoff series between these two teams. The winner of this series will advance to play the winner of the Boston-Wild Card two series for the division final also called the conference semi-final.
Moving on now to the Metropolitan division, which is led by the Pittsburgh Penguins with 107 points. The Penguins will play the team that finishes the season in the first wild card spot, which currently looks like it will be the Red Wings or the Blue Jackets, currently it’s the Jackets, because even though they are tied at 91 points Columbus has the tiebreaker over Detroit so Columbus would be destined to play the Penguins in round one of the playoffs, and Detroit to face Boston.
Finally, there’s the divisional match-up for the Metropolitan Division, and all signs are pointing to that being a best of seven series between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers currently have 93 points and sit in second place, The Flyers, who have a game in hand on New York, have 91 points. The big factor in a series like this one will be who gets home ice advantage. Currently, the Rangers are the best road team in the NHL, but the Flyers home record is among the best. The Rangers don’t have the strongest home record, but the Flyers have lost eight straight at Madison Square Garden.
This is what we’ve got for you hockey fans! Stay tuned to the site for the western conference playoff picture! We will continue to update this page and the bracket until it all final.