The regular season is over and the real fun is about to begin.
The Stanley Cup playoffs kick off on Wednesday, as 16 teams prepare for the two-month battle for the toughest trophy to win in professional sports.
There’s no shortage of intriguing matchups this year.
1. Tampa Bay vs 4. New Jersey
In a battle of two teams that missed the playoffs last year, Tampa Bay has designs on their first Stanley Cup since 2004.
2. Boston vs 3. Toronto
It’s the first playoff matchup between the Leafs and Bruins since their epic Game 7 five years ago.
1. Washington vs 4. Columbus
Is this the year that Alex Ovechkin makes it past the second round?
2. Pittsburgh vs 3. Philadelphia
The battle of Pennsylvania never seems to disappoint, as this rivalry gets another chapter written.
1. Nashville vs 4. Colorado
The Colorado Avalanche finished dead-last in the NHL a year ago. The Predators came two wins short of winning the Stanley Cup.
2. Winnipeg vs 3. Minnesota
Fans in Winnipeg haven’t seen a playoff series victory in 31 years. After a 114-point season, this is the best Jets team ever.
1. Vegas vs 4. Los Angeles
Are the Vegas Golden Knights for real? They enter the playoffs in their inaugural season as a division winner. They’re facing an experienced group in the LA Kings.
2. Anaheim vs 3. San Jose
A battle of California, the Ducks enter the playoffs on a roll, having won 10 of their last 12 games.