Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And now, the real season begins

For many (your genial host included) the January to April stretch of this shortened NHL season was rather hard to get into, we would peek at the standings from time to time, pick up on a story or two as things moved along, but for the most part the distraction of the NHL"s shut down of October to mid January left us feeling a little less involved in the whole thing.

While the regular season in a normal year has always seemed far too long, this truncated effort seemed way to short, somewhere we imagine is a happy median, but that's for the NHL Board of Governors to figure out.

Today however, the real hockey season starts, the mad dash for Lord Stanley's Cup. Where each and every game is of key importance, a loss putting a team perilously close to joining the likes of Florida, Colorado, Calgary and Phoenix though without the high end draft picks.

For those teams that just sneaked into the playoffs with a seventh or eight place spot, the first round offers instant reward for their efforts, a chance to play giant slayer and extend their season.

For the front runners, the first round is always steeped in possible disaster, a couple of bad games at the wrong time and the whole season could be lost, such is the drama of the NHL playoffs.

Double headers almost nightly for the first few rounds, overtime sessions, elimination games all of it part of the drama of the second season, the real season.

Time to drop the puck for some real hockey.

Below the eight opening round match ups for this years Stanley Cup chase. Click on each series to find out more about the teams looking to advance out of round one.

Minnesota and Chicago
Chicago WINS the series 4 games to 1

Los Angeles and St. Louis
Los Angeles WINS the series 4 games to 2

Detroit and Anaheim
Detroit WINS the series 4 games to 3

New York Islanders and Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh WINS the series 4 games to 2

Ottawa and Montreal
Ottawa WINS the Series 4 games to 1

New York Rangers and Washington
New York WINS the Series 4 games to 3

Toronto and Boston
Boston WINS the Series 4 games to 3

San Jose and Vancouver
San Jose WINS the series 4 games to 0

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