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The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

NHL playoffs are underway

Jack Martin
Madison Square Garden, the home of the Rangers, will be filled with fans as they make a playoff push.

The NHL playoffs are off and running as the games are underway. We are in the midst of the second round of the playoffs, and there have not been many upsets. All but one of the higher seeds have advanced to the second round. The Dallas Stars beat the Vegas Golden Knights, the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Winnipeg Jets, and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Nashville Predators. The Boston Bruins edged the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games, the Washington Capitals were swept by the New York Rangers, and the Edmonton Oilers overcame the Los Angeles Kings. The Carolina Hurricanes got the best of the New York Islanders, and the Florida Panthers prevailed over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Dallas Stars faced off against the Vegas Golden Knights, with the Stars taking it in seven games. Radek Faksa scored the winning goal in the third period of Game Seven to send the Stars to the second round. Wyatt Johnston leads the Stars in goals so far in this postseason with five, while Miro Heiskanen leads the team with five assists. Coach Peter DeBoer led the Stars to a 52-21-9 record and the first seed out of the Central Division. Jason Robertson led the team with 51 assists in the regular season while Wyatt Johnston had 32 goals. Stars fan Randeep Kalra ‘26 says “I’m super excited for the Stars run. Coming back 2-0 against [the] Vegas [Golden Knights] and being one game away from a sweep, I think this Stars team could continue to do something special deeper into the playoffs. Overall, I’m very confident in this Stars team.”

The Colorado Avalanche beat the Winnipeg Jets in five games. Coach Jared Bednar and star player Nathan Mackinnon led the 2022 Stanley Cup Champions to the third seed out of the Central Division and a 50-25-7 record. Nathan Mackinnon has emerged as one of the best players in the NHL with 51 goals in the regular season, and a finalist for the Hart Trophy. Star defenseman Cale Makar has led the team in points these playoffs with 12 as the Avalanche lead the NHL in goals so far this postseason. The Avalanche are now squared up against the Stars, and the Stars have taken a 3-1 lead.

The Vancouver Canucks have had a surprising season, rising up the standings from fifth and sixth place from the last two years, to first this year and a 50-23-9 record. In just over a year, Head Coach Rick Tocchet has completely turned this team around with the help of Team Captain Quinn Hughes and J.T. Miller, who scored 37 goals this season. They overcame the Nashville Predators in the first round and are tied in the series against the Oilers.

The Edmonton Oilers have had a disappointing last few playoffs but look to avenge those losses by winning their sixth Stanley Cup. They are led by Team Captain Connor McDavid who was last year’s Hart Trophy recipient and is a finalist this year. He finished with 132 points and 100 assists and led the Oilers to the fourth most goals in the NHL. In his first year as Head Coach with the team, Kris Knoblauch has masterminded a 49-27-6 record and a second place finish in the Pacific Division. The Edmonton Oilers face a tough challenge with the Vancouver Canucks in the second round, with the series tied up at 2. 

The Florida Panthers, reigning Stanley Cup runners-up, have been very successful so far this season. With a record of 52-24-6 and a first place finish in the Atlantic Division, their goalie room has been a huge part of their success. Sergei Bobrovski and Anthony Stolarz have allowed a combined 198 goals during the regular season which is the fewest out of any team. Sam Reinhart leads the team in goals during the regular season with 57, while Matthew Tkachuk has 62 assists. Coach Paul Maurice has brought the Panthers to the playoffs for both of his seasons as Head Coach.

The Boston Bruins look to make it past the second round for the first time since the 2018-19 season. David Pastrnak leads the team in both goals and assists with 63 and 47 respectively, as he and Team Captain Brad Marchand look to lead the Bruins to former glory. They have won the title six times, with their most recent victory coming in 2011 over the Canucks. In his second year as head coach, Jim Montgomery led the Bruins to a 47-20-15 record, coming second in the Atlantic Division. They are up against the Florida Panthers in the second round with the series in favor of the Panthers, 3-2.

The Carolina Hurricanes have made the playoffs for the sixth straight season, and in all of those postseasons, they have won at least one round. Rod Brind’Amour is the fourth-longest tenured Head Coach in all of the NHL, and he has been very successful. However, they have only won the Stanley Cup once and look to change that in 2024. They were 52-23-7 in the Metropolitan Division this year, coming in second place. They are led by Team Captain Jordan Staal, and other star players like Sebastian Aho, Jake Guentzel, and Seth Jarvis.

Finally are the New York Rangers who won their first seven games before losing their last two games to the Hurricanes.. Coach Peter Laviolette led the Rangers to the best record in the NHL this year, at 55-23-4. Artemi Panarin has been the star of the show this year with 49 goals and 71 assists, he leads the team in both categories. Star goalie Igor Shesterkin, along with Chris Kreider and Alexis Lafreniere, have led this team to the first seed out of the Metropolitan Division and the first overall seed. They have already taken a 3-2 lead in the series over the Carolina Hurricanes and look to use that momentum moving forward as they seek their first title since 1994.

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