The annual Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway


Finn Vaccaro

Pregame of game 4 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey

Finn Vaccaro, Staff Writer

The 2023 National Hockey League Stanley Cup playoffs have begun, and they have not disappointed. The annual elimination tournament consisting of 16 teams began on April 17th, and has now advanced to the semifinal round, after an exciting first few rounds of play. The four teams that remain are 2nd seeded Dallas Stars, the 4th seeded Florida Panthers, 1 seed Vegas Golden Knights, and another 1 seed, Carolina Hurricanes. 

Over in the central division, the 2 seeded Dallas stars have come out on top. Throughout the regular season, the Stars had earned the 2 seed by finishing with a record of 47-21, and 108 total points. They had finished just 1 point behind the Colorado Avalanche, who finished with 109 points and a final record of 51-24. The Minnesota Wild finished just behind in the third spot, and the Seattle Kraken had won their wild card matchup to make it into the playoffs. In the opening round, the Stars knocked off the Wild with a series record of 4-2, and the Kraken knocked off the top seeded Avalanche in an excellent 7 game series. The Stars then beat the Kraken, winning game 7 2-1, advancing to the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

The Stars will face the winner of the pacific division, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights, along with Kraken, are two relatively new franchises, who have both proved themselves to be a top team in the league throughout the 2023 season. The Golden Knights had earned themselves the top seed, followed by the 2 seeded Edmonton Oilers, the LA Kings in the 3 spot, and the Winnipeg Jets had won their wild card matchup. The Knights nearly swept the Winnipeg Jets in round 1, and Conor McDavid and the Oilers advanced with a series of 4-2 against the Kings. The Knights then beat the Oilers, winning the division and will face the Stars in the semifinal round. 

On the other side of the league, the Metropolitan Division has not disappointed. The 1 seeded Hurricanes advanced with a game 6 victory against the Islanders, and the 2 seeded Devils took down the New York Rangers in a thrilling 7 game series. The Hurricanes then advanced, following a short 5-game series against the Devils, playing the Florida Panthers next. 

And last, in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins, who were the top seed in the conference, fell in a seven game series to the Florida Panthers. The Panthers finished on top of the conference, after beating the 2nd seeded Toronto Maple Leafs. 

In the semifinal round, the Golden Knights are leading the Stars 2-0, and the Panthers are leading the Hurricanes 2-0. The winners of each series will play in the Stanley Cup final series, beginning on June 8th.