Stanley Cup Playoffs Welcomes Five Canadian Teams To Field

Stanley Cup Playoffs Welcomes Five Canadian Teams To Field&h=235&w=320&zc=1

In the past few years it’s been a recurring gripe that there ‘aren’t enough Canadian teams’ in the Stanley Cup playoffs. You won’t hear that complaint this season. When the Stanley Cup playoffs begin on Wednesday night there will be five teams from North of the border in contention. Four of those teams will be playing each other in what should be highly competitive series.

The Montreal Canadiens won the Atlantic Division title, finishing second in the Eastern Conference standings as well as the overall league standings. Underscoring the high level of competition in the NHL is their first round matchup–for putting up the second best record in hockey they get a first round series against the hottest team in the league. The Habs will face the Ottawa Senators starting on Wednesday night. All the Senators have done since mid February is go 20-3-3 and transform their season from one in which they were lottery bound to one in which they enter the Stanley Cup playoffs with a massive amount of momentum. Much of the credit goes to rookie goaltender Andrew ‘The Hamburglar’ Hammond who has lost only one game in regulation in his brief NHL career going 20-1-2. Montreal could be without leading scorer Max Pacioretty making this battle even tighter.

Out West, the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks will battle and lest we forget these teams hate each other. Vancouver has held the edge recently winning 11 of the last 14 meetings including six of the last seven at home. The context is very important, however, as Calgary has struggled in recent years. This year the Flames and Canucks split four games with each team winning on enemy ice. Calgary has a ton of injuries–most notably the absence of team captain Mark Giordano–but the Flames cleaned up against the Pacific Division this year going 22-7.

In the final matchup involving a Canadian team, the Winnipeg Jets will take on the Anaheim Ducks. This series could be surprisingly close despite the fact that the Jets are 0-3 against the Ducks this season. Worth noting that the Jets really ‘jelled’ down the stretch and two of the three losses to Anaheim were by a single goal.

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