Only two of six Canadian teams will be competing in the NHL playoffs, which kick off on Wednesday with the New York Rangers and Washington at 7:30pm followed by Nashville at Anaheim at 10pm. Later in the week the Vancouver Canucks will take on the Chicago Blackhawks while two of the most highly-anticipated rivals, the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, face-off in a match-up with a long and storied history.
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t made it into the playoffs since 2004, something that has become a nagging thorn in the sides of Blue and White fans across the country for seven years. Calgary came up short by just three points to make the playoff cut, and the Ottawa Senators were Stanley Cup finalists back in ’07 but endured a rocky finish in ’11 with the firing of their coach, Cory Clouston, this past weekend and the loss of big stars like Mike Fisher, Alexei Kovalev and Chris Kelly. And finally, the Edmonton Oilers had a so-so season, like many others, finishing in 30th place with 62 points.
But changes are still on the horizon – for the first time during this year’s playoffs fans will be able to vote on their favourite Stanley Cup playoff moment since the NHL was founded in 1917 – 64 of the best playoff moments will be pitted against one another and then voted on by the public until one is chosen the winner. Voting will begin on April 11th and fans can visit nhl.com/history for more info and to cast their vote.
Check out the NHL’s official site www.nhl.com for standings and upcoming playoff schedules.