NHL Playoffs 2017: Pittsburgh and Nashville Punch Their Tickets to Round Two

Three Teams Have Advanced so far to the Second Round of the NHL Playoffs this year, Giving Us Three Potential Matchups Already.

Nashville, Anaheim, and Pittsburgh have all punched their plane tickets into the second round of the NHL Playoffs. The Penguins won their series over Columbus in five games, Nashville took us by surprised and swept the Blackhawks in four, and finally, Anaheim swept Calgary in four.

Pittsburgh Penguins:
If Washington wins their series against the Maple Leafs, next on their docket is the Penguins. Now, this is an early gift to us all cause this is definitely more of a Conference Finals match then a second rounder. However, it’s still going to be amazing. If Toronto somehow pulls an upset against the best team in the NHL, they could give Pittsburgh a serious run for their money since they have all season.

nhl playoffs

Apr 17, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim Ducks:
When Anaheim swept Calgary in four a lot of people were surprised, I myself was not. Calgary has two goalies who have been shaky all season and Anaheim possesses a way forward core that is way too talented, on the back end, and in net, for them to lose to the Flames. But on the flipside, Calgary definitely didn’t make things easy. Now they sit and wait for the winner of the Edmonton and San Jose matchup. At the moment that series is tied 2-2, and regardless of who wins it, Anaheim has their work cut out for them. Because San Jose possesses the experience to give them a solid 6-7 game run. If Edmonton pulls off the series win proving they are no slouches they could take Anaheim by surprise as well.

Nashville Predators:
We all thought Chicago had the team to take out Nashville, however, that didn’t happen since they were swept in four. But that’s all due to the play of Pekka Rinne and the defense of Nashville. So the question is can they keep it up? They should be able to since they’re waiting on either Minnesota and St. Louis who also have a very solid goalie in their respective nets, as well as four lines that can score and three defensive lines that can contribute and stop the puck. So whoever Nashville is paired with, it’s going to be a great series.

Outcomes:
If Nashville gets St. Louis that series will easily go 6-7 games, if they get Minnesota and Devan Dubnyk‘s recent blunders continue into the second round, Nashville can take that series in 5-6 games.

Pittsburgh is going to be challenged regardless but out of Washington and Toronto, the edge has to be given to Washington as the tougher team. And if Pittsburgh ends up getting them, that’s a series that has the potential to go 6-7 games. If they are lucky enough to get Toronto and Marc-Andre Fleury keeps up his stellar play as well as guys like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, Justin Schultz, Phil Kessel, and Patric Hornqvist their power play will wear the Leafs down which means Pittsburgh can take that series in 5-6.

If Anaheim gets the Sharks that’s a series that can go 5-7 games either way due to them both possessing four solid forward lines, three solid defensive lines, and a stellar goaltender. If they are lucky enough to keep up their solid play and land an opponent like the Oilers the Ducks could potentially move onto the Conference Finals in 5-6 games.

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