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NHL Playoffs Start Tonight–Some Notes Follow

April 10, 2019

The Tampa Bay Lightning, with twenty one more regular season points than any other team and more important, “dues paying,” playoffs losses in the ’15 final series and last year’s “semi” to the Barry Trotz coached, eventual champion, Washington Capitals, richly deserve to win the 2019 NHL crown/Stanley Cup.

That, however, does not mean they will do so and certainly they will have to earn it in the “attrition rich,” NHL ‘offs.

The franchise has one title, that fifteen years ago in ’04 when they 7’d this year’s top Western Conference, “reg” team, Calgary (Flames). The Lightning open this year’s ‘offs vs Columbus (Blue Jackets), a team coached by the ’04 title winning Lightning coach, John Tortorella.

Barry Trotz, in his first season with the New York Islanders, guided them to a fine regular season and they have home ice advantage vs a familiar Trotz playoff foe, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In each of the last 3 seasons the Pens under 2 time Cup winner, Mike Sullivan and the Trotz coached Capitals met in the playoffs, with the series winner (“Pitts” in ’16 and ’17, “Wash” in ’18), going on to win the Stanley Cup each time.

 

The defending champion Washington Capitals, who finished ahead of both the Islanders and Penguins to win the regular season, NHL Metropolitan Division, begin their series vs the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow night in Washington D.C.

That series winner will face the Isles/Pens winner in the NHL quarterfinal round.

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