With the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks eliminated in the 1st round, the 2016 NHL Playoffs are guaranteed to crown a new champion. The Washington Capitals cruised into the playoffs after winning the Presidents trophy, but will have to get through a tough Eastern Conference bracket that includes a hot Pittsburgh Penguins team. On the other side, the Stars and Blues will battle to keep the Stanley Cup out west. The field is set, and the race for the 2016 Stanley Cup is on.
- Date:May 2016
- Teams TBD vs. TBD
The race for the NHL Eastern Conference Championship is as packed as it has been in years. Defending Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers enter as the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup, after posting a 113 point regular season and bringing home the Presidents Cup. Their road to the finals won’t be easy, playing a veteran Pittsburgh Penguins squad in the first round with ultra-talented Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. On the other side of the Eastern Conference bracket, the Montreal Canadians will square off against the Ottawa Senators, in an all Canada first round. The Canadians fell just two games short of the finals last year and will look to take the top step this year. Despite not having favorite status, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Senators and New York Islanders are all capable of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.
- Date: May 2016
- Teams TBD vs. TBD
Last year’s Western Conference Champions the Los Angeles Kings did not make the playoffs in 2015, leaving room for a new champion this season. The Anaheim Ducks enter with the top seed, and will look to put the disappointments from the previous two NHL Playoffs behind them. On the top half of the bracket, the St. Louis Blues enter with a #1 seed and will look to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2001. The Chicago Blackhawks are back in the playoffs and will look to win their 3rd Western Conference Final since 2010. The Blackhawks will have to play a hungry Nashville Predators team looking to advance to the conference semifinals for the 3rd time in franchise history. The Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Cannucks, Calgary Flames, and Minnesota Wild all are dark horses to reach the Western Conference Finals, and will have eyes to upset the favorites along the way.