Crosby, McDavid, Matthews players to watch in NHL playoffs

Alex Ovechkin

Toronto has nine players who haven't played in an National Hockey League playoff game, but coach Mike Babcock doesn't want anyone to wade into games this time of year.

The NHL playoffs kick off Wednesday.

(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File). Teams that were dominated last year did not make it to the playoffs and the teams that were not even in talks of playoff last year have suddenly made a comeback. If a team misses the playoffs, local fans will largely end up spending the money they would have spent supporting their team elsewhere in the local economy anyway.

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues: Minnesota started off like a house on fire and then put it on cruise the second half. The Capitals won 2-0.

To do that they'll need the best from Holtby, the reigning Vezina Trophy victor with the best playoff numbers of any active goaltender who started 63 games this season, three fewer than previous year and nine fewer than 2014-15.

Which team will emerge from the Western Conference?

For example, the last time a Canadian-backed team won the Stanley Cup was a Montreal Canadiens victory in 1993. "There's tons of different ways you can look at each and every situation, I just try and take the way of looking at things that's going to help me be successful", he said.

So is it Chicago's conference crown to lose when postseason play gets underway Wednesday? Kane is coming off the second-highest scoring season of his career with 89 points going in Game 1 against Nashville on Thursday night at home. It's a lot of fun to play at this time of the year.

And while Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and his 40 goals, or Edmonton Oilers Captain Connor McDavid and his 100 points might look tempting, they could play 28 games and help you win your pool, or they could play four and you'd be out much sooner than you thought.

"I've loved the Oilers since the mid-80's, our son, it's his favourite team, we still cheer for the Oilers and go to their games", Castaneda said. I have compiled some simple tips for you to win your 2017 NHL Playoff Pool.

The NHL season is a long and winding road to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it may be the most grueling in all of professional sports.

The predictions are coming in for the first round of the National Hockey League playoffs, and just about everywhere you go, confidence is high that the Chicago Blackhawks will beat the Nashville Predators.

West prediction: Blackhawks will beat Edmonton to win the West and face the Caps in the finals.

Minnesota were cruising towards the Central Division title before a late-season slump plagued the club, while the Blues surged into the postseason after firing coach Ken Hitchcock and trading top defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

St. Louis skittered out of the gate, falling out of contention early before the team fired Ken Hitchcock.

The Leafs of 2013 eventually found their way against the Bruins after the nervous opener before ultimately unravelling in Game 7, as a 4-1 third period lead melted away in a 5-4 overtime defeat. A win would mean heading back to Nashville with a chance to close out the series in six games and advance in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Ducks not only locked up home ice in the first two rounds, but also an extremely favorable matchup against the Calgary Flames (+1000).

In most cases, it's perhaps a sign that more Canadian teams are finally starting to build better, committing to long-term plans instead of opting for the quick fix, which is never enough to make consistently serious playoff contenders.

McDavid already won the National Hockey League scoring title and led Edmonton back to the postseason after a 10-year absence. "Of course, I realize that goalie can be a difference maker, and no matter what, most of the time when a team wins the Stanley Cup, usually the goalie is one of the better players during that stretch run".

The Sharks, however, might be far from full strength: Centers Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are out with injuries, and it's unclear when they'll return.