The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

This is a service for fans who are interested in the National Hockey League, but don't know much about the past. Tampa Bay LightningThe Cup was raised the second straight postseasonThis FAQ is available as a guideline to the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. For you hockey-crats out there, this is your official refresher before the games start.

More: Playoff schedule
Previews for all 16 teams
Wyshynski's full bracket
Ranking players that need a Cup

The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

Is it finally normal for the Stanley Cup playoffs?

It is possible to end a two-month battle for attrition by a hot goaltender.

The NHL saw a complete 82-game season for the first year since 2018-19. No neutral site “bubble” citiesFor the playoffs. Full capacity of fans in buildings After the war, all four divisions were restored to their original configurations. last season's COVID-necessitated realignment. We're not able to compete in the all-Canadian Division, but we will be back to the wild-card conference playoff format that NHL used since 2014. The only anomaly in the 2022 playoffs, however, is the fact that they begin on May 2nd because of the Olympic break.

NHL players did not go to the Olympics.

They didn't, unfortunately. our loss was Slovakia's gain. The NHL and its members collectively agreed to allow them all to play in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. There was also an out clause in case the 2021-22 season was adversely affected by the COVID pandemic.

It was true: 131 games were delayed and rescheduled for this season. After positive tests, hundreds of coaches and players entered the COVID protocols for the league. There were 1,004 skaters by the end of the season and an NHL-record number of 119 goalies who had played at least one game during the season. This is just one reason.of many) why goal scoring went so cuckoo-bananas.

What was the average score this season?

It's a huge improvement. Some games were almost like low-scoring NFL matches.

This season was the most successful in NHL history, with an average of 6.3% goals per game. Eight NHL players broke 100 goals, the most since 1995-1996. In addition, 51 NHL players scored 30 goals or more, the highest total since 1993-1994. Some of the most notable individual performances were: Toronto Maple LeafsStar Auston MatthewsBeing the first 60-goal scorer since 1996 Steven StamkosIn 2011-12 Nashville Predators defenseman Roman JosiTo become the most-scoring defenseman in 29 year's, he scored 96 points.

There were also historic team performances like the Florida PanthersScored 340 goals to be the NHL's top-scoring team from 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Wait, the Florida Panthers are good? The same Florida Panthers that haven’t won a playoff series for 26 years.

Both. The Panthers won the Presidents' TrophyThey have the NHL's best record (122 point), only the second time in franchise history that they have crossed 100 point in a single season. Left wing Jonathan HuberdeauWith 115 points, the team set a record. The NHL trade deadline was a time when the rich got richer. The Panthers acquired 115 points. Philadelphia Flyersstar (and pending free agents) Claude Giroux.

This is a remarkable feat, as it involves a first-time head coaching behind the bench. Andrew BrunetteHe was appointed interim head coach by Joel Quenneville's resignationFollowing the publication of an investigation into the Chicago BlackhawksKyle Beach's claims that Brad Aldrich, his former video coach, had sexually assaulted and raped him in 2010 were handled. The Panthers won the Atlantic Division under Brunette in a walk. The entire Eastern Conference playoff field was also a walk this season.

What happened to parity

It didn't have a home in the East. The Eastern Conference playoffs saw eight teams participate for the first-time in NHL history. cracked 100 points in the standings. The final wildcard team (the) was separated by 16 points. Washington Capitals) and the highest-placing non-playoff team (the New York Islanders). This resulted, as one NHL coach laughed at me, in a playoff race that was “over Halloween.” The West was an entirely different story.

How was the West playoff race?

Intense! The Nashville Predators Dallas StarsHolded down the last two wild-card spots for the Vegas Golden KnightsAnd Vancouver CanucksThe challenge was mounted in the final month of the season but it failed. Dallas was assured a playoff spot in the final week. Nashville was also successful, but it fell to the West's last seed. blowing their lead in their final gameAt the Arizona Coyotes.

Wait, the Golden Knights did not make the playoffs.

Nope. Nope. The Golden Knights were eliminated from the playoffs for only the fifth time in their long, rich history (that's five years). They were defeated a de facto playoff game in DallasOn April 26, all of them had almost finished their season.

They were one of the favorite teams to win the Stanley Cup this year, even before a huge trade for disgruntled Buffalo SabresStar Jack EichelIn November. However, a number of injuries have occurred to key players such as winger. Mark StoneGoaltender Robin LehnerTheir demise was due to salary-cap headaches and their own inability to pay.

The NHL enjoyed the schadenfreude of NHL fans, especially because Vegas parted ways unceremoniously with their goalie. Marc-Andre FleuryHe was traded to Chicago Blackhawks last offseason. He's now in the playoffs and the Golden Knights are not.

Marc-Andre Fleury, where are you now?

The Minnesota WildHe was purchased by, who bought him at the Chicago trade deadline. He is now 9-2-0. Other notable additions to playoff teams are Giroux, defenseman Ben Chiarot(Panthers), defenseman Mark Giordano (Maple Leafs), forward Brandon Hagel (Lightning), center Max Domi(Hurricanes), winger Rickard Rakell (Penguins), defenseman Hampus Lindholm (Bruins), defenseman Josh MansonAnd Artturi Lehkonen (Avalanche), defenseman Nick Leddy(Blues) Brett Kulak (Oilers).

Which is the favourite to win the Stanley Cup

Caesars Sportsbook claims that the following: Colorado AvalancheAfter finishing second to the Panthers (+550), they are now the favourite to win the Cup (+330). They won the Central Division, and will now face the Predators in round one of the Western Conference playoffs. The Predators' top goalie was a major break for the Avalanche Juuse SarosHe sustained a late-season injury to his ankle that could affect his status in the series. The Avalanche's 80-point seasons were not something they needed. Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, Nazem KadriAnd Cale Makar. Plus, goalie Darcy KuemperIn 2022, has been one the NHL's most successful teams. The Avs are ready for breakthrough.

Here are the future odds of winning the Cup, as per Caesars

What are the West's other first-round series?

The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fanThe 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

Minnesota Wild (No. (No. St. Louis Blues (No. (No.. The Wild enjoyed their most offensive season in franchise-history, thanks to a 47-goal season by star winger. Kirill Kaprizov. Blues enjoyed their most offensive season since 1990-91 thanks to star winger. Vladimir Tarasenko(82 points), who has gone from asking for a trade last offseason, to leading the Blues' scoring. This could be a very bruising series.

The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fanThe 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

Calgary Flames (No. (No. Dallas Stars(First wildcard). Three 40-goal scorers were among the Flames' in Elias Lindholm, Matthew TkachukAnd Johnny GaudreauA pending free agent, who scored 115 points. They also had one league's top goalies. Jacob Markstrom. While the Stars could be considered a one line team, they were an extraordinary line. Joe Pavelski (81 points), Roope Hintz(37 goals) & 22-year-old breakout star Jason Robertson41 goals were scored by.

The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fanThe 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

Edmonton Oilers (No. (No. Los Angeles Kings (No. (No.. The ConnorAnd LeonThe show was full-force as McDavid (123) and Draisaitl (110) led the Oilers into the postseason. Jay Woodcroft was appointed interim coach in February to replace Dave Tippett, which resulted in several positive metrics for Edmonton.

The NHL's surprise team, the Kings, made it to the playoffs in 2018 for the first time. The veterans led the way, not the centers. Anze KopitarAnd Phillip DanaultA resurgent season for the goalie Jonathan Quick. The Kings star defenseman is the only bummer in this matchup Drew DoughtyHe is currently out of action with a wrist injury. They could use him.

Which matchup is the best in the East?

The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fanThe 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

The Toronto Maple Leafs, No. 2 in Atlantic, vs. Tampa Bay LightningThe division's No. 3 team. There are enough stories here to make 10 series.

Since 2004, the Leafs are without a win in a playoff series. This includes last season's shock loss to Montreal. Now they are looking for their first Stanley Cup win since 1967. They are the MVP favorite Auston MatthewsA dominant line should be centered with Mitch MarnerA 26-year-old rookie Michael Bunting. They have also questions about their goaltending abilities and postseason mentality.

Meanwhile, the Lightning are trying to be the NHL's first team ever to win three consecutive Stanley Cup championships, since 1982. Many of these names will be familiar to you: Steven Stamkos (106 points), Victor Hedman (85 points), Brayden Point, goalie Andrei VasilevskiyAnd winger Nikita KucherovYou might remember him from his conversation with? boisterous (and shirtless) post-victory news conference last summer.

This is without a doubt the most intriguing playoff series in the first round. This is especially true when you consider the potential fallout for Toronto if the Leafs lose in the first round for the sixth consecutive season.



John Buccigross analyzes the historic run of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the past two seasons.

What are other matchups in East?

The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fanThe 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

Florida Panthers (No. (No. Washington Capitals(second wildcard). The Capitals are beaten by the high-octane Panthers. Alex OvechkinAfter injuring his shoulder during a fall into the boards, he will miss the final few games of the regular-season. Washington could be in serious trouble if he doesn't return to 100%. But, Washington can't afford to lose their goaltending or the Panthers' offense.

The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fanThe 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

Carolina Hurricanes (No. 1, Metro Division) vs. Boston Bruins(First wildcard). The Hurricanes enjoyed their best season as a team (116 points), thanks to a balanced offensive approach and stellar goaltending. Frederik AndersenUnfortunately, he sustained a late-season injury which could have an impact on his status in this series. The Bruins do not have a goalie who is a key playoff player. Tuukka Rask(who retired) David Krejci(who left to go and play in Czech Republic). They still have a core group of players. Patrice Bergeron(A pending free agent). Brad Marchand, David PastrnakAnd Charlie McAvoySupported by a cast that includes Taylor HallAnd Hampus Lindholm. In two of the three previous postseasons, the Hurricanes were eliminated by the Bruins.

The 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fanThe 2022 NHL playoffs guide for the lapsed fan

New York Rangers (No. 2, Metro Division) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 3, Metro Division). The Rangers are now in a first round series for the first times since 2017, thanks to a large part to Igor Shesterkin26-year old goalie, whose chances of winning the Vezina Trophy in one walk are high, could be considered for MVP consideration. But it's not all about one man. The Rangers also have great seasons from forwards Artemi Panarin (96 points), Mika Zibanejad (81 points), Chris Kreider(52 goals) and the Norris Trophy winner last year Adam Fox. Their window to win is just opening.

The Penguins, on the other hand, try to keep theirs open. Sidney CrosbyIn a season that could end in the Pittsburgh core's final ride, their MVP was 84 points in just 69 games. Evgeni Malkin, Kris LetangAnd Bryan Rustyou are one of the team's pending unrestricted free agents. One thing to be aware of: Goalie Tristan JarryHe was a star in the regular season and has broken his foot. His availability for this series may be affected. Casey DeSmithHe would have made the crease without him.

So who will win the Stanley Cup this year?

Better question: HowWill the Stanley Cup be won by the Leafs? Teams like the Leafs and Panthers will be favored if the playoffs continue to deliver the offensive fireworks of the regular season. Remember that Florida wins means that the team is a 24-year-old veteran. Joe Thornton(First time Cup winner.)

Perhaps the Flames and Hurricanes will be more inclined to play tight-checking, low-event Hockey in the postseason. A team like the Lightning is another option, as they have demonstrated in the past two seasons that it is possible to win in both.

Nobody knows what to expect. This is part of the Stanley Cup playoffs' unique charm. This championship trophy can also be used as a champagne glass, or a beer mug. Let's take that! Larry O'Brien Trophy!

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