But before we get into all that I have a quick question. Who are you on the bandwagon for this season, and why?
I will be rooting first for the Islanders, but will support the Caps if they win their series, because the Isles are fun as hell to watch and so is Alex Ovechkin. Failing that I'm behind the Lightning and whoever plays the winner of the Blues/Wild series.
Answer me that this afternoon (like you were going to work anyway), then join me tonight as we get the playoffs party going in style right up in this thread.
Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens, Game 1
7:00 Eastern, CBC, NHL Network (US)
It's been a while and a coaching change since that whole "Player 61" thing, but the Senators have once again drawn the Canadiens in the first round. Saying a series will come down to goaltending usually is a cop-out but in this one it might actually be the only smart thing to say. Will Jesus Price continue living up to his name, or will the Hamburgler?
Root for the Senators if you have an older brother who is less successful in every way but somehow still everybody's favorite.
Root for the Canadiens if they're always out to get you, but only individually, not as a full blown conspiracy.
New York Islanders at Washington Capitals, Game 1
7:00 Eastern, USA Network, Sportsnet, regional broadcasts
This is a series with firework potential. Not fight fireworks--that's the whole Western bracket--but offensive ones. Alex Ovechkin scored 53 in '15. The Islanders are the best shot-generation team in the playoffs. I hope this series goes 7 games because I will watch all of them.
Root for the Capitals if you like goals and hate Mike Milbury.
Root for the Islanders if you like like goals and wonder why exactly Nonis didn't do the Ice Bucket Challenge with Carlyle.
Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators, Game 1
8:30pm Eastern, NBC Sports, Sportsnet 360, regional broadcasts
So. Um. Patrick Kane is back for game 1. Isn't that convenient? It seems awfully convenient. Could somebody ask Antoine Vermette if there's a good reason to make sure Kane doesn't play in the regular season but is magically ready for the playoffs?
Root for the Predators if you have selective amnesia when it comes to clinically sharpened knees.
Root for the Blackhawks if you would bandwagon the Yankees. (Don't actually do this.)
Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks, Game 1
10:00 Eastern, CBC, USA Network
Usually the team that Doesn't Deserve To Be Here gets matched up against the best team in the conference and run out of the postseason with a whisk. Occasionally they just get matched up against their absolute nemesis. If you're the 2013 Maple Leafs it's hilariously both. This time, the Flames have matched up with... a team they maybecould beat? In an exciting rivalry series? Quah?
Root for the Flames if you like underdogs, high percentages, grit, work, and hard work.
Root for the Canucks if you thought about that Canadiens bandwagon earlier, but you're pretty sure it actually is a conspiracy.