Top Three NHL Playoff Matchups in the Round of 16

by Pub Sports Radio

Top Three Matchups in the Round of 16

By: Joe Borek (@jjborek26)

I wanted to do this a bit different this year and give it a game or two for some teams before judging the actual best matchups of the round of 16. This allows one to then actually see how teams match up a bit better to make an assessment.

1. Columbus Blue Jackets Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Well, this one is super easy. Game one of the series went into five overtimes. Tampa’s Brayden Point eventually sealed the deal on a shot from the slot in the fifth OT. This series, of course, last year, ended up being one of the biggest upsets in recent NHL history. The Lightning was the best team coming into the playoffs then proceeded to lose to the eighth-seeded Blue Jackets. Well, this season, they did win game one, but only after Joonas Korpisalo made 85 saves prior. So if you think that got the Bluejackets out of their heads, guess again. The Jackets came out in game two Thursday blazing and got another fantastic start from Korpisalo. He made 36 saves on the night. The Goalie matchup alone between Korpisalo and Vasilevskiy has put this series atop the list. That’s not all though its just the fight and never give up the mentality of this Blue Jackets team plus great play from their youngsters against the top-notch Lightning that puts this series atop the list as well. People that haven’t already must now know of Pierre-Luc-Dubois after his playoffs thus far. Highlights of game one and two can be seen below

2. Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Vegas Golden Knights

The Blackhawks are one of the teams this season to surprise some in the hockey world. Others did have them picked as an upset and good on them. I, unfortunately, was not one of those people, anyway back onto the series. The Hawks came out sluggish in game one and got outpaced and just beat in facets of the game by Vegas. So one may ask who hasn’t gotten to pay attention to today’s game, which is now a 4-3 win for the Knights in OT at the time of this article, how this series is ranked two? Well, that’s easy Chicago has now bounced back again in game two against the Golden Knights. Coach Jeremy Colliton deserves a ton of credit. He seems to have been pushing all the right buttons in response to any lackluster play. That has certainly looked to be the case in game two. Their game has been far from perfect because game two was pretty even, but its definitely a great response from game one. The bounce-back of Chicago, along with the unrelenting pace of Vegas, is going to make this one of the most fun series to watch, in my opinion. So 4-3 win for Vegas here at the time of the article heading in OT, proving how even this series is when Chicago plays their game and Crawford is feeling good. As long as we see the game two versions of Chicago, no matter who wins or loses, this will be one of the more fun series to watch. Highlights of game one can be seen below.

3. Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins

Coach Rod Brind’Amour said he is moving on after a fine he received by the NHL for something he is right on. For people who did not see, there was a play where it could have been ruled a hand pass, high stick, or stoppage of play by Mrazek for covering the puck with his glove. Instead, it was ruled non of the three and allowed to be a goal with a very loose explanation we will not get into now to save time and stay focused. As Brind’Amour got into paraphrasing in his press conference, they did not outplay Boston, but that play could have made a difference, a big one. Even though they ended up losing that did not deflate them, though, as Brock McGinn answered back with a shorthanded goal. As I write this article, game two of this series is 0-0. The fact that Carolina seems always to have an answer to the other team’s play is why I have this series ranked third. The Brind’Amour above just knows how to motivate this group, and I think he knew he was taking a fine and took it to try to, in turn, spark his guys. Our first ranked series Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has a history of doing this. The fact that the Bruins looked better in game one but still not the standard B’s and the Hurricanes came out and competed and stayed in it while getting outplayed shows why I have this series third. If tonight Carolina plays their game of being tighter on defense to lead to their scoring, then they will have a high chance of evening this series by the end of this game. Not to mention game one went to double overtime even with the Canes not playing their top game. That is not surprising with this team against a superior opponent, and that’s why I believe, on top of the factors mentioned above, that this is a top-three series to watch. Again right now, it is 0-0 in the first as I write this piece. Highlights of game one can be seen below.

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