3 games on the slate to kick off the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Why only 3 and 5 tomorrow? We don’t have a frickin’ clue! It makes about as much sense as putting games on the Golf Channel, honestly. So as always, we encourage you to not only post here, but to venture out into the big ol’ SBN Universe and let any team know that you’re supporting them. Or don’t. No biggie. Anyway, let’s preview tonight’s action, shall we?
PHILADELPHIA @ PITTSBURGH- 7:00 EDT/ 4:00 PDT (CBC)
The Penguins begin the defence of their back to back Championships with a battle against their sworn enemies over in the City of Brotherly Love. Much like Toronto, there’s a lot going right for Philly sports fans these days. The Eagles won the Super Bowl, the 76’ers have won 15 straight or something stupid like that, and the Flyers are in the post-season. Now if you look at the season series, you’d think this one should be a cake walk for the Pens. They swept the Flyers and scored 5 goals in each meeting. But, strange things happen in the playoffs. Players (especially goalies) get hot, snipers go cold and unlikely heroes emerge. If the Flyers hope to win, they’re going to have to be better on the PK against the NHL’s top PP unit, exploit a somewhat suspect Penguins D and try to keep the offensive juggernaut that is the trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel contained. Seems simple enough.
MINNESOTA @ WINNIPEG- 7:00 EDT/ 4:00 PDT (SN)
The Winnipeg Jets are in the post season for the 3rd time in franchise history. Both times, (once as the Atlanta Thrashers), they were swept by their opponents. This is not the same Jets team that bowed out last time, though. Strong in goal, stingy on defence and armed with a pretty impressive group of scorers lead by Patrik Laine, the Jets are looking to make a big splash this time around. Minnesota is going to give them a good series, but having lost their top two defencemen to injury is going to hamper their ability to control the Jets forwards. They could get Jared Spurgeon back, which would be a big boost. but unless Devan Dubnyk stands on his head and steals this series, Bruce Beaudreau’s team is done in the first round.
LOS ANGELES @ VEGAS- 10:00 EDT/ 7:00 PDT (CBC)
Yes, it’s ridiculous that there’s playoff hockey in Las Vegas, let alone this expansion team hosting a series. But it is what it is, and the Golden Knights now get to prove whether they are the real deal, or this whole thing was all smoke and mirrors, like Sigfried and Roy, except with less people getting attacked by tigers. They’ll be in tough against an LA team with a bucketfull of Stanley Cup rings, and knowing that their window could be closing soon with players like Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty getting older, there’s a feeling the Kings could make another push. The question is, can they beat the odds in Vegas? There’s that old saying, the house always wins. Let’s see if that applies to hockey...