With the majority of the offseason moves out of the way and training camps all set, the upcoming NHL season promises to be quite an intense one. If the 2016-2017 Stanley Cup playoffs are anything to go by, the upcoming season has a lot to live up to.
With thrilling overtime games and game sevens that will keep fans on the edge of their seats, the 2018 playoffs promise to be bigger than 2017.
It should not come as a surprise that NHL playoff tickets are expected to sell out sooner this year.
Stanley Cup Playoffs 2017
Starting on April 12, 2017, and concluding on June 11, 2017, the latest Stanley Cup playoffs were all about epic showdowns.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators four games to two to grab the title. The Washington Capitals made the playoffs as the winners of the President’s Trophy for the second year straight with the most points during the regular season. For the Pittsburgh Penguins, this was their eleventh consecutive appearance in the playoffs, making it the longest active playoff streak in the league, a title previously held by the Detroit Red Wings.
The first round alone of the playoffs had a staggering eighteen overtime games, beating the previous record of seventeen games and making for very exciting contests. No first round series went the full seven rounds, also a first since 2001.
Greatest Moments in NHL Playoffs
Before heading into the upcoming season, let’s take a look at some of the greatest moments in the history of NHL playoffs.
Steve Smith’s Own Goal – On April 30, 1986, one of the most unbelievable moments in the history of NHL playoffs happened when the Edmonton Oilers’ Steve Smith tried to push the puck from behind his net, but ended up with an own goal. Game 7 of the 1986 Smythe Division Final against the Calgary Flames at Northlands Coliseum will always be remembered for Smith’s mistake.
The Never-Ending Game - One of the longest games in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals also deserves a mention. It was Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals being played between the Oilers and the Bruins at the Boston Garden on May 15, 1990. With a goal from Petr Klima at 15:13 of the third overtime period, the Oilers ended the game with a 3-2 win. The game lasted 115 minutes 13 seconds and finished at 1:22 am in the morning. It got delayed by 25 minutes due to a power failure.
The Legend of Bobby Baun - Undoubtedly one of the greatest moments in NHL playoffs came in the 1964 Stanley Cup Finals on April 23, 1964 at the Detroit Olympia Stadium. In the third period of Game 6, Bobby Baun, known as Boomer, broke his leg after being hit by a slapper from Gordie Howe. After a quick dose of painkillers and a tape job, the defenseman came right back into the game and even scored the overtime goal that led his side, the Leafs, to victory. This game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings became one of the greatest displays of courage by a single player.
Greatest Players in NHL Playoffs
Playoffs are when performances really matter. Let’s take a look at some of the players who have been true class acts in NHL playoffs over the years.
Wayne Gretzky is certainly a man that needs no introduction. Leading the records with 122 goals, 260 assists and 380 points, he has topped nearly all major categories. Even though his total number of games played is higher than most at 208, his records still speak volumes about the talent he brought to the ice.
Bobby Orr is another name not to be forgotten. Winner of the Conn Smythe trophy, along with two-time Stanley Cup Champion, the defenseman had a record 92 points in only 74 playoff games. These numbers would have been greater if his health had been better, but a true legend nonetheless.
In terms of goal scorers, Brett Hull is one of the best goal scorers, with 103 playoff goals. But that is not the end of it. He is also tied for the most game-winning playoff goals in the history of the NHL with 24 goals. Along with that, Hull also has one of the highest playoff power-play goals (38). With 190 points in 202 playoff games and two Stanley Cup wins, Hull is a true clutch player.
Greatest Rivalries of the NHL Playoffs
Any playoff game can be exhilarating. But when rivals come across each other in the playoffs, it automatically ups the ante. Let’s take a look.
Montreal Canadiens Vs. Boston Bruins - These two rivals have faced off against each other in the playoffs more than any other NHL teams. Part of the Original Six rivals, the Canadiens and the Bruins have a long history. The series has been owned by the Canadiens for the most part, but the Bruins have had their moments too. The Canadiens are up 24-9 in the series and most of their victories have been historic.
Calgary Flames Vs. Edmonton Oilers - Considered one of the most defining rivalries in the NHL, this rivalry has deep roots. Between 1983 and 1990, it was either the Oilers or the Flames that played in the Stanley Cup Finals. The two teams have met a total of five times in the playoffs with the Oilers dominating 4-1. Nevertheless, the Flames have had their memorable moments as well, such as their victory over the Oilers in the 1986 Division Finals, after the famous own goal by Steve Smith.
Colorado Avalanche Vs. Detroit Red Wings - This rivalry became intense in the 1996 playoffs. The Colorado Avalanche had recently moved to Denver and became a serious contender almost immediately, beating Detroit in their first playoff meeting. They went on to win their first Stanley Cup, after beating the Florida Panthers. The Red Wings have been victorious in four of the seven series that have been played between these two teams and have won the Stanley Cup thrice, after beating the Avalanche.
NHL Playoffs 2018
It is that time of the year again when hockey fans start looking forward to the upcoming season and begin to think about the big questions. Which teams will make it to the playoffs? Will there be a surprise breakout team? And of course, who will lift the Stanley Cup? With all these questions, fans are focused on supporting their favorite teams and hoping they make the playoffs. At this point, these loyal supporters will also be asking how much are NHL playoff tickets? Catch the action with your team in the playoffs by getting tickets from here.