Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: 3 potential first-round upsets


The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking for their third straight Stanley Cup but have many question marks coming in. Goalie Probables: The Flyers will be sending out Brian Elliott (23-18, 2.66 GAA) and the Penguins will counter with Matt Murray (27-19, 2.92 GAA).

The one concern surrounding Grubauer is he allowed four goals to Montreal and Nashville in his last four appearances, but that was balanced out by holding Pittsburgh to one tally.

Grubauer has only appeared in two playoff games, starting one of them which was back in 2015.

Yes, we know the Flyers were single-handily obliterated by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday in the opening game of Stanley Cup Playoffs.

From the Metropolitan Division we have our usual players, as the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are likely set up for yet another second round matchup. Still, they will come at Flyers with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, and they can light it up as well as any team when they get off to a hot start.

"We had holes to fill this year and we filled them with guys that aren't as high-profile, but are just steady, and provided the things we needed for our team", Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said. If you don't have a team to watch this postseason, I'd recommend following this series closely.

Washington is once again in the playoffs, led again by their captain Alex Ovechkin.

Star centers Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner are all 21 years old or younger, and each scored over 60 points this season. The Penguins capitalized on great scoring chances throughout the game. And there were too many times the Penguins were all alone in front. All of those are nice, but Ovi has not even been to the finals. The Lightning may have the deepest offense in the league, led by Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. The Lightning are a well-balanced team on offense and defense and will be a hard matchup for anyone. When they meet in the playoffs - well, that is the time to get the popcorn out and savor every minute.

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Meanwhile, many Penguins said that their power play was ineffective - it went 1 for 4 - and that it will get better in Game 2.

The Leafs and Bruins are a near-toss up in this series, with Boston having a slight edge because of the home-ice advantage. Experienced, proven team wallops playoff newcomer to provide an informal introduction to one of the most intense competitions on the planet.

Their biggest wild card might just be their young roster who may have trouble adjusting to playoff hockey.

The Penguins have the experience, skills, players and talent to go all the way. The Leafs also added talent in the likes of veterans Patrick Marleau from the Sharks and Tomas Plekanec from the Canadians to help bring leadership to the squad. If Toronto doesn't get solid play from their defense and goalie Frederik Andersen, then it may be a short playoff for them. The Blue Jackets posses an excellent goaltender with plenty of playoff experience in Sergei Bobrovsky. Already without Patrick Marleau, who signed in Toronto last summer, they'll also be without Joe Thornton - at least to start - due to a knee injury.

Moving on to the Eastern Conference, a case could be made for each team to finish as conference champions. The 2017-2018 season has truly has been a breakout year for the Devils and their young superstar Taylor Hall.

The Devils have nearly the same problem as the Blue Jackets, depth scoring.

Crosby's three-spot was complete in quick succession, as he laid his stick blade flat to ramp Dumoulin's pass into the roof of the net at 10:42. Not to mention their goaltending has been pretty subpar.

Sidney Crosby scored three goals, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a win against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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