NHL Playoffs Happening Now


Annika Norman

The Colorado Avalanche are just one out of 16 teams competing for the title of Stanley Cup champions 2023.

During the end of the NHL (National Hockey League) season, the playoffs begin for 16 teams, eight from the Eastern Conference and eight from the Western Conference, to compete for the Stanley Cup, the oldest Trophy in North America that can be given to professional athletes. It was first awarded in the 1892 – 1893 Hockey season and is named after Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley of Preston according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

The first team of the 2022 – 2023 season to solidify a playoff spot was the Boston Bruins on March 11th after they beat the Detroit Red Wings. They had the most points in the league ending the regular season with 135 points from 65 wins, which won them the President’s Trophy. This broke the record for the most points in a single season which was previously held by the Montreal Canadians back in the 1976 and 1977 season. The Carolina Hurricanes were the next team to gain a spot in the playoffs on March 23rd because the Florida Panthers lost their game furthering the gap between the two teams. The Hurricanes managed to clinch the Metropolitan Division with 113 points.

After the Hurricanes got their spot, the New Jersey Devils gained their playoff spot on March 25th. This is their second playoff trip in the last 11 years with the last happening in 2012 where they lost in the finals to the Kings. The Toronto Maple Leafs were the next team to get a playoff spot on the 27th of March. The New York Rangers also gained their playoff spot on the 27th after the Panthers lost.

The Vegas Golden Knights solidified themselves a spot on March 30th making them the first team in the Western Conference to get one. They also gained first place in the Western Conference as a whole after getting 111 points. The Tampa Bay Lightning were next to get a spot on April 1st. This is their 6th straight time making it to the playoffs and leaves them in search of their 3rd Stanley Cup in 4 seasons after losing their last chance to the Colorado Avalanche. The Edmonton Oilers also got their spot on April 1st after winning 6-0 against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Kings were next to gain a spot on the 2nd of April for their 2nd year in a row. The day after on April 3rd, Dallas gained a spot after winning against the Nashville Predators. On April 3rd another team in the Central Division gained themselves a spot, the Minnesota Wild. A third team from the Central Division gained a spot on April 4th, the Colorado Avalanche. They won the Stanley Cup last season and are looking to regain their title. While the Central Division was close in the standings, the Colorado Avalanche ended up gaining first place in the division with 109 points beating the Stars by one point and the Wild by six points. This gained them their third straight year of clinching the Central Division.

After all these teams gained playoff spots, all that was left were the wild card positions. The first wild card spot was filled by the Seattle Kraken who have only been a team for two seasons, with the other spots being filled by the Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders both of which didn’t make it to last year’s playoffs, and the Florida Panthers.

This season there were many players who made amazing achievements. For example, Connor McDavid, the captain of the Edmonton Oilers was the leader in the NHL this season for points with 153, goals with 64, and assists with 89. Other leaders in stats include Leon Draisaitl who is also a member of the Oilers. He leads the league in powerplay goals with 32 of them. Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks had the most shorthanded goals this season with five. For the most time on ice per game, Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche is in first place with 26 minutes and 22 seconds. Finally, Jonathan Toews from the Chicago Blackhawks leads in faceoff win percentage with 63.12.

The first few matchups for the playoffs will be on Monday April 17th with the New York Islanders facing the Hurricanes, the Panthers at the Bruins, the Wild against the Stars, and the Los Angeles Kings vs the Oilers. The next set of games start on the following Tuesday with the New York Rangers going against the New Jersey Devils, the Lightning in Toronto to face off against the Maple Leafs, the Jets vs the Golden Knights, and the Kraken against the Avalanche. All of my information comes from the NHL app, and Draftkings Nation.