2012 NHL Playoffs: 8 Dream Playoff Series We'd Love to See

Tim MackayCorrespondent IApril 4, 2012

2012 NHL Playoffs: 8 Dream Playoff Series We'd Love to See

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    The NHL playoffs are God's gift to hockey fans. 

    For two months, we become witnesses to the best hockey players playing their best hockey for the most difficult trophy to win in all of sports. For hockey fans, there's nothing that compares to it. 

    And the games become all the more entertaining when the two teams playing each other feature captivating storylines. In a perfect world, all of these series would happen, but fans can't be too greedy.

    Here's a list of the eight best possible matchups that fans could hope for in 2012.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers

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    The best thing about this matchup is that it's all but guaranteed to occur.  

    The Pens and Flyers hate each other. Their fans hate each other. The two teams play in the same conference in the same state, and both pride themselves on balanced scoring and team toughness. 

    This weekend's melee in Pittsburgh only added to this hate. Both teams are superbly coached and feature star players, and there's absolutely nothing boring about the way the Pens and Flyers match up. 

    Spotlight Matchup: Sidney Crosby vs. Claude Giroux 

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks

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    The Canucks and Blackhawks have played each other in the playoffs three years running. Here's hoping they make it four years in a row.

    From the Sedin-Keith incident from a few weeks ago to Alex Burrows' Game 7 overtime winner last year, this rivalry is unquestionably entertaining.

    The Hawks are the only team the Canucks hate more than the Bruins, and bad blood is a certainty if this series happens. 

    Spotlight Matchup: Duncan Keith vs. Daniel Sedin

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

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    There's a reason the 2012 Winter Classic featured the Rangers and Flyers.

    Whenever these two teams play, it's just plain fun to watch. 

    Their fans dislike each other, and this is one of the most storied rivalries in the NHL. Remember the winner-take-all shootout from 2009? 

    So much fun...unless you're a Rangers fan. 

    Spotlight Matchup: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Ilya Bryzgalov

St. Louis Blues vs. Detroit Red Wings

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    The young upstart versus the old guard. 

    The Blues have surprised the hockey world by skyrocketing to a division title this season. Detroit, despite last reaching the Finals in 2009, still have an aura of being the team you have to beat in order to prove yourself in the Western Conference. 

    St. Louis won't be picked by many to win the Cup, but a series against the veteran Red Wings will give them a chance to prove themselves. 

    Spotlight Matchup: Alex Pietrangelo vs. Niklas Lidstrom

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

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    While the Caps have taken a step back this year, there's still some tension between these two teams. 

    The Capitals have been clawing at a playoff spot all year and the Pens look like a Cup contender, but if you ask me, this is a seven-game series. Plus, seeing No. 87 and No. 8 go toe-to-toe again would be unquestionably mesmerizing. 

    Spotlight Matchup: Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin

Nashville Predators vs. Phoenix Coyotes

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    Seeing two teams that might be relocated before too long would be fairly interesting. 

    For whatever reason, the Predators and Coyotes always seem to fly under the radar, so to have them gain a bit more exposure would be refreshing. East Coast fans may not know it, but these two teams happen to be two excellent squads with a rough, physical style of play. 

    Who wouldn't want to see Shea Weber and Shane Doan battle it out?

    Spotlight Matchup: Jordin Tootoo vs. Raffi Torres

New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils

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    Aside from the obvious geographical rivalry, these teams actually match up quite well. 

    Both have solid veteran goaltending with explosive offensive attacks. Each team also features a couple young defensemen with little or no playoff experience. We might even see another line brawl like the one a few weeks ago. 

    And, of course, the "face-painter" David Puddy would be in attendance. 

    Spotlight Matchup: Marian Gaborik vs. Ilya Kovalchuk

Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins

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    Isn't it obvious?

    The Canucks-Bruins rivalry is arguably the most vicious in the NHL. After an epic seven-game Finals in 2011, the two teams have added to their hate for each other with Brad Marchand's low-bridge hit on Sami Salo in January.

    They also happen to be two of the most talented and entertaining teams in recent memory.

    Spotlight Matchup: Brad Marchand vs. Max Lapierre