NHL Playoffs 2012: Predicting Each First-Round Winner

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The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Wednesday with 16 teams starting a two-month march to the biggest prize in professional sports.

However, the dreams of eight teams will come crashing down in the near future as they fail to escape the first round. For some teams, glaring issues that have plagued their entire season—like goal scoring or goaltending—will be their eventual downfall.

For some other teams, this is a chance to hoist their first Stanley Cup. This could be the year that teams like the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks or Vancouver Canucks skate with the Cup.

And then, for one fanbase—Phoenix—this postseason could be the first year that their team makes it out of the first round.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are a time for players to grow out their facial hair, with some fans joining them.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

Here are the teams who will continue on towards the Stanley Cup after a first-round victory.

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