2013 NHL Playoff Matchups Every Fan Wants to See
With the NHL trade deadline out of the way, each franchise can focus on making a final sprint for the playoffs.
There are already some matchups from the truncated season like Anaheim vs. Chicago that fans would love to see in the playoffs.
The NHL playoffs are shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory because there is a good chance that there will be some Original Six grudge matches featuring teams like the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
With only a few games left and teams still jockeying for position in each conference, here are the 2013 NHL playoff matchups that every fan wants to see.
Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
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The rivalry between these two Original Six franchises stems back decades, and there have been some great contests between the current incarnations of each franchise.
This season the Habs have excelled as one of the premier franchises in the Eastern Conference, and the Bruins have also had some solid success.
This is a must-see matchup because what would be better than an Original Six matchup that still has many relevant storylines attached to it?
Every fan remembers the infamous Zdeno Chara and Max Pacioretty incident, and chances are fans would jump at the opportunity to see these two teams go at each other's throats in an intense playoff series.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
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Given the success each team has had this season, the only way these two powerhouses could face off would be during the Western Conference final.
The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have shared some parallels this season that would make this potential matchup very interesting.
The Blackhawks had a historic points streak, and the Ducks had an impressive home-win streak.
The Blackhawks got some unexpected goaltending success from Corey Crawford, and the Ducks got that from Viktor Fasth.
Additionally, the Blackhawks have enjoyed the bounce back play of Patrick Kane in the same way that the Ducks have enjoyed Ryan Getzlaf's bounce back performance.
No matter how you look at it, the Blackhawks and Ducks have had amazing seasons, and this would be a great matchup to determine the Western Conference champion.
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
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This matchup would be just as entertaining as a potential Bruins and Canadiens playoff series, and it would be another Original Six showdown.
There have been some interesting matchups between the two squads in 2013, and it would be cool to see the various crowds at the Air Canada Centre and the TD Garden during an intense playoff run.
Both teams hate each other with a passion, and the playoffs tend to bring out the best in teams. With this potentially being Toronto's first playoff berth in a decade, this would be a must-see marquee matchup.
Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks
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The Minnesota Wild added Zach Parise and Ryan Suter over the summer, but they have had some great contributions by veterans as well.
Matt Cullen, Mikko Koivu and Niklas Backstrom have come up big for the Wild, and the team has had some spectacular play from rookies like Jonas Brodin.
The addition of Jason Pominville will only makes the Wild a better team going forward, and a potential matchup between Minnesota and Chicago would be amazing.
Likewise the Blackhawks have had some exceptional play from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Corey Crawford.
Whenever two teams with tons of star power get together to compete against each other, the result is always amazing.
If these two powerhouses meet in the playoffs, you can expect to see some fireworks.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins
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This matchup would feature two of the Eastern Conference's top teams. The offensively lethal Pittsburgh Penguins would prove to be a good matchup against a balanced team like the Boston Bruins.
This playoff series would feature toughness, star power, tons of excitement and a great atmosphere for all those involved.
When you consider that Jaromir Jagr could play a role in eliminating his former team in a playoff showdown, the entertainment value of this series would make NBC's executives ecstatic.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks had the best record in the entire NHL last season, and they were expected to dominate against the No. 8 seed Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs but as history shows that did not happen.
The Kings steamrolled the Canucks in the first round at the beginning of an impressive playoff run that was capped off with a Stanley Cup victory.
The Canucks probably want some payback on the Kings, and it would be a matchup that would feature a ton of great storylines, players and intense action.
New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins
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The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins have been fierce Original Six rivals since the founding of the NHL, and if they faced off in the playoffs, fans would be thrilled.
The last time the two teams met in the playoffs was the 1972–73 Eastern Quarterfinal in which the Rangers defeated the Bruins in five games.
After watching the two teams play against each other in 2011-12, it appeared that they would be destined to face off in the Eastern Conference final.
An upset by the Washington Capitals eliminating the Bruins derailed this possibility, but there is a chance these two teams could square off at some point in the playoffs.
Both teams have impressive rosters, great goaltending and have the history to tell a compelling narrative in a postseason series.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings
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Hockey undoubtedly received a huge boost in California when Wayne Gretzky was sent to the Los Angeles Kings in one of the biggest blockbusters in league history, and the sport has grown exponentially in the area in the last decade.
The Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2006-07, and the Los Angeles Kings are the defending champions.
Those two moments brought major attention to hockey in the Greater Los Angeles area, and can you imagine how much buzz would generate if the Ducks and Kings squared off in 2013?
Although the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clippers will remain popular in Tinsel Town, a battle of these two franchises would be amazing to see.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens
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This potential Eastern Conference final matchup would be amazing on so many levels. For starters it would be very interesting to see Michel Therrien coaching against his former team the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The last time Therrien was behind the Penguins bench, he got the axe and the Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup. This year he took over a Canadiens team that struggled mightily in 2011-12, and he has turned them into one of the league's biggest narratives of 2013.
Both teams are considered two of the best in the Eastern Conference, and there are stories that extend to off the ice.
This series would also feature the local element of Sidney Crosby playing against his childhood favorite team the Montreal Canadiens.
Watching Crosby play in the Bell Centre in a playoff atmosphere would not only be huge for Penguins fans but also for him considering how he grew up as a Habs fan.
There would be no shortage of star power in this series, and there is a good chance these teams will square off in the playoffs.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings
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A matchup featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings would be another Original Six series that would generate a ton of interest.
If the standings remain the same for the rest of the season, it would be the first time since the 1995-96 season that every Original Six franchise made the playoffs.
Given the losses the Red Wings sustained during the offseason, it was expected that the team would not make the playoffs, but exceptional efforts from players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have powered the team to this point.
The Blackhawks have had the Red Wings number for most of the season, and fans would definitely love to see these two franchises trade blows in an intense playoff matchup.
New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders
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The New York Rangers and New York Islanders have one of the biggest rivalries in the NHL, and if the two teams are able to meet in the postseason, it would be a huge deal for both franchises.
The intense rivalry stems back to the 1970s, and in the 2010s the rivalry is still alive and well. John Tavares represents a new age of the Islanders' franchise, and the Rangers have many young stars that symbolize their franchise.
When the Islanders move to Brooklyn the rivalry is expected to intensify, and a playoff matchup this season would definitely get blood boiling on both sides.
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings
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The San Jose Sharks have been red-hot as of late, and if they were to face off with the Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs, it would be an interesting matchup featuring a California state battle.
The Kings are the defending Cup champs, and the Sharks are a team that has never been able to come through in the playoffs. This year the Sharks are really starting to click, and they appear to have what it takes to defeat the Kings.
This series would come down to goaltending, and a matchup of Antti Niemi and Jonathan Quick would be a true Hollywood blockbuster.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
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The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs have a storied rivalry, and both teams were not in the playoffs in 2011-12.
The two teams have been carried by strong goaltending this season, and each team has had the youngster carry a ton of weight. For the Leafs it has been Nazem Kadri, and for the Habs it has been P.K. Subban.
Tensions are always high when these two teams get together, and you could expect the intensity to be amplified in a playoff setting.