NHL Playoffs 2013: Key Players, X-Factors & Predictions for Entire 1st Round

Ryan O'LearyFeatured Columnist IApril 30, 2013

The first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs is filled with intriguing matchups in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

In the East, the Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers series is certainly the most intriguing. The two teams will clash in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, and they're no strangers to exciting playoff hockey as two of the past three series went seven games.

And what about the stars? Rick Nash and Alex Ovechkin are primed for a fireworks display.

Out West, the Detroit Red Wings are in the playoffs for the 22nd straight season. Ho-hum, right? Not exactly. It came down to the very last night of the regular season before the Wings learned their fate, but they're in nonetheless and are ready to take on Anaheim.

Sans the Chicago Blackhawks, the Anaheim Ducks were the conference's best story, though they stumbled into the playoffs and are looking to hit the reset button come Game 1.

Check out our latest video with predictions, X-factors and key players in each of the eight opening-round playoff series.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.