Every year around the middle of April, millions of NHL hockey fans sit transfixed before the television cheering their favorite teams towards the ultimate goal of every NHL hockey player and fan alike: the Stanley Cup.
For the fan who cheers on a playoff contender, it is often a period of time filled with emotions like joy and sorrow, love and hate, and sometimes just plain old anger.
The fans of non-playoff teams, however, only experience one emotion, and it's usually not what you might think.
One would think that a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, for example, would be full of sorrow and frustration, but that generally isn't the case. No, we're a hearty bunch, us Leafs fans.
We cheer for someone else.
Every year boasts its share of surprises; there's almost always a Cinderella story, a team that just makes it in and makes it past the first round to everyone's surprise, until finally, almost inevitably, it falls to a better team.
While this isn't always the case, it usually happens.
There are, of course, other surprises.
For example, once powerhouses in the Western Conference, it appears as though the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks may not be even be invited to the dance, let alone be crowned Prom King.
The Detroit Red Wings have gotten hot of late, but one injury to a suddenly old-looking roster could mean the end of a team that is barely in the eighth and final spot now.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the potential playoff matchups that we could see given the current standings.