NHL Playoffs 2011: Final Days Will Reveal Matchups

Mark RitterSenior Writer IApril 9, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup after teammate Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

With the 2010-11 NHL regular season winding down, it appears as if there are still a ton of playoff matches yet to be decided.

In the Eastern Conference, the top-seeded Washington Capitals are awaiting the results of the New York Rangers/New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes/Tampa Bay Lightning matchups today to determine their first round opponent.

Every other Eastern Conference team is still in the dark as to which team they will face in the first round as well.

Fact is, with just one or two games to go, there are no first-round playoff matchups set in the Eastern Conference, which will have NHL fans tuning in droves this weekend.

Over in the Western Conference, the playoff picture has been muddy all season long with many teams often separated by one or two points throughout the 82-game schedule.

This has often caused teams to flip-flop in the standings as many as three or four rankings in one evening.

Truth be told, it has been a war in both Conferences since the first puck dropped in October, as the NHL looks to have the most parity in the history of the game.

Like the Eastern Conference, there are no official playoff matches set in the Western Conference yet.  As much as the top four teams in the Western Conference look to be set, the potential for significant movement within the lower ranks is very real.

The Bleacher Report will be keeping an eye on all your favorite NHL teams this weekend, with an emphasis on watching key games that will influence which teams make the postseason and set up playoff matches.

Be sure to check back often as we throw out some early playoff matches as they are revealed.

It’s an exciting weekend for NHL fans; we’ve got you covered!

Until next time,