NHL Playoff Predictions 2011: First Round Matchup Projections

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NHL Playoff Predictions 2011: First Round Matchup Projections
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Another regular season of the NHL has come to an end, but that means the second season—the playoffs—is just beginning. It's the most exciting portion of the NHL year, and there are many exciting matchups.

In the Eastern Conference, the first-seed Washington Capitals take on the eighth-seed New York Rangers. The second-seed Philadelphia Flyers battle the seventh-seed Buffalo Sabres. The third-seed Boston Bruins face off against the sixth-seed Montreal Canadiens. And finally, the fourth-seed Pittsburgh Penguins face the fifth-seed Tampa Bay Lightning.

In the strong Western Conference, the best-of-the-west Vancouver Canucks have another playoff rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks. The second-seed San Jose Sharks will face the seventh-seed Los Angeles Kings in a grudge match. The third-seed Detroit Red Wings and sixth-seed Phoenix Coyotes play in a rematch of last year. And last but not least, the fourth-seed Anaheim Ducks battle the fifth-seed Nashville Predators.

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