The road to Stanley Cup has started, as the NHL 2021-22 season ended with 16 teams, eight from each conference qualifying for the championship. Each team will be eyeing the glory. The playoff series started on May 2nd, 2022 and already we’ve witnessed a lot of thrilling moments.
Tampa Bay Lightning can be the first team to win the title for three consecutive seasons since 1983. Or Florida Panthers can clinch their first title as they are in red fiery form and steamed their way to the playoffs. Or the Colorado Avalanche, who have been performing well for the last two seasons and are a top team in the western conference, can get their hands on the trophy. This year could be a breakthrough for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have not won a cup since 1967.
This NHL 2022 is wide open, and anything could happen in the coming days. Nevertheless, let’s look at teams’ positions, NHL odds, and players to watch out for.
This year’s playoff consists of the following teams.
From Atlantic division
- Florida Panthers
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Washington Capitals
From Metropolitan division
- Carolina Hurricanes
- New York Rangers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Boston Bruins
From Central division
- Colorado Avalanche
- Minnesota Wild
- Louis Blues
- Nashville Predators
From Pacific division
- Calgary Flames
- Edmonton Oilers
- Los Angeles Kings
- Dallas Stars
The first-round series is underway, and there have already been two upsets. The Florida Panthers lost to the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers. A team that gets four wins in a row advances to the next round of playoffs in the best-of-seven format.
- Penguin leads the series against the Rangers 1-0.
- Capital is leading against the Panthers with 1-0.
- The Avalanche is leading against the Predators 1-0.
- Flames lead the series against the Stars 1-0.
- The Hurricanes lead the series against the Bruins 2-0.
- The Maple Leafs are tied to the Lightning at 1-1.
- Wild is tied with the Blues 1-1.
- The Oilers and Kings are also tied at 1-1.
Players to watch in NHL playoffs 2022
Claude Giroux from the Panthers, as he wanted to play for Florida all these years. After coming short all these years, Claude is keen to win big.
Marner from the Maple Leafs. He is coming off a great regular season, however, he’s yet to perform in the postseason and this year just might be different.
Vasilevskiy from the Lightning. The goalie is in prime form and he holds the key for Tampa to do well in the playoffs.
Tom Wilson from the Capitals. He has been scoring massively and led Capital into the playoffs. Everyone knows what he can do, even with an injury.
Rookie Seth Jarvis from the Hurricanes. He’s a big name in the making and has been outstanding for the Hurricanes. He was fourth in the regular season for the goals scored above average.
Mika Zibanejad from the Rangers is back in form. He also assisted 24 goals and has 11 points in the last 15 playoff matches.
Favorites to win
Although it’s early to predict who is going to lift the Stanley Cup in 2022, but as games are being played, the odds will keep changing. The Colorado Avalanche is the favorite to win, followed by Florida Panthers, then Tampa Bay Lightning.