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2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round One: Open Thread

April 18, 2023
- Kent Basky

Traditions are important. Around here, we celebrate April by trying to decide who we'd least hate to see win the Cup.

After a pretty eventful and entertaining (except for that snoozefest in Raleigh) first night of the NHL playoffs, there's another four games on the schedule tonight.

NEW YORK RANGERS vs NEW JERSEY DEVILS- 4PM PDT- SN360

Most teams would be feeling a bit of pressure as the team with home ice advantage to start the series, but in this case, I'd say all the pressure is on the Rangers. With the Devils putting together the biggest surprise of the season in the way they played, and the Rangers looking to get that extra step past last year's Conference Finals appearance, you have to think the Devils are in a good place in terms of confidence. This is the Rangers chance to show they have what it takes, and this young New Jersey team will give them everything they can handle.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING vs TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS- 4:30PM PDT- CBC, SN EAST, ONTARIO & PACIFIC.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are still a pretty good team, but this is not the same team that damn near won their third straight Cup last spring. The window's open, but not nearly as wide, and while Toronto's goaltending situation has been interesting, to say the least, they should be able to finally snap this streak of first round losses, much to the relief of the Leafs faithful.

WINNIPEG JETS vs VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS- 6:30PM PDT- SN WEST.

While I said I won't view it as an upset, the hockey world in general will be shocked if the Wild Card Jets beat the house in Vegas. The thing to remember about Las Vegas: almost everything you see is an illusion to try and make you feel like you're actually having fun and not getting ripped off. The sporting world loves an upset, and the glitz and glam of Vegas losing to frumpy, dumpy Winnipeg would be thoroughly enjoyable.

SEATTLE KRAKEN vs COLORADO AVALANCHE- 7PM PDT- SN360

Full credit to the Seattle Kraken for putting together a solid second season and earning their first playoff appearance in franchise history. Just a shame that it has to come against the defending champs in the Colorado Avalanche. The Kraken won't be embarrassed, but they won't put a scare into the Avs, either.

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