2021 NHL playoff bracket preview

It’s hard to imagine that the NHL playoffs will come to a close before the 2022-23 season, but that is exactly what is going to happen barring some change in the league’s rules. It will be an exciting time to watch the Stanley Cup Finals unfold, as all 30 teams will be vying for the ultimate prize. But, which team will be the Stanley Cup Champion in 2021? The fact that the answer is unknown is testament to the competitiveness of the NHL. Two teams that are considered front-runners to make the postseason, with a high probability of making the Stanley Cup Finals are the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights.

The NHL season is winding down, so one of the last things on the minds of most fans is the NHL playoffs. Here is a few months out, as I see the Western Conference bracket set up:

For the second consecutive year, the Washington Capitals will be picking first in the NHL draft, and there are several first-round prospects that deserve a closer look. The Washington Capitals are a team that does things right, and they are a model of consistency. Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, and Connor McDavid are all household names in the NHL, and there is no reason to doubt they will continue to produce at that level in the future.. Read more about nhl playoff bracket 2021 and let us know what you think.The first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the perfect appetizer for the rest of the menu, the first round of which begins Saturday when the Boston Bruins take on the New York Islanders at 8 p.m. ET. Reminder: The first and second rounds are within the division this season. Once the division champions are determined in the postseason, the final four teams will be grouped based on their performance in the regular season, with the No. 1 team playing the No. 4 team and the No. 2 team playing the No. 3 team. The winners of these series will meet in the Stanley Cup Final. How will the games be played? Let’s take a closer look at the second round games and see which teams will win. Message: Emily Kaplan previewed East and Central, and Greg Wyszynski previewed West (and will also preview North when that series is finished). The advanced statistics come from Hockey Reference, Natural Stat Trick, and Evolving Hockey. More: View the full NHL postseason schedule here. Go to : BOS-NYI CAR-TB COL-VGS word-image-5085

Eastern Division

The Isles have the strength to contain Brad Marchand and the Bruins’ best line. Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Regular Season Series: Islanders 5-3 First line: Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle are regulars on New York’s top line, and against the Penguins, Leo Komarov was their most consistent link. The trio wasn’t all that productive with just two goals (both by Eberle) and an expected field goal percentage of 39.98% according to Natural Stat Trick. Depending on who you ask, Boston has the best line in the league (and no hockey player in his right mind would place it lower than second; it’s literally called a line of excellence). With Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, you know what you’re getting: Dominance. That trio scored eight goals against the Capitals, a 72.30% save percentage and a 14-5 mark in terms of dangerous opportunities on the ice, both of which speak volumes about how they enlivened the game. Advantage: Boston Depth in front: For most of the regular season, scoring depth was a major problem for Boston. That’s not to say Taylor Hall solved all the problems, but his arrival coincided with a major breakup. Hall, Craig Smith and David Krejci have been excellent on the second line, but there is some inconsistency behind them, especially with third line center Charlie Coyle having a down year. The Islanders have a more balanced forward group, and their second line of Josh Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson scored eight goals in six games against the Penguins. Jean-Gabriel Pajo forms the third center line with Kyle Palmieri, who had just two goals and four points in 17 games against New York during the regular season, but had three goals in six games against Pence. New York has a much clearer and more experienced fourth line. Advantage: Necktie 2 Connected Defense: When we talk about the Islanders and the defense, it’s not just about their defenders. The whole team is in good control and plays a well thought out and structured game. The leading duo of Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock are solid, but there has been some attrition behind them, especially when Nick Leddy and Scott Mayfield have struggled in games against Pence. Bruins blueliner Charlie McAvoy is the best defensive player in this series, and he is paired with Matt Grzelczyk. Not enough is said about how good Mike Reilly (Ottawa’s late acquisition) is on the second pairing with Brandon Carlo. Boston’s third pair is a long way off. Advantage: Necktie Goalie: Tuukka Rask is a veteran who has been through it before. He was a finalist for the Vézina Trophy in 2020 and did well in 2021. Not to mention his .941 save percentage against the Caps and, most importantly, his 98 games of playoff experience. The Islanders have a healthy rookie in Ilya Sorokin, who has four wins in four starts and posted a .943 save percentage against Pittsburgh. Sorokin is not a typical beginner. He is 25 years old and has several years of professional experience in the KHL, including being named the 2019 KHL Playoff MVP after going 16-4-0 with a 1.19 GAA, .947 save percentage and five shutouts. He also has experience in the world championships and competes in the Olympics. If Sorokin is not there, the Islanders can always bring in veteran Semyon Varlamov. But Rusk has the advantage. Advantage: Boston Coaching: Barry Trotz, who leads New York, won the Stanley Cup with Washington three years ago. All of his players adhere to his defensive structure – which can be demanding – and are always well prepared. They have a strong team identity. Bruce Cassidy has had a lot of success in Boston and has led the Bruins to success this season, even though many expected a dip after a few roster changes. Advantage: Big Apple Health: All the Bruins have is time. They ended their series with the Capitals on Sunday, giving them almost a full week of rest. They’ve lost more than New York, but mostly because of defenders. Ondrej Kase is out until the end of the season. Jeremy Lauzon seems to be on the way back, and Jakub Zboril is right behind him. Kevan Miller is still not on the ice. New York’s Oliver Wahlstrom is out for Game 6 with an injury, so he’ll have to be watched. Advantage: Big Apple Special orders: The Bruins’ power play was very good against Washington, with 5 of 19 chances (26.3%). New York was less successful, scoring on only three of 16 chances (18.8%). The Bruins spent nearly twice as much time per game in shootouts as New York did in the first round, but Boston did well in shootouts, allowing just three goals on 21 chances against the normally strong Caps power play. New York also allowed three power play goals, but converted 12 chances. Advantage: Boston Selection of the range : Bruins in seven games. Expect a tough, exciting series. The Islanders made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020; the Bruins did so the year before (and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals). At the end of the day, Boston has higher level players who will go far.

Central division

While neither team lacks talent, the series between the Hurricanes and Lightning also promises to be physically taxing. Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images Regular season series: 4-4 draw First line: Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen sat out 35 games this season, recovering from a concussion. He returned for the final eight games of the regular season and, along with Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho, formed one of the best and most dynamic young lines in the league during the playoffs. Against the Predators, where they mostly played together, that line posted a 63.13% success rate on 5-on-5 plays, according to Natural Stat Trick. They also scored seven goals, including Aho’s two goals in the decisive extra time of Game 6. But the Lightning have formed a world-class duo with Braden Point and Nikita Kucherov. They are usually flanked by Ondřej Palát, who complements them well. Against Florida, the trio averaged 53.38% in 5-on-5 play and scored nine goals. Advantage: Necktie Depth in front: This is where Tampa Bay stands out from most teams, as general manager Julien Brisebois (and his predecessor Steve Yzerman) have built one of the deepest teams in the league. Tampa’s second line of Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos scored nine goals against Florida, and Yanni Gourde is the best third-line center you’ll find. The attacking group is also tough and physical; Tampa Bay believe it was the addition of that sandpaper that helped them break through in the Cup last year. Additionally, the Lightning have several players (Gemel Smith, Alex Barre-Boulet, Ross Colton) who can fill in when needed. The Hurricanes’ offensive depth is almost as good, but not of the level of Tampa Bay. They also play with a lot of commitment and have a trio of centre-forwards (Martin Necas, Vincent Trocheck, Jordan Staal) who can achieve a lot in attack. Advantage: Tampa Bay word-image-13822 Play for $9,000 during the NHL postseason! Make your choice Defense: Jacob Slavin of the Hurricanes is being treated for an illness that kept him out of games 2 through 4 of the first round. He’s back, and when he plays through the pain, he seems very effective with Dougie Hamilton, forming one of the best duos in the league. Carolina’s blue line doesn’t have many weaknesses. They’re mobile, they’re physical, they put pucks on goal (Hamilton and Brett Pesce took 49 shots in the first round). Tampa Bay has the league’s best defenseman, Victor Hedman, but it became clear late in the season that he was playing with an injury, and there are rumors that he is delaying surgery until the offseason. Hedman has struggled, and overall the left wing is quite strong, as he is flanked on the depth chart by Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev. On the right side, things look a little worse, especially if Erik Cernak, who left Game 6 with an injury, won’t be 100%. Advantage: Carolina Goalie: In the series against the Predators, the Canes went into the game knowing they would use Petr Mrazek or Alex Nedeljkovic. Carolina switched to newcomer Nedeljkovic in the first game and hasn’t looked back since. He has a consistent .922 winning percentage. But let’s face it, he’s no Andrei Vasilevsky. Vasilevskiy is currently the most consistent elite goalie in the NHL. Despite giving up four or more goals twice in the series with Florida, Vasilevskiy faced many dangerous shots. He still finished with a .929 save percentage and enters this series with 29 saves in the deciding game of Game 6. Advantage: Tampa Bay Coaching: Rod Brind’Amour almost always makes his team play hard (that’s pretty much his trademark as a coach). The Canes don’t give other teams much time or space. But it’s hard to rule out John Cooper, the current Stanley Cup-winning coach. Both coaches have well-prepared teams and players ready to take the field at a moment’s notice. Advantage: Necktie Health: Both teams are somewhat battered and will be dealing with injuries throughout the series. The two biggest injuries are to Slavin and Hedman, although both are playing very well. None of the main players are missing at the moment. Advantage: Necktie Special orders: When the Lightning get going, their power play becomes very dangerous. In the game against Florida, Tampa Bay scored eight pucks from 20 chances (40%). Carolina scored four goals on 19 attempts (21.1%) against Nashville, and the power play was one of the things that caused frustration in this series (as well as the general lack of challenge). Carolina’s penalty killing (88.5% in the first round) can be very dynamic, so if the Lightning have the advantage, we’ll be paying attention to this game. Advantage: Tampa Bay Selection of the range : Lightning in the 7. It could be a good razor. Tampa Bay scored 17 goals against Carolina in the regular season. The Canes scored 18 goals against Tampa Bay. Expect physical exertion and high speed. The goalie gives Tampa Bay an edge when it comes to a fight (and he should).

Western Division

In the match we’ve all been waiting for since the divisional realignment was announced, the Avalanche and Golden Knights will battle for the West Division crown. Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images Regular Season Series: They are 4-4, including a win by the Avalanche in a game played in Lake Tahoe. First line: In Game 7 against Minnesota, the Golden Knights’ best line came together: Max Pacioretty returned from injury to join center Chandler Stephenson and right wing Mark Stone. In the regular season, this trio had a 57.9% success rate in 5-on-5 games. Pacioretty has scored 24 goals in 48 games, and Stone remains one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL. The Avalanche have the best line in the NHL in our opinion with Nathan MacKinnon flanked by Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. In the regular season their field goal percentage was 66%, and in the post season they continued that trend by becoming the team’s top three scorers. McKinnon scored nine points in four games against the St. Louis Blues. Louis, including a hat trick in the second game. They are first on the Vegas list of expected goals for and against over 60 minutes. Advantage: Colorado Depth in front: The Knights’ second line could very well be the first. Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson have been an effective trio since the franchise’s first season, playing with speed and strong forechecking. The lines of Alex Tuch, Nicolas Roy and Mattias Janmark were the deciding lines in Game 7, with Janmark, who has become a post-trade buy this season, scoring a hat trick. The fourth line of Ryan Reeves and William Carrier set the tone physically. The Avalanche attackers will be put to the test early in the series, as center Nazem Kadri is serving his eight-game suspension for hitting Blues defender Justin Faulk in the head without permission. Kadri was serving a two-game suspension and has appealed to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. If Bettman upholds the disqualification, Kadri can appeal to a neutral arbitrator in hopes of reducing the penalty. In Kadri’s absence, JT Comper has taken the place of wingers Andre Burakowski and Joonas Donski. Tyson Yost is center Brandon Saad and Valeri Nichushkin. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Karl Soderberg form the core of the fourth line. Rookie Alex Newhook, 20, is in the lineup, and speedy rookie Sampo Ranta could also get a chance to play in the near future. Advantage: Sync and corrections by n17t01 word-image-13823 Post-game analysis and broadcast every night of the season by Barry Melrose and Linda Cohn. Watch ESPN+ Defense: The Golden Knights have two elite defenders. Alex Pietrangelo, released, will be paired with veteran Alec Martinez. Shea Theodore, who scored 42 points in 53 regular season games, is paired with Braden McNabb; when McNabb was cut from the NHL due to COVID, Theodore played with Nick Holden. Vegas’ third pair Nicholas Hague and Zach Whitecloud had a quietly excellent season (58.9% expected field goal percentage). Colorado’s defenders don’t have the same experience as the Knights, but they have dynamic talent. Cale Makar scored three points in the first round after averaging one point per game during the regular season. His partner is Devon Toews, who has been playing consistently defensively and has also been a key contributor offensively (31 points). Samuel Girard was the analyst favorite during the regular season, and he plays well alongside Ryan Graves. The third pair is Conor Timmins and Patrick Nemeth, who had a 61.1% winning percentage in the regular season. Bowen Byram, 19, waiting in the wings. Advantage: Sync and corrections by n17t01 Goalie: It’s Marc-Andre Fleury’s team again. The regular-season MVP had a hitting percentage of .931 and a 1.71 goals-against average in seven games against Minnesota, including a shutout on the road in Game 4. Robin Lehner, Vegas’ leading starter last season, has been a starter since the 10th. Shouldn’t be played anymore. Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer got a lot of help, but he had an excellent series against the Blues, with a .936 save percentage and a 1.75 goals against average. Vegas, however, has a distinct advantage in goalie depth: The Avalanche have Devan Dubnyk (.886 save percentage, 3.26 GAA) behind Grubauer. Advantage: Sync and corrections by n17t01 Coaching: With the win over the Wild, Vegas coach Pete DeBoer extended his winning streak to 6-0 in Game 7. He was behind the bench in big playoff wins and he certainly likes to play in the postseason. (Just try to confirm him as the starting goalie before the puck drops). Avalanche coach Jared Bednar is one of those coaches whose greatness is taken for granted because he sits behind the bench of a phenomenal team. After missing the playoffs in his first season, Bednar’s Avalanche have qualified for the postseason three times in a row and have their highest point total of the regular season (.661) in that time. He juggled the lineup well and allowed the Avalanche to dominate puck possession. Advantage: Sync and corrections by n17t01 Health: Vegas defenseman McNabb has been on the NHL’s COVID list since the end of the season. The Avalanche have been without defenseman Eric Johnson and attackman Matt Calvert since March. Goalkeeper Paul Fransuz missed the season. Advantage: Sync and corrections by n17t01 Special orders: The Golden Knights have the best free throw percentage (86.8%) in the NHL this season, and they were especially good against the Avalanche, undoing 20 of Colorado’s 21 power plays. During the regular season, the Avalanche had the eighth-best power play (22.7 percent) and the eighth-best free throw percentage (83.1 percent). During the regular season, the Golden Knights ranked 22nd in the NHL on the power play (17.8%), but against the Wild they scored four power play goals from 23 chances. Advantage: Colorado Selection of the range : Avalanches in six games. Kadri’s absence is concerning, as is the difference in playoff experience. But Colorado’s puck possession and McKinnon’s line will find a way to beat a very good Golden Knights team.Alright, we’re here. The NHL’s regular season is done, and now the playoff has begun.. Read more about nhl playoff bracket challenge 2021 and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NHL playoff format for 2021?

2019 wasn’t a particularly great year for the NHL. The league’s leading scorer decided to hold his mother’s hand during the trophy ceremony, some of the league’s heroes got into a fight, and a trade-deadline deadline ended with all of the trades that actually happened. The NHL is planning to tweak the current format for the 2019-20 NHL season, ahead of the 2021-22 season. The league is currently discussing how to create a more balanced and interesting playoff format, which will help to give fans a better idea of how teams will finish.

Who made the NHL playoffs 2021?

All twenty two National Hockey League teams are in action on February 5th, 2021. The NHL has an interesting twist for that date in 2021. The first round of games will be played in February. Will this be the year the first round of playoff games is played in February? The NHL has let it be known that it’s a possibility for a while, but have not officially announced it. The NHL playoffs are coming in 2021, and all 16 teams have been decided. The losers of the conference finals drop down to the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the winners have earned a trip to the conference finals. The Eastern and Western Conference Finals will be exciting matchups, and only a few teams will make the journey to the finals in back-to-back years.

Who will win the Stanley Cup 2021?

The NHL playoffs are just around the corner, and there are a few matchups that will be worth watching. One that is particularly intriguing is the matchup between the New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators. The Rangers have been the class of the Eastern Conference, but that might change. While the Senators have been inconsistent all season, they do have playoff experience and a good goaltending duo. The NHL season is here. After finishing up the 2019-2020 season with a dramatic Stanley Cup Finals, the first round of this year’s playoffs is nearly ready to begin. With a record amount of teams in the playoffs, this season promises to be a fun and exciting one! But, who will win the Stanley Cup 2021?

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