The NHL regular season is coming to a close, and the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff bracket is set. Seeds have shuffled around, but with all 16 spots secured, we know who will play for a chance to raise the Cup at the end of it all.
With the playoffs starting on Monday, May 2, it’s time to start looking at the bracket and matchups for what should be an exciting postseason.
2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Seeds – Eastern Conference
- 1 Seed: Carolina Hurricanes
- 2 Seed: New York Rangers
- 3 Seed: Pittsburgh Penguins
- 1 Seed: Florida Panthers
- 2 Seed: Toronto Maple Leafs
- 3 Seed: Tampa Bay Lightning
Wild Card Winners
- Wild Card 1: Boston Bruins
- Wild Card 2: Washington Capitals
2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Seeds – Western Conference
- 1 Seed: Colorado Avalanche
- 2 Seed: Minnesota Wild
- 3 Seed: St. Louis Blues
- 1 Seed: Calgary Flames
- 2 Seed: Edmonton Oilers
- 3 Seed: Los Angeles Kings
Wild Card Winners
- Wild Card 1: Dallas Stars
- Wild Card 2: Nashville Predators
2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs First-Round Matchups – Eastern Conference
1 Carolina Hurricanes vs WC1 Boston Bruins
The Carolina Hurricanes (54-20-8) and Boston Bruins (51-26-5) have played three times this season. The Hurricanes were victorious on all three occasions.
The Bruins have been outscored 16-1 in those three games and have struggled on defense against the fast-paced play of Carolina.
Frederik Andersen started all games during the season series for Carolina stopping 98 of 99 shots on goal. However, he is currently dealing with an undisclosed injury and will have to be re-evaluated before the playoffs begin.
If Carolina’s netminder is healthy and ready for the playoffs, the Bruins will have to make major adjustments in order to compete.
2 New York Rangers vs 3 Pittsburgh Penguins
The New York Rangers (52-24-6) and Pittsburgh Penguins (46-25-11) have provided plenty of defensive, low-scoring games this season. The Rangers have taken 3 of the 4 meetings this season by a combined score of 11-4.
Two of the four games ended in shutouts, one for each team. Goaltending is strong in this 1st round clash. Goals will be hard to come by, and the offensive strategies for both teams may need to be adjusted.
Both teams rank in the Top 5 in goals against average. They both sit Top 10 in the penalty kill as well. Great saves, defensive prowess, and low scoring games are what you can expect when these two teams matchup in the opening round.
1 Florida Panthers vs WC2 Washington Capitals
The Florida Panthers (58-18-6) are arguably the most improved team in the league this season. They are balanced with the ability to strike quickly, and they lead the league in goals scored and shots on goal per game.
The Washington Capitals (44-26-12) are strong defensively, but have been struggling in the offensive categories. Their power play ranks 22nd in the league and they are at the bottom of the league in faceoff percentage.
Against the high powered offensive attack of the Florida Panthers, the Capitals will have to rely on their strong defense to keep them in games. Add the fact that Florida is hungry for their first playoff series win since 1996, and the challenge gets that much more daunting.
Expect a fun series that could go at least 6 games, if not more.
2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs 3 Tampa Bay Lightning
If you like big offensive plays and scoring, this is your series. The Toronto Maple Leafs (54-21-7) and Tampa Bay Lightning (51-23-8) have put up a whopping 28 goals in just 4 games against each other this season.
The season series was split 2-2 with the most recent game ending in an 8-1 blowout by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both teams have star goal scorers that are capable of scoring on any given night.
Auston Matthews for Toronto has found the back of the net 60 times this season and leads the league in that category. Tampa Bay has seven 20+ goal scorers this year with the leader of the list, Steven Stamkos, one goal shy of 40 on the campaign.
Special teams will be a factor in the series. Toronto leads the league in power play percentage and Tampa Bay has committed the second most penalty minutes this year. If those two factors hold up come playoff time, Tampa Bay will be in for a rude awakening.
2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs First-Round Matchups – Western Conference
1 Colorado Avalanche vs WC2 Nashville Predators
The Colorado Avalanche (56-19-7) and Nashville Predators (45-30-7) are set to renew their rivalry in the playoffs. The two teams have played each other 4 times in the regular season with the series edge going to the Preds 3-1.
The Predators clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday night after the Dallas Stars defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in a shootout. Nashville, however, only managed to secure 1 point due to a game tying goal by Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames with 0.1 seconds left in the third period.
The loss to the Flames hurt the Preds’ chances at the first Wild Card spot. Instead of a trip to Calgary, they will play the second best team in the NHL.
When the two teams have gotten together, it has been rough, hard nosed hockey. The two should provide plenty of fireworks again when the series kicks off in Denver on Tuesday.
2 Minnesota Wild vs 3 St. Louis Blues
The Minnesota Wild (53-22-7) and St. Louis Blues (49-22-11) are set to play each other in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Wild won their final two regular season games against the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche. The Blues fell to the Vegas Golden Knights to close out their season.
The Blues have swept the regular season series 3 games to none. The most recent win in overtime secured them a spot in the playoffs. However, both teams have been hot claiming points in 8 of their last 10 games.
Minnesota has momentum as they enter the playoffs, but the Blues have been close behind. This series is guaranteed to provide plenty of storylines as this Central Division rivalry is renewed.
1 Calgary Flames vs WC1 Dallas Stars
The Calgary Flames (50-21-11) and Dallas Stars (46-30-6) have provided exciting hockey during the regular season. In the three games played between the two teams, the Flames have prevailed twice.
The Dallas Stars vaulted the Nashville Predators for the first Wild Card spot after their win on Friday night. They finished the season claiming points in 7 of their last 10 games.
The Flames have a Top 5 defense in the league, and their offense is not far behind. With points in 8 of their last 10 games, the Pacific Division champions are picking up a lot of momentum heading into the playoffs.
2 Edmonton Oilers vs 3 Los Angeles Kings
The Edmonton Oilers (49-27-6) and Los Angeles Kings (44-27-11) are another pairing of teams locked into a first round matchup. The Oilers have won 3 of 4 meetings this year and are currently locked into the number 2 seed in the Pacific.
Edmonton has played very well at home and holds a 26-12-1 record at Rogers Place. They hold home ice advantage for the first round, which is exactly where they want to be.
Los Angeles has played extremely well on the road this season (22-11-6). Something has to give, as both teams will be playing to their strengths for the majority of the series. This rivalry is bound to have aggression and physical play on both ends of the ice.
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