By Andrew Cioffi


The 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are off to a hot start as teams have begun to close out their series earlier than expected. The games have been packed with intensity and emotion as many fights have broken out. New rivalries have been formed and old ones have continued their story. There have been upsets, overtimes and game winning goals to add to the excitement. As a fan hockey I couldn’t be more satisfied with what I have been seeing in this year’s playoffs.

The No. 3 seed Boston Bruins defeated the No. 2 Washington Capitals in five games in the first round of the Mass Mutual East Playoffs. This was a hard fought series, but due to the depth of the Bruins as well as the outstanding goaltending performance by Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask, Boston came out on top.

The Bruins will take on the No. 4 New York Islanders in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Islanders beat the No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games. They won on their home ice and is the first time they won a playoff series since 1993. The Bruins were 3-2-2 against the Islanders as this looking to be a classic New York-Boston rivalry.

Moving on to the Discover Central Division, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Tampa Bay Lightning, have beaten their new found rival in the Florida Panthers. The Lightning beat the Panthers in 6 games that seemed to be a very intense hate filled series. The Lightning welcomed back some of their star players, including Nikita Kucherov who had 11 points in the series. This was a very close series and I am very surprised that it did not go to 7 games.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will take on the winner of the No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes and the No. 4 Nashville Predators as they are headed to game six tonight with Carolina ahead 3-2 in the series. This has been a very close series as each team won all of their of home games and sent the last game in the Canes arena into overtime. In fact, 3 of the 5 gams have gone into overtime. I believe that the home wins are due to the fact that they both have allowed full capacity into their stadiums. Carolina will be hoping to advance to the second round tonight and the Predators will be fighting for their lives.

Moving across the board, the No. 1 Colorado Avalanche swept the No. 4 St. Louis Blues in the biggest lop sided series so far. The Avalanche outscored the Blues 25-7 through 4 games proving that the Avalanche have a high powered scoring offense. The Avalanche await on the series between the No. 2 Vegas Golden Knights and the No. 3 Minnesota Wild as they head into game 7 of their series. That series has been absolute battle and I am excited to see what game 7 has in store.

Heading up north to Canada although the No. 4 Montreal Canadians won the first game of the Series against the No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs, the Leafs won 3 straight pretty handedly. Game 5 kicks off tonight and maybe the home crowd up in Montreal can pump up their home team. The winner of this series will face the No. 3 Winnipeg Jets who just swept the No. 2 Edmonton Oilers in a very surprising series. 3 out of the 4 games went to overtime where the Jets claimed victory in all. The Jets were able to shut down the top 2 point leaders in the regular season as Connor Macdavid and Leon Draisitl only combined for 7 points.

Overall, the playoffs are off to a great start and I can wait to see what happens next. As always, Be Cool.