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Five things to know about the NHL playoffs

In 1993 Kim Campbell became Canada’s first female prime minister, the fidget spinner and Beanie Babies were rolled out, the World Wide Web became a thing, Jurassic Park was the most popular film, the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series — and the M

In 1993 Kim Campbell became Canada’s first female prime minister, the fidget spinner and Beanie Babies were rolled out, the World Wide Web became a thing, Jurassic Park was the most popular film, the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series — and the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.

In fact, those talented Canadiens were the last Canadian team to get their mitts on the coveted Cup.

Canada has four teams trying to end that 31-year drought this spring — the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers.

Here are five things to know about the NHL playoffs:

HIGH HOPES IN CANADA

The Canucks, winners of the Pacific Division with 109 points, open the NHL post-season tonight against the visiting Nashville Predators. It’s the first time the playoffs have been in Vancouver in nearly a decade.

The Jets, who finished second in the Central Division with 110 points, open their post-season tonight against the visiting Colorado Avalanche. And the Oilers, who finished second in the Pacific with 104 points after a terrible start to the season, host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday in the playoff opener for both clubs.

Last night the Maple Leafs were scorched 5-1 in their playoff opener by the Bruins in Boston. But as the losing teams like to say, the playoffs are a marathon not a sprint and being down a game is not a reason to panic. Having said that, teams taking a 1-0 lead in the opening round own an all-time series record of 515-242, including a 355-119 record when starting at home.

QUICK TURNAROUND

The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will be back at TD Garden for Game 2 of their series on Monday night. But not before the NBA playoffs get going in the same building at 1 pm ET on Sunday.

That’s a turnaround of just over 12 hours after the end of Saturday’s contest, which started just after 8 pm The best-of-seven series shifts to Toronto for Games 3 and 4.

BATTLE OF BROTHERS

This afternoon’s opening game between the visiting Washington Capitals and Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers is set to pit Ryan Lindgren against his brother, Caps’ goaltender Charlie Lindgren, making them the fourth set of siblings in NHL history to go head-to- head into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

PAVELSKI’S PURSUIT

The five most experienced players in the NHL playoffs feature an outlier this year.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski at 182 career playoff games is the only one of the five who has yet to win a Stanley Cup. The 39-year-old came close losing the final with Dallas in 2020 and in 2016 with San Jose Sharks.

Edmonton Oilers forward Corey Perry (196) won a Stanley Cup in 2007 with Anaheim.

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan McDonagh (185) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (160) won twice with the Lightning in 2020 and 2021.

Boston Bruins forward Patrick Maroon (150) is a three-time winner with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 and the Lightning in 2020 and 2021.

WILD CARD WAGERING

No wild-card team has won a Stanley Cup in the eight years since they were introduced to the NHL playoff format, although the Florida Panthers (2023) and the Nashville Predators (2017) made it to the final.

Wild-card teams have been post-season factors with at least one getting out of the first round six of eight years

All four got to the second round in 2019. The Eastern Conference’s top wild card Carolina Hurricanes made it to the third round before they were swept in four straight by Boston.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press