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2023 NHL Playoff Storylines

The 2022-23 NHL Regular Season is wrapping up, there's a lot to unpack.

Congrats to the Boston Bruins for already clinching the Presidents Trophy

The 2022-23 Boston Bruins are historically dominant

The Boston Bruins have 62 regular season wins with three games to play, tying the single season record for most games won in a season, along with the 2017-18 Lightning, and the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. Neither of those two teams won the Stanley Cup that season. But these Bruins sure look the part of a champion.

Their offensive attack is led by David Pastrnak, with a whopping 57 goals and counting, and stalwarts Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. However, these Bruins, unlike previous years, can roll all four lines, and expect all of them to score and defend effectively.

The Bruins defense is led by Charlie McAvoy, but this year's Bruins have the best and deepest defensive pairings in the league who can effectively move the puck, defend, and play physical.

This year's Bruins also have Vezina Trophy frontrunner Linus Ullmark in net, who has been spectacular from start to finish, just like everybody else on the team.

No team has had the NHL's best regular season record and won the Stanley Cup in 10 years, but these Bruins are having a special year in every facet of the game and it is hard not to pick them to win the Stanley Cup.

Connor McDavid and company on another level

Once again, Edmonton's superstar Connor McDavid will win the Hart Trophy (Regular Season MVP), and will take home the NHL's Scoring Title. But this year Connor McDavid took his game to the next level and decided to be the best goal scorer too with a career high 64 goals and counting in route to another career-high of 151 points, and counting. Connor McDavid is the first player to score 150 points in a season in 27 years!

Backed by Connor McDavid's brilliance, Leon Draisaitl's 124 points, a career year by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and a deeper lineup than previous years, the Edmonton Oilers have been lighting up the opposition in the scoring department.

The Edmonton Oilers have also been more consistently keeping the puck out of their own net this season, with the help of trade-deadline acquisition defenseman Mattias Ekholm, and rookie goalie Stuart Skinner, who has become the starting goalie and has been solid.

The Oilers have won 11 of their last 12 games, and although they do not lead the Pacific Division in wins (reserved for The Golden Knights), they are in my opinion the most dangerous team in the Western Conference come playoff time.

Patrick Kane headlines the NHL Trade Deadline

The NHL Trade Deadline was pretty eventful this year, as the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks finally decided to trade Patrick Kane on an expiring contract, for just a conditional 2nd and fourth round pick. Because of a disappointing regular season, an expensive/expiring contract, and Patrick Kane's refusal to be traded to anywhere except the New York Rangers, the Chicago Blackhawks were forced to sell pennies on the dollar. The Chicago Blackhawks took the tanking seriously, and made several other trades to strip down their roster.

The New York Rangers surely hope Patrick Kane can mesh well with New York's other star players and play at a superstar level, and within a super-competitive Metro Division, the Rangers need every bit of Patrick Kane playoff production.

The New York Rangers' Metro Division rival New Jersey Devils also made a major trade deadline splash, acquiring Timo Meier, an excellent scoring winger who is considerably younger than proven vet Patrick Kane. The New Jersey Devils have been excellent this year, and are making a major push to climb past the Carolina Hurricanes for the Metro division lead.

The Toronto Maple Leafs made several trade-deadline moves to improve their team, and the talented squad has lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past six years in the row! They are locked into a first round matchup against the Tampa-Bay Lightning and desperately need their trade deadline acquisitions, and their stars, to produce.

Intense playoff push

As of April 9 2023, 13 teams have clinched the NHL Playoffs, and with two games remaining, the battles for the remaining three playoff spots are fierce.

In the Eastern Conference Wild Card, the Florida Panthers and the New York Islanders both have 91 points with two games remaining, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have 90 points with two games remaining. One of these three teams will be eliminated, the other two clinch a playoff spot

In the Western Conference Wild Card, the Winnipeg Jets (91 points) are struggling to hold off the Calgary Flames (90 points) to earn the second wild-card playoff spot.

The teams who eventually clinch the final Wild-Card spots will also face an uphill battle, facing the division winners in the first round of the NHL Playoffs, which will be full of fierce battles for 16 teams. Only one team of the 16 can win the Stanley Cup!

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