The Carolina Hurricanes will face a familiar foe in the next round.
The Carolina Hurricanes have moved up into the fifth seed meaning they will face an opponent they saw in the playoffs last year regardless of the outcome of final games.
When the Carolina swept the New York Rangers, they secured themselves a playoff berth and at least the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. That meant that they were destined to face the third or fourth seed. When both Philadelphia and Tampa secured multiple wins in the round-robin, that locked the Canes into facing one of two winless teams; Boston or Washington.
Luckily the Penguins helped make the math a little easier by allowing themselves to get knocked out of the playoffs thanks to once-attempted-Aho-nappers Canadiens. That allowed Carolina to move from the sixth seed in the east up to the fifth seed, meaning that they will face the lowest seed from the round-robin in the east.
Now it is up to Boston and Washington to figure out who that team will be. They will face each other on Sunday in the last noon game of the playoffs in all likelihood. The winner will face New York Islanders, who finished their Qualifying Round win over the Panthers yesterday. The loser will be given the tall task of attempting to remove the Carolina Hurricanes from the playoffs.
That is a tall task that no one seems to be interested in taking on after witnessing the Hurricanes dismiss the New York Rangers in only four days. Expect the match-up between the Bruins and Capitals to be played with serious first-round implications.
Suddenly a team that was considered an underdog going into a series where they were the home team just may be considered the favorite going into a series where they are the visiting team. Life comes at you fast.
For the most part, the seeding of the eastern conference is nice and final. Pending the two final round-robin games, Boston/Washington game and the Tampa/Philadelphia game, and game five between the Maple Leafs and the Blue Jackets the seeding will be as follows:
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- Tampa vs Philadelphia Winner
- Tampa vs Philadelphia Loser
- Boston vs Washington Winner
- Boston vs Washington Loser
- New York Islanders
- Toronto vs Columbus Winner
That sets us up for a first-round that will look a bit like this:
- Montreal at Tampa/Philadelphia
- Toronto/Columbus at Tampa/Philadelphia
- Islanders at Washington/Boston
- Carolina at Washington/Boston
Remember that each round is reseeded so that the best seed always faces off against the worst seed. That means that if Carolina bests whomever the face they will rise up to the fourth seed or higher depending on how the other games go. That also means that it is almost impossible to figure out who the second-round opponent may be.
What we do know is that they will continue a seeded instead of a bracketed playoff. Meaning the first seed will play the fourth seed and the second seed will play the third seed in the second round. Carolina has the opportunity to land in virtually any seeding.
With so much still in flux, the only opponent we can discount playing against in the second round is the Islanders. As the playoffs continue to take shape, I will revisit this to try and draw it out better. This is the most fun in the playoffs than anyone in the chaotic world of analytics has ever had. Makes many wonder if there will be a continued resurgence of this format in future years.
Until we get more details lets just sit back and enjoy the game tomorrow between Washington and Boston to see who we will have to prepare for in the upcoming week.
Question for CC Readers: Who would you prefer to face; Washington or Boston?