NHL Playoffs 2021: A look at Teams Other Than the Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JULY 28: The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens line up for the Canadian national anthem before an exhibition game prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on July 28, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JULY 28: The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens line up for the Canadian national anthem before an exhibition game prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on July 28, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TAMPA, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 30: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning . (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Florida Panthers (2) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (3)

While the Capitals-Bruins series certainly was entertaining to watch, I thought this series took things to another level.

The speed, intensity and physicality of this match-up was something to behold. Tampa ultimately came out on top, outscoring Florida 24-17 (and 8PPG to 6) with perennial performer Nikita Kucherov looking none the worse for wear, cap-(shenanigans)-ing off the final game with two assists to give him a total of 3 goals and 11 points in six games.

Again, goaltending was a major factor as Panthers’ Chris Driedger and Sergei Bobrovsky struggled (.871 and .841) while Andrei Vasilevskiy (.929) shut the door.

Result: Tampa Bay in 6

My Bracket: Tampa Bay in 5

Colorado Avalanche (1) vs. St. Louis Blues (4)

Other than seeing Nazem Kadri suspended for the third(!) time in the post-season, everything went pretty smoothly for Colorado. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, with 9, 8 and 7 points, respectively, torched the Blues and made life miserable for Jordan Binnington, who finished with an .899 save % in the four game series. St. Louis was outscored by a whopping 20-7 margin and lost each game by at least three goals. Not many surprises here.

Result: Colorado in 4

My Bracket: Colorado in 5