There are no easy outs on paper in the Western Conference this year. The Spurs were throttling the Warriors before Leonard was lost to injury in the West finals, too. Neither will , but Butler has the juice in the locker room, by all indications. Question is: How much do they have left after spending the last two months fighting for their playoff lives? They also happen to be the two most well-rounded teams in the field. In this crazy race, that one loss is the difference between being tied with New Orleans for the No.
The only Eastern Conference team that got a win last night was the Celtics with their 113-110 win over Anthony Davis and the Pels a good sign considering the Boston team has a record that is much in need of improvement. While Butler has recovered, Karl-Anthony Towns has played exceptionally well and Jeff Teague has found his lane. Fact is, they have only beaten two playoff teams in more than a month. Conn Smythe winner: Blake Wheeler Jim Cerny Eastern Conference champion: Lightning over Penguins in 6 games Western Conference champion: Predators over Kings in 6 games Stanley Cup champion: Predators over Lightning in 6 games Two disclaimers to start. He's found a nice home next to Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi, playing with a new pep in his step finally free of all of that losing in Winnipeg and Buffalo. The format is a set bracket that is largely division-based with wild cards.
Right now they are technically ahead of the No. These are two free-flowing offensive teams that emphasize skating and skill over grit and physicality. Detroit is not making the playoffs, but just for fun, let's check where the Pistons stand, if only to make Milwaukee and Miami fans feel better. Their challengers from the Pacific Division are a bit more fickle, but any one of the Golden Knights, Kings, Ducks and Sharks have opportunist feel to their Stanley Cup chances. Portland's loss on Tuesday move the Warriors one game closer to sealing the No. More likely, the Avs will fold sooner rather than later, content to build on their historic turnaround. To reach their second Final in four years, the Lightning will beat the two-time defending Cup champion Penguins in six games.
. Related They are flawed, but a team that gives effort, has an identity, and exceeds expectations is a terrifying team to meet in the playoffs. The Flower hasn't always been great in postseason play. Two Sunbelt expansion franchises long since established in captive, exciting destination locales. Since the all-star break, Utah is allowing 95 points per 100 possessions.
Now, rather than gaining a game on Portland for the No. Ties for playoff positions including division winners will be broken utilizing the criteria set forth in subparagraph a. Already have a playoff spot clinched. Given the Celtics' injury uncertainty, that feels like a series the Heat could at least threaten to win. By virtue of their 2-1 record vs. Any other third party trademarks or copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Now Hellebuyck has to fight fatigue in his first postseason to stop a balanced Wild offense.
Danger, thy name is Thunder. They are a real threat to cause major damage in the West. The big number First-year coach John Stevens has the Kings playing with a renewed sense of vigor and finesse, but their lockdown ways of old are still very much a strength of this team. The key player Marc-Andre Fleury is the failsafe that allows the Golden Knights' trademark high-flying offense to operate. Home-ice advantage through the first two rounds goes to the team that placed higher in the regular-season standings. That means that, assuming both teams win their opening round series, the Warriors and Blazers would square off in round two.
The Avalanche, who completed one of the more improbable one-year turnarounds in recent sports memory, look to channel some of the magic that helped the Predators pull off a sweep of top-seeded Blackhawks in 2017. In fact, either the Ducks or the Sharks have been among the playoff field every year since Anaheim won the Stanley Cup in 2007. A team that knows a thing or two about winning championships awaits in the first round. The greater number of games won, excluding games won in the Shootout. The Thunder have one of the most solid true big men in the conference in Steven Adams. That's four more than the next closest team. And when it's all said and done, they'll parade the Stanley Cup down the grey, dreary streets of Winnipeg, where the Jets will get the last laugh.
Golden State swept Portland easily a year ago, but the Blazers peeled off one game and made two more close in 2016, when Curry was banged up as he is this year. Pelicans New Orleans has the No. Who will the play in the first round? So long as Butler is back, Minnesota will be trying to win games in the playoffs, not just make it. This post will continue to update for the remainder of the season as we keep track right down to the wire. Colorado is depleted by injuries, with starting goalie Semyon Varlamov and No.
Conn Smythe winner: Pekka Rinne. I wouldn't bet on it happening, but I wouldn't bet the house against it either. In his first taste of playoff hockey, Kane has a chance to be a real difference maker and it could make him a lot of moeny this offseason. The Zamboni word mark and configuration of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine are registered trademarks of Frank J. A bunch of them are uncontrollable. It is possible for one division in each conference to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends just three. Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick still know how to put an offense on lockdown.
More Than Two Teams Tied. Three of those games came before December, though, and the division foes last met Jan. These days, there are four No. LaMarcus Aldridge has been playing really well — he put 45 on Rudy Gobert last week — and the mish-mosh of mysterious role players are doing their jobs. He'll be a Vezina finalist.