The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Wednesday, April 12 at 7 PM EST. As usual, there are many BC alumni in the playoffs, so we’re breaking each match-up down for you with a focus on former Eagles.
Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Root For: Either team
The Washington Capitals are a heavy favorite this season, and that is a plus for BC fans. Brooks Orpik has been an alternate captain for the Caps for the last 3 seasons, and Paul Carey has split this season between Washington and Hershey (AHL).
The Maple Leafs also have 2 BC alumni, but similarly to the Caps, only one consistently plays. Brian Boyle was traded to Toronto from Tampa at the trade deadline and has seen solid ice time since joining the Leafs. Ben Smith also plays for Toronto, but is a healthy scratch as frequently as he is on the bench.
So if you like rooting for the underdog, root for Toronto in this series. If you would rather root for the team that will probably win, cheer for Washington. Either way, BC wins.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Root for: Either.
As usual, the Penguins are a strong team this year. They won the Stanley Cup last year and are hoping to repeat. The Penguins have 1 BC alumnus - Brian Dumoulin. Dumoulin has spent his entire professional career with the Penguins organization and is in his second full season in the NHL.
Columbus is led by BC favorite, Cam Atkinson. Atkinson has a career high 35 goals this season and made the NHL All Star Game. Columbus was a bit of a surprise this year, despite slowing down a little towards the end of the season.
So root for the Blue Jackets if you like an underdog story and the Penguins if you like perennial winners. Either way, one Eagle will be moving on to the next round.
Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers
Root for: New York
Don’t worry, Bostonian Eagles - you don’t have to root for the Habs. Montreal has 0 former Eagles on their team, while the Rangers have 2. Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider both play for New York, and both have been Rangers since joining the NHL. Kreider scored a career high 28 goals and 53 points during the regular season this year, while Hayes recorded a career high 49 points.
Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins
Root for: Boston
No matter what happens in this series, an Eagle will be moving on. Colin White recently signed a contract with the Sens, and Jimmy Hayes plays for the Bruins. It remains to be seen how much playing time White will get as a new player, but he should crack the line-up for the Senators. Similarly, Jimmy Hayes was frequently a healthy scratch for the Bruins this season, but injuries to other players could work in his favor.
Even though each team has an Eagle on the roster, we’re giving the edge to the Bruins. The Bruins share a city with BC and their home rink plays host to the Beanpot and Hockey East Tournament.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators
Root for: Chicago
It hurts me to say this because I don’t like the Blackhawks, but it makes more sense to root for them from a BC perspective. Neither Chicago nor Nashville has any BC alumni on the roster or in the minor leagues. Chicago did draft Chris Calnan, but it seems as though the don’t plan on signing him. When there are no BC players in the mix, the best thing to do is root against BU - and Terriers alumnus Colin Wilson plays for the Predators.
Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues
Root for: St. Louis
Zach Sanford was traded to St. Louis at the trade deadline and has split time between playing and being a healthy scratch. Alex Tuch has seen some action for the Wild, but has spent most of the season in the AHL. Since Sanford will almost certainly play in the NHL playoffs while Tuch likely won’t, St. Louis has a slight edge here.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames
Root for: Calgary
Each team has one former Eagle - Johnny Gaudreau plays for the Flames and Patrick Eaves plays for the Ducks. However, Eaves was injured at the end of the regular season and it is unknown whether or not he will play in the playoffs. BC wins either way, but rooting for the Flames means you will actually see a former Eagle playing. If Eaves returns from his injury during the first round, either team is a good choice to root for. The Flames are slight underdogs in this series since they rarely beat the Ducks.
(Update: It is highly likely that Eaves will return to the lineup by the first game of this series. But I still say you should root for Calgary because I’m a Flames fan and this is my article.)
Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks
Root for: Edmonton
Neither team has any former Eagles on the roster or in the minor leagues. However, Danny O’Regan from BU plays for the Sharks so rooting against the Sharks means you’re rooting against BU. Additionally, rising BC sophomore Graham McPhee and incoming BC freshman Aapeli Räsänen are both Oilers draft picks.
Check back this weekend for a breakdown of the Calder Cup (AHL) and Kelly Cup (ECHL) playoffs!