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NHL Playoffs 2014: Boston College Alumni in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The NHL playoffs begin tonight; here's a look at the BC connections

Justin K. Aller

With the NHL playoffs set to begin tonight, let's take a look at the many BC connections participating.

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings

This is a pretty weak series for BC connections. Tommy Cross plays for the Providence Bruins, while rising sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald is a Bruins pick. But there will be no alums actively playing in this series (barring some sort of horrendous blue line injury disaster for the black and gold).

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Motherlode! The BC/Pittsburgh pipeline has been stocked quite a bit in recent years. Brian Gibbons, Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi should all be key players for Pittsburgh, while Chuck Kobasew, Brian Dumoulin, Phillip Samuelsson, and player development coach Bill Guerin are all BC alums in the organization.

On the other side is one of the most electrifying BC alums in the NHL, Cam Atkinson, who has been a major part of Columbus's revival. His 21 goals and 79 games played this year were both career highs and he will be critical if the Jackets are going to pull an upset. In addition, BC '78 alum Rob Riley is an amateur scout for Columbus.

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Assuming he returns from injury in time to participate in the series, Chris Kreider will be a major factor for the Rangers - along with fellow BC alum Brian Boyle. Meanwhile, Eagle legend Joe Mullen is an assistant coach for Philadelphia.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Montreal captain Brian Gionta, of course, is one to watch. No BC alums on Tampa. :-(

Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars

Ben Lovejoy, who played one year at Boston College before transferring to Dartmouth, has made a very nice NHL career for himself as an undrafted player. He now is a regular part of the mix for the Anaheim Ducks, with 78 games played this year. The other BC connection in the Ducks organization is Steve Whitney in the AHL.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues

Chris Calnan will totally be suiting up for this series, right?... right? Hey, I read it on Twitter so it must be true. Ben Smith has become, impressively, a regular for the 'Hawks, and looks to get his name on the Stanley Cup again this year.

Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks

Nick Petrecki is still a member of the Sharks organization, and Isaac MacLeod is a Sharks prospect, but other than that, this series is fairly devoid of BC connections. BC women's hockey alum Lauren Wiedmeier works in the front office for the Kings.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild

Paul Carey has gotten regular playing time down the stretch for Colorado and ended up playing in 12 games for them this season, so he should get a chance to play in the playoffs. In addition, BC '86 alum Neil Shea is a scout for the Avs.

In summation - the top BC series to watch are Penguins/Blue Jackets (Eagles everywhere) and Rangers/Flyers (Kreiderwatch).

Here's a good question for debate: which BC connection has the best chance of getting his name on the Stanley Cup this year? Ben Smith again? The Penguins guys? Lovejoy?