For hockey and basketball fans, the next few weeks are going to be filled with pure heart-pumping excitement.
It’s that time of year to separate the pretenders from the contenders. It’s the playoffs, baby!
In the case of all playoffs, postseason is a new season. What teams accomplished in regular season is merely their ticket to the big stage. Here’s your round one match-ups.
Quest for the Cup begins today and the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup playoff format has returned to the pre-expansion style. What does this mean?
Basically, you will continue to see divisional matchups in the first two rounds, however, the wildcard teams are now able to cross over outside their division.
While the new format may cause some initial confusion, no one will give it a second thought once the teams are set to face off.
Many first-round opponents have danced into the postseason several times in the past but the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning have met only once, while the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets have never met. The series that should bring the most excitement is the battle between the Boston Bruins against the team than never misses the playoffs, the Detroit Red Wings.
The two teams last met in the 1957 Stanley Cup semifinals, with the Bruins winning 4-1. Another epic encounter sees the St. Louis Blues face off against the defending Stanley Cup champs, Chicago Blackhawks. This will be the 11th meeting between the two, with the Blackhawks leading their series 7-3. Lest we forget, the impending battle between the New York Rangers versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Rangers and Flyers have met 10 previous times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the Flyers having a 6-4 all-time series advantage. They last met in the 1997 Eastern Conference Final, with the Flyers winning the series 4-1.
But, as already said, every postseason is a new season and this one is no different.
Get ready for fast-paced, adrenaline-filled, end-to-end playoff hockey! For a complete list of the NHL Playoff schedules, head to NHL.com.
The NBA Playoffs tip off on Saturday and with just a handful of games left on the regular-season schedule, the main forerunners are set in stone. While the basketball world waits to see if the Miami Heat can three-peat, the biggest news to date is the fact the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles will all miss the playoffs. This is the first time in NBA history the big three franchise teams are all out in the same season.
What’s not a surprise is the Western Conference dominating once again. Not only do they host the best team in the league, the San Antonio Spurs, they also have five out of their eight playoff-bound teams with more than 50 wins.
The Eastern Conference on the other hand has only the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat meeting the 50-win mark.
But as has been proven in the NCAA National Championships, there is nothing stopping a #8 seed team taking out a #1 one.
What is a surprise is the #3 seed Toronto Raptors. For the first time since 2008 they have clinched a playoff berth and secured their second Atlantic Division title. This is a pretty impressive achievement after starting 6-12 just a year ago.
If the playoffs started today, the Raptors would be matched up against the #6 seed Washington Wizards.
A championship is never a slam-dunk, and what hardcore basketball fan would want it to be? Hang on folks, the 2014 NBA Playoffs are going to be an insane ride. To see the most current 2014 NBA Playoff bracket and schedules head over to NBA.com
Follow Bobbi Singh on Twitter @sportschickca.