by Patrick Hoffman on 04/17/13 at 12:00 PM ET
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, every hockey fan is dreaming about the potential of their favorite hockey team.
Puckheads across North America are starting to think about 16 wins, big-time performances, clutch goals, big saves and some great hockey in general. As of this moment, the potential is limitless.
With that said, here are four somewhat surprising teams that you do not want to end up playing in the first round should your team clinch a spot in the postseason this year:
- New York Islanders
As a whole, the New York Islanders may not have a lot of playoff experience but boy, are they hungry to make some noise when it matters the most.
They are playing some of their best hockey at the crucial point of the season and are getting great performances from their young players. The Islanders are fast, they go to the net and they can score.
With Evgeni Nabokov between the pipes, the Islanders believe that they can win on any given night, which is exactly the attitude a team needs to have in the playoffs.
- Washington Capitals
For Washinton Capitals' fans that were wondering what happened to their superstar Alex Ovechkin, that question has been answered in a big way.
Ovechkin is back to leading the team and the league in goals with 28 and as Ovechkin goes, so does the Capitals' offense. The Capitals are back to being a lethal offensive team and should they finish in third in the Conference and have home ice advantage in the first round, that could end up being a killer combination.
With one postseason already under his belt, you can bet that Capitals' netminder Braden Holtby will be ready to give the kind of performance that he did in last year's playoffs.
- Columbus Blue Jackets
Should the Columbus Blue Jackets find a way to sneak into the postseason, they might be a very dangerous team to play against.
The team wil not be dangerous because of its offense or physical play. Rather, the Blue Jackets will be feared because of the play of their Russian netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky.
When it comes to the postseason, netminders have been known to steal a series or two and Bobrovsky might be the guy to prove that point this season should the Blue Jackets crack the top eight in the Western Conference.
- St. Louis Blues
They might not overwhelm you with their offense but the St. Louis Blues will still be a dnagerous matchup for anyone in the Western Conference.
Under head coach Ken Hitchcock, the team plays a tight defensive system and does a great job of limiting quality scoring chances. When a team manages to beat the Blues' defense, goaltender Brian Elliott, who struggled at the beginning of the season, is there to save the day.
After losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the second round last season, the Blues are looking to prove that they have what it takes to get to the next level in a powerful Conference.
What do you folks think?
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, brian+elliott, columbus+blue+jackets, evgeni+nabokov, ken+hitchcock, new+york+islanders, sergei+bobrovsky, st.+louis+blues, washington+capitals
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.