Southeast: Goaltending questions surround playoff-bound Panthers, Capitals

by Cory Lavalette
on

 

Photo: Florida Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen may get the nod in goal over Jose Theodore in the Panthers opening round playoff series vs. Clemmensen's old team, the New Jersey Devils (courtesy of

Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)

The Southeast Division avoided sending just one team to the postseason when the Capitals outlasted the Sabres to earn a playoff berth. Washington also managed to leapfrog past Ottawa along the way, earning the seventh seed and a date with the defending champion Boston Bruins in Round 1 of the 2012 NHL Playoffs.

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Central: Strong division sports four playoff squads

by Andrew Sykes
on

 

Photo: St. Louis Blues captain David Backes will attempt to lead his team out of a late-season funk in their opening playoff series vs. the San Jose Sharks (courtesy of

Ray Carlin/Icon SMI)

In the regular season, the NHL's Central Division ranked along with the Atlantic as the two most competitive divisions in the league. In St. Louis, Nashville, Detroit and Chicago, the Central produced four of the top five teams in the Western Conference with all four topping the 100-point plateau.

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Northwest: Canucks offense faces challenge in first round

by Blake Benzel
on

 

Photo: The Vancouver Canucks hope Ryan Kesler has more of this kind of success against the Los Angeles Kings' Jonathan Quick in the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs (courtesy of

Bob Frid/Icon SMI)

Some divisions have a wealth of teams heading into the playoff race, but not the Northwest, which has seemingly decided for quality over quantity. The division has just one representative in the playoffs this season, but that one representative just happens to also be the winner of the NHL's President's Trophy, the Vancouver Canucks.

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Pacific: Trio of teams begin journey to Cup

by Andrew Knoll
on

 

Photo: Three Pacific Division players that could play key roles for their respective clubs include Oliver Ekman-Larsson (L) and Mike Smith (R) of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Patrick Marleau (C) of the San Jose Sharks (courtesy of

Bob Stanton/Icon Smi)

Three Pacific Division teams enter the 2012 NHL Playoffs after a wild race at season's end that left another Pacific team (Dallas) out in the cold. Below is a look at the three series involving the three Pacific teams that made the postseason – the Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, and Los Angeles Kings.

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Northeast: Bruins, Senators primed for playoff success

by John-Eric Iannicello
on

 

Photo: Forward Patrice Bergeron (37) and defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) will once again be two important pieces in the Bruins quest for a second consecutive Stanley Cup (courtesy of

Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

Two teams from the NHL's Northeast Division will be taking part in the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs that begin Wednesday night. Below is a look at the keys for the Ottawa Senators and defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins against their opening round opponents.

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