No Maple Leafs, Oilers, Jets, Penguins, Predators, no problem – let the Stanley Cup playoffs begin in earnest.

Pundits and fans alike can make valid arguments if it’s fair or not we won’t see star players such as Crosby, Malkin, McDavid, Draisaitl, Matthews, Marner, Scheifele, Laine etc. over the next two months.

However, if memory serves, the Oilers failed to make the playoffs last season, and the Jets, Penguins, Maple Leafs, were bounced in the opening round – in addition to the Capitals (Ovechkin) and Lightning (Kucherov, Stamkos).

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Yes, the Oilers and Penguins were almost home and cooled. Edmonton held second-place in the tough Pacific Division when the league stoppage occurred March 12. While Pittsburgh was third in Metropolitan, holding a near insurmountable five-point lead over challenging wild card teams with only 13 games remaining – a playoff position was seemingly assured.

But “it is what it is” as they say for the sake of much-needed TV revenue.

With this in mind, the schedule has been made for all First Round matchups.

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Follow Murray Pam on Twitter @pammerhockey








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