NHL Playoffs 2018: Ranking the eight remaining playoff teams based on first-round performance
Which teams were the most impressive in their first round series, and which ones are just lucky to be moving on?
The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is in the books and only eight teams remain.
The matchups are set for the second round, which looks to be a doozy with four intriguing series. But before the second round gets underway on Thursday, let's take a minute to take evaluate where each team stands after one series of postseason play.
Which teams were the most impressive in Round 1? Which ones are just lucky to be moving on?
Regardless of where a team may fall on this list, it's important to not count them out moving forward. They all found a way to get to the next phase, and each new series presents an opportunity for a team to push the reset button and work on the things that may not have gone their way in the previous round.
Here are the rankings:
|Winnipeg straight up dominated the Wild and were relentless attacking with and without the puck. They ended up owning 59 percent of the series' total shot attempts at 5-on-5 (the most lopsided split of the first round.) They may not have gotten the sweep but this never felt like a series the Wild could win.|
|The Lightning's first true test won't come until Round 2, but they handled their business against the Devils. Their best players played like their best players, they were good on special teams, and they got good goaltending. They're deep and they're dangerous, and it's hard to feel particularly bad about anything that happened to them in the first round.|
|The Sharks not only pulled an upset over the Ducks in the first round, they did it in a sweep…and in emphatic fashion. The Sharks are often inconsistent offensively but they got production throughout their lineup in the series. They also only allowed two goals at 5-on-5. They can be streaky, but they're the good version right now.|
|The Golden Knights made quick work of the Kings in Round 1, but they only scored seven times and won every game by a single goal. L.A. is great defensively and in net, but that lack of production has to be a bit concerning if you're a Vegas fan.|
|The Preds are deep and talented and they're among the Cup favorites for a reason, but they came out of the gate sluggish against a team that they probably should have dispatched quickly. Going to six games against the second wild-card team while they're without their best defenseman and starting goalie? Not great, but Nashville finished very strong in Game 6.|
|Despite some defensive breakdowns paving the way to a rough start, the Capitals showed that they were the better team in the first round. Their 57-percent share of high-danger scoring chances in the series is third-best from the first round, and they did a great job of shutting down Columbus' top talent and limiting opportunities in the second half of the series. They got a ton of help from special teams in Round 1, though.|
|The Penguins showed in their opening round series that they can be dominant. They also showed that they're capable of being pretty bad on any given night. They were seriously outplayed by the Flyers for stretches during that series, and it probably should have gone seven games had Philly not been atrocious in their own end. They're going to need to be better.|
|The Bruins looked like a juggernaut early in the first round, but it didn't last. They looked really shaky at points -- offensively, defensively and in net. They needed a very gutsy third period effort in Game 7 to escape elimination at the hands of the Maple Leafs , and they're going to need more consistency and be better at making adjustments moving forward.|
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