Welcome to the NHL Playoff Vibe Check, where we ask the question: is the vibe good?
There are eight series to begin the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with all underway except the North Division thus far as they wrap up regular-season shenanigans in Canada.
We can begin to ask about the vibes though, because there’s never a bad time for a vibe check.
The vibe: Relief
Energy check: Taylor Swift’s “The 1”
Taylor Hall wanted to play for a contending team, and after two playoff games he’s in the thick of things. He sent the Bruins to overtime on Monday night where they eventually won Game 2 to head home in a series tie.
The vibe: Kind of sus
Energy check: I think I’ve seen this film before
Washington easily could have a 2-0 lead right now. They didn’t capitalize on a few frustrated Bruins penalties in Game 2, and didn’t hold on at the end. They’ve now dealt with two overtimes and go on the road for the next two.
The vibe: Hmmm
Energy check: That one annoyed penguin meme
It’s early in the series, the Penguins are still the favorites. Evgeni Malkin presumably will be back. Tristan Jarry didn’t look his best in Game 1. A frustrating start all around but not time to freak out yet.
New York Islanders
The vibe: Cautiously optimistic
Energy check: Kyle Palmieri‘s beard
The Bruins aren’t the only team reaping the benefits of a strong trade deadline. Palmieri scored twice, including the overtime winner, to give the Islanders an early advantage on the road. Remember, there was a point when it looked like the Islanders would win the East. They’re dangerous.
The vibe: Storming
Energy check: Honey, you’ve got a big storm coming
Game 1 against the Predators went about as expected. Carolina had it throughout, even when Nashville tied it late in the second period. How about the energy in Raleigh, too? This feels like it would be Hurricanes in 3 if that was allowed.
This crowd is electric pic.twitter.com/CLBxK5UDjK
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) May 18, 2021
The vibe: Bad
Energy check: That’s so 2017
Nashville’s era has been heading to an end, and it doesn’t feel like they’ll have much success these playoffs. Juuse Saros did what he could in Game 1 with the Hurricanes, but they are clearly outmatched.
The vibe: Solid
Energy check: Not your millennial’s Panthers
A loss in Game 1 isn’t the end of the world. The Lightning are scary as heck, and the Panthers were competitive in the thrilling first edition of the Battle of Florida. They have something there, but going back home down 0-2 would be tough to come back from.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The vibe: Electric
Energy check: Why, what happened?
Turns out Nikita Kucherov can sit out an entire season and then show up in the most intense game of the entire season and score twice. Who knew? The Lightning, as it turns out, are still as dangerous as anyone, even against a strong Florida squad.
Vegas Golden Knights
The vibe: It’s fine, guys
Energy check: Vegas Lights by Panic! at the Disco
While yes, there’s a lot of hype for the Wild, this is the worst possible matchup the Golden Knights could have gotten, they are down 1-0…. they were still a game away from being a Presidents’ Trophy team, they are still a Stanley Cup favorite. No reason for the Golden Knights to panic just yet.
The vibe: Wild
Energy check: Kirill the Thrill
The dark horse of the NHL playoffs are off to a solid start. There’s a reason a lot of people picked them as an upset against the Golden Knights; they match up well. With a 1-0 lead and a guaranteed at least split before going to dominant home ice, they’re in a good spot.
The vibe: Excellent
Energy check: Ballin’ (arena)
There is a reason the Avalanche are considered the best team in the NHL: they probably are. The Avs put 50 shots on net in Game 1 with the Blues and took a 4-1 win, notched a Gordie Howe Hat Trick from their captain, and the defense looked great. Honestly, their vibes are undefeated.
St. Louis Blues
The vibe: Well, blue
Energy check: Not 2019 anymore
For the first half of Game 1, it looked like playoff Jordan Binnington was back. Turns out, that’s not good enough against the 2020-21 Avalanche.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The vibe: Tense
Energy check: What could go wrong?
Toronto has extremely high expectations this time around, fully expected to tear through the North and into the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals. Their first test is a Montreal team they should beat, so clearly everyone in Canada will be well-reasoned and calm about all of it.
The vibe: No pressure
Energy check: Hockey Twitter trolls
No one expects Montreal to win the series with Toronto, but what if they do? Not only the most chaotic postseason possibility but objectively the one that will blow up Hockey Twitter the most.
The vibe: Expectations high
Energy check: TBD?
Edmonton should beat Winnipeg. Everyone seems to be looking ahead to their near inevitable series with the Leafs. But wouldn’t it be so Oilers if they just got knocked out in the first round.
The vibe: Soarin’, Flyin’
Energy check: Goats?
Forget what might happen in the next couple of weeks, Mark Schiefele’s goats will unite the NHL.