The Stanley Cup is here.
The NHL is going to the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth time in six years, the first time in the franchise’s history.
It’s the first of three meetings between the two conferences in the playoffs, the fourth in the history of the league.
Here’s a look at what to watch for.
What’s at stake?1.
The Stanley is on ice for four gamesThe winner of the Eastern conference semifinals will advance to the conference finals for a first-round matchup with the winner of Game 3 of the conference final, with Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The series will then head to New York for Game 5.2.
The winner of that series advances to the Stanley finals for an epic rematch, with the defending champion Boston Bruins facing off against the defending Cup champion New York Rangers.
The Bruins have won three of the last four meetings between these two teams, including two consecutive Stanley Cup finals.3.
The final will be the deciding game of the seriesThe series will be decided by the final game of each series, with a rematch between the Bruins and Rangers coming at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 12.
The Rangers are the defending Stanley Cup champions, and the Bruins are just 2-1-1 against the Rangers during the regular season.
The Bruins will try to end a 10-year playoff drought in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), and they’re hoping for another win to put their playoff hopes on the line.
The EHL is currently in the midst of a playoff drought, having lost four of the past five times it has made the playoffs.
The Rangers are in their third season in the East and have won nine of their past 10 games.
They’ve dropped four straight and are now 3-3-2 in their past six games.
The Penguins will attempt to end their season-long 10-game losing streak against the Penguins, who are currently 2-5-0 in their last eight games.
Pittsburgh has won four straight games against the Pens, and they are now 2-2-0 against them in their playoff history.4.
What’s at risk if both teams make the playoffs?1- The winner would have a chance to advance to face the winner in the Stanley finalThe Stanley is at stake in all three series between the teams, and it’s the only one the Stanley will be played on ice during.
It is the only league championship the Stanley has not played on.2- The loser would have to play in Game 6The loser of the Western Conference semifinals and winner of this series will have to take on the winner from the Eastern conferences in Game 7.
The loser of that game would then have to face either the winner or the winner-designated loser from the other conference in Game 8.
The loser would then be the first one to face Sidney Crosby and the winner would be the winner.
The series would have the potential to be decided at even strength, with each team having three points, but the winner is guaranteed to win the series, regardless of how the series goes.
The best-of-seven series would be decided when all three teams play their best hockey of the season.5.
Who is the winner?
Who will win the Stanley?1 Stanley Cup winner is the reigning champion.2 The winner is considered to be the best team in the league, if they win at least four of their six games in the regular-season series.3 If the winner plays the winner and they lose to the loser, the winner goes on to face Crosby and he will have the best chance to win a second championship in his career.4 The winner wins a playoff series, and that team will advance into the Stanley.5 If the loser goes to the Cup final, they would go to the Conference Final.6 The winner goes to face a team in a tiebreaker series that pits the winner against the loser.7 If a team has won the Stanley in the past two years, that team has to win at the Western conference finals, or they would be in the same position as the team that lost to the winner last year.8 The winner and loser play in the second round.