Five things to know about the NHL playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets are facing elimination tonight from the marathon that is the NHL playoffs. Both were considered Cup "favourites" by popular betting firms just 11 short days ago.

Here are five things to know about the NHL playoffs:


The Vancouver Canucks aren't sure which backup goalie — Casey DeSmith or Arturs Silovs — will start tonight at Rogers Arena when Rick Tocchet's resilient team aims to close out its first-round series against the punishing Nashville Predators.

After somehow winning both games in Music City — managing only 12 shots in the first game, and trailing 3-1 in the second with less than three minutes to play — the Canucks have a fortunate 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.

The Predators remained optimistic after Sunday's stunning 4-3 overtime loss, telling reporters the series is "far from over" and that the "investments" they've made in hitting everything that moves or named Quinn Hughes, will allow them to claw their way back.


There was no shortage of optimism in Canada when the NHL playoffs opened 11 days ago. Heck, four of the 16 teams competing for Lord Stanley's Cup were from the Great White North.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks, all trying to become the first Canadian team since the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens to hoist The Holy Grail, were considered serious challengers by puck pundits.

However, if the Jets and Leafs fail to win tonight, they'll join the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning as first-round carnage.

The Jets trail the surging Colorado Avalanche 3-1 in their best-of-seven series with Game 5 in Winnipeg, while the Bruins lead the Leafs 3-1 with Game 5 in Boston.


With their season on the line tonight in Boston, the Toronto Maple Leafs might be lining up without 69-goal scorer Auston Matthews.

Trailing the Bruins 3-1 in the first-round, best-of-seven series, the status of Matthews remains a mystery, as does the ailment that forced him to miss practices and the third period of Saturday's 3-1 loss at Scotiabank Arena.


The Winnipeg Jets, in need of some good news after being pushed to the brink in their first-round series with the Colorado Avalanche after two lopsided losses in Denver, received some upbeat information yesterday.

Netminder Connor Hellebuyck was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, an award given annually to the goalie voted the best at his position by NHL general managers. Thatcher Demko of Vancouver and Sergei Bobrovsky of Florida are the other finalists.

Perhaps even better, the Jets learned that Vladislav Namestnikov — taken to Denver hospital on Sunday after a puck hit him under his visor in Game 4 — has a fractured cheekbone, but no orbital damage as originally feared.


The Dallas Stars bust their butts all season to win the Western Conference title and the home-ice "advantage" that goes with such a feat.

After losing the first two games of their first-round playoff series at American Airlines Center against the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights, the disappointed Stars hit the road.

Against all odds in the gambling mecca, the Stars won Game 3 in overtime, and completed the Sin City sweep last night with a 4-2 win.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.

The Canadian Press