Experienced Blackhawks lead field of Cup contenders out West

The Columbus Blue Jackets play coach John Tortorella's structured playoff hockey that has bred success for his previous teams, but it's the Ottawa Senators' suffocating style that could prove the most frustrating for skilled opponents.

Enjoy the best time of the year for hockey fans! Fisher would love to guide the Predators on a similar run in the latter stages of his career.

Going back to the 1989-90.

Make your playoff plans accordingly. The youth of Toronto - sometimes it can help you and sometimes it can really hurt you. You will see it in most of the Canadian rinks throughout the playoffs. One X-factor: Sergei Bobrovsky, the best goalie in the league this season and someone who could certainly steal a series. "Enjoy it and give everything you've got".

In the Western Conference, the 1 seed is the Chicago Blackhawks who have won three Stanley Cups since 2010. The series included a double-overtime game and a triple-overtime game.

The Blackhawks tend to bring exciting, enjoyable playoff action whether they win or lose (though they're pretty good at the former), and this year shouldn't be much different. Even their second meeting of the season, a 5-2 Blackhawks victory that was a 2-2 game in the third period before Ryan Hartman's very unique hat trick. From Antti Niemi's two shutout victories to the Predators' 4-1 response in Game 3 to Marian Hossa's Game 5 overtime victor after the Blackhawks killed off his five-minute penalty, the series was memorable.

"We have a blend", Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "That's a memory that's always been in the back of my head".

"If you let 'em get going, then they're going and they're loose and driving", Babcock said Tuesday.

"Sure, there are a lot of similarities", Rinne said, comparing the Preds' postseason matchups against Detroit and Chicago. Both teams are likely to hold out key players who have anything more serious than a hangnail. All I have to say is that I think the victor of the Montreal/New York series is the one that goes forward to the conference finals. It is a bit of a rivalry... One-timers, wristers, deflections. The difference between overtime and defeat, going home or moving on, is inches ... and maybe a little luck. With James Neal, Ryan Johansen, Mike Fisher and Viktor Arvidsson providing secondary scoring, the Predators might be able to get some favorable matchups and make life hard for Crawford. Considering their collapse down the final stretch of the regular season, they might not have many backers.

Montreal has its own game-changing net-minder in Carey Price, healthy this postseason after missing the '16 playoffs with a knee injury. With 39 goals and 75 points in 82 games, he led the Blues in scoring for the third straight season.

"Every single playoff game was fun for me", Subban said.

It's playoff time, so let the second guessing begin. That's what is so exciting about it.

If I'm right, remember where you heard it. The best news for the Blackhawks is that the 28-year-old has flicked a new switch in his game over the past few months.

But he doesn't want to over-complicate matters. It looks like the trade paid off for the Atlantic Division champions a year after they missed the playoffs.