The Eastern conference Metropolitan winner vs the 1st Wildcard winner has the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is going to be a great series and should/could go 6 or 7 games.
Carolina finished the season 53-22-7 for 113 points. They struggled to finish the year as the team seemed to grow less and less interested but, they did enough to hold off the Islanders and Devils and keep the cushion that they had pretty much the whole season. HAT_TRICK_LEGEND did somewhat of a roster re-vamp this season as some of his team moved on from last year. He and the new captain, Burst-NightOwl did a lot of roster adjusting this season as SteelCityFan17 is the only player from the original team in April. They added BillXHicksOGT19, ACK-stonerboy and DomSquad100 to play with them up on the offensive side, LaFleuR11, and DIME-SHREDDER on the D side and TheyCallMeRevv and TrapMC in net. Revv was a great addition and for a while, people thought the Domsquad trade was very lopsided but, he hasn't played much at all with the Canes yet.
The Maple Leafs ran the season with a record of 44-26-12 for 100 points. Veteran rich2k8 and long time captain, VegaRidge are back in the show yet again. The past had them fighting for the top seed season after season but, this go around they slide in as the 1st wildcard. Vega took a position change this year from primary forward to primary D and did an outstanding job. His D partner for most games was sabres1414. They brought in Vaipetrucci87 late in the game to fill a much needed depth spot on D. Joining Rich up front was davez3k, old friends SMOKESHOWJOE and OI-ReaPz-IO and they brought in another solid veteran in Karlsson_MVP. In net, XzDEADLYxNASTYzX and another old teammate, zimDman finish out the roster. Toronto used the trade route this year to bring back familiar faces that helped them gain success in the past. Rich and Vega hope that happens again for this playoff push.
The Hurricanes offense was very good this year. Run by Hatty and Burst, who played most games, they led the way for the Canes. Burst had a solid year with 205 points and a 2.89 PPG, Hatty had 165 points and a 2.66 PPG. Since BillHicks came over, he averaged 2.72 PPG and ACK had 23 points in 11 games for the Canes. Dom could be a key piece. If he commits and plays, he will help this team as that extra dynamic piece.
The Leafs were just about average all year. None of their stats blow you away but, they do their job. A lot of older names could really pay off in a series like this. They know and understand how to adjust from game to game in a series and that might be the difference maker here. Rich led the way here for the offense with 169 points. Smokeshow plays a great center and 2 way game and Karlsson had very good stats as well even though they were mostly with other teams. Depth guys in Reapz and Dave are good part time pieces.
EDGE – CAROLINA HURRICANES
Steelcity and LeFleur are the backend for Carolina with DIME as depth. Steel and Lefleur are both just about 1 PPG so they stay involved and take their chances when they see a chance. Steel had 46 point and Lefleur had 44. DIME played only 8 games and had 4 assists during that time.
Toronto has their big 3. Vega, Sabres and Vaipe are no strangers to the playoffs. Vega is very offensive as he potted 20 goals from the defensive position. Sabres had a good season as well as he put in 10 of his own. That's a lot of goals from the blueline. Since Vaipe was brought in late and in his 9 games, added 4 assists and was a +1 during that time.
EDGE – TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Trading for Revv was a perfect move for this club. He is a goalie who can steal you games when you need it. For the 1st season in quite a while, he was affordable enough too for someone to pick him up. A 2.15 GAA and only got better once he reached Carolina where it was 1.97. Their backup Trap had very respectable numbers with a 14-9 record and a .771 S%.
Toronto has the better overall tandem. Deadly and Zim are both quality guys who the team can build confidence around. Both had very similar stats. Deadly had 1 more win and Zim had the better GAA. If Toronto is to win this series, these guys will need to be a key part of it.