The 2012 NHL playoffs are finally here, and for a casual fan it is the time that the season actually begins. It's when everything gets ramped up to a new level. The game gets faster, the players hit harder, the goalies make saves that you have to watch again just to believe, rivalries get even more heated and the green men (see right) get a little more awesome.
The puck gets dropped for the 2012 postseason on April 11 and will run straight into mid-June. Before you tune into the playoffs this year, check out some random facts you may not know (and some you might):
Did you know that no team located in Canada has won a Stanley Cup since 1993? Well, if you are a fan of any of the seven teams in Canada you probably did. They have had opportunities though; five times since 1993 a Canadian team has made the finals and lost, including last year when the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks. In a sport that was created in the country, you'd think that the NHL teams from the Great White North would have a little more success.
Best Record? Good Luck With That…
Did you know that since 2003 only one team that finished the regular season with the best record has gone on to win the Stanley Cup? That doesn't bode too well for the Canucks, who finished with the NHL's best record this year. Of course, in three of the four years before 2003 the team with the best record did win the Cup. So I guess the Canucks have that going for them.
History Doesn't Repeat Itself
Did you know that no team has won back-to-back championships since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998? The Bruins will be trying to do it this year and they may have a pretty good chance. The team led the league in goal differential, scoring 67 more goals than they allowed.
Whose Turn Is It?
Did you know that eight different teams have won the last eight Stanley Cups? Of those eight winning teams, only five of them qualified for this year's postseason. So the odds are in favor of there being a different champion for the ninth consecutive year.
Never Fear, the Underdog is Here!
Did you know that in the 17 seasons since the NHL adopted the current playoff format, a No. 1 or No. 2 seed has lost in the first round 34% of the time? Sounds like a lot, right? Well, of the 68 possible series that pitted the No. 1 vs. No. 8 or No. 2 vs. No. 7, the underdog came out on top 23 times. Most recently it happened in 2010, when both the No. 8 Canadiens and No. 7 Flyers advanced. The Rangers, Bruins, Canucks and Blues should watch their backs.
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