A Mother’s Guide to the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs 

 Originally Written: April 28, 2011

By  Hanna Trafford

The 2011 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are in a full swing – and now we are into conference semifinals. What does that mean and what is it all about?

For those of you who could use a little help in understanding how the playoffs work, who is left on the road to the coveted  Stanley Cup trophy  – here is a simple, from Mother’s point of view,  information on where it all stands as of today.

First – Here is how teams get into the playoffs:

The NHL is divided into two conferences. Each conference has three divisions. The first three playoff rounds are played within each conference, with the conference winners meeting in the Stanley Cup Final.

In each conference, first-round playoff match-ups are set as follows:

•  The three division winners are seeded 1-2-3.

•  The next five best teams are ranked 4-5-6-7-8, according to total regular season points.

•  Home-ice is granted to those teams seeded 1-2-3-4.

•  Teams are matched up using a “top-to-bottom” formula:

#1 vs. #8

#2 vs. #7

#3 vs. #6

#4 vs. #5

In later playoff rounds, teams are re-seeded according to the same criteria as the opening round. Division winners are seeded 1-2-3 for as long as they survive and all other teams line up behind them according to point total. Higher-seeded teams have home-ice advantage.

 And now we are into Conference Semifinals. Here is the line up of teams:

Eastern Conference:

(1)Washington Capitols–(5) Tampa Bay Lightning

The Washington Capitals have a little more rest and are possibly a bit more confident after beating the New York rangers in only 5 games. But the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pittsburg Penguins in Game 7 in Pittsburg –  and that will have them feeling pretty good. Considering that Washington looks like a more mature and more committed club, Tampa Bay will have to work hard to advance.


(2)Philadelphia Flyers – (3)Boston Bruins

Here is possibly a replay of last year. That is when the Flyers made one of greatest comebacks in playoff history by beating the Bruins in the series after loosing the first three games. And this year – they have the home ice advantage plus the advantage of having an extra day off. Needless to say – the Bruins will be eager to get a jump on the Flyers, if only to make up for last year’s loss.


Western Conference:

 (1)Vancouver Canucks – (5)Nashville Predators

The Vancouver Canucks were impressive beating Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7, but they will have to regroup quickly to take on the Predators. Nashville is in the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time – they beat Anaheim in 6 games to get the first series victory in franchise history. All that to say that they are pretty wound up to fight for the conference win.  Vancouver has an edge on Nashville, they are the NHL’s regular season best team and have more talent. But they will have to use that talent to avoid getting tripped up by a team that is hungry to move on.


(2)San Jose Sharks– (3)Detroit  Red Wings

The question is: Can San Jose repeat last year and send Detroit packing? They did win three of the four games between the teams this season – Detroit has one lonely win. But Detroit team will be well rested and pretty confident after eliminating the Phoenix Coyotes in four straight games. The Sharks had to fight for their place in semifinals quite a bit more before they eliminated the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6. Considering that this will be the fifth time these two teams have met in the postseason and San Jose did defeat Detroit last year and San Jose did dominate, Detroit will have to really pull up they hockey socks to advance.

Now you have the short and simple version of my Stanley Cup Playoffs – you can start by amazing your family with some basic hockey knowledge, spend more time with your spouse and believe me – once you make yourself familiar with what’s going on, you will enjoy watching hockey!

And if you need more information, making yourself more familiar with terminology, etc, please check out:

Guide to Hockey

And  don’t forget to send in your comments, sugestions and your experiences, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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