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Stanley Cup Playoffs Vibe Check: Farewell Capitals, Oilers and Blues

With Gabriel Landeskog's physicality and Nathan MacKinnon's skating ability, the Avalanche made quick work of St. Louis -- and Kathryn Tappen, Anson Carter and Dominic Moore wonder whether any team can beat them.

The first week of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are in the books and we already get to Hunger Games cannon away three teams. Washington won just once against the Bruins, Edmonton was stunningly swept by the Jets, and the Blues couldn’t beat Colorado at all, so they go home into the abyss that is the offseason.

Their vibes aren’t good, but everyone else at least has a chance to figure out theirs before the First Round ends.

Boston Bruins

The vibe: Boston Brewin’

Energy check: When Dunkin’ makes your order right

Pretty good series for the Bruins. They did what they had to do and what was expected of them and then some with a five-game series win over the Capitals. Next, they’ll deal with either the Penguins or Islanders, which will undoubtedly be a tougher series.

Washington Capitals

The vibe: good morning, god has let me live another day or something

Energy check: Weird social media

Strange tweets aside, the Capitals had just about everything go wrong for them. The goaltending situation was weird from Game 1 on, the power play didn’t do enough, and even when the Bruins didn’t play their best, they didn’t take advantage. They have some work to do this offseason.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The vibe: Kind of sus

Energy check: Flightless bird

They easily could win two games in a row, but boy, Tristan Jarry is a little suspect right now. The thing about the Islanders is they can smother a team, and they’ve done that to the Penguins so far. Again, they’re not done but this doesn’t look good.

New York Islanders

The vibe: Good

Energy check: Fisherman jerseys

The Islanders have a series lead and have played pretty well overall, even if the Penguins have their issues. Ilya Sorokin has been good in net when he’s gotten the chance. They can close things out in Game 6.

Carolina Hurricanes

The vibe: Spicy

Energy check: good 4 u

The Hurricanes will be fine. Right? Right?!?

Nashville Predators

The vibe: Surprising

Energy check: “You can’t get rid of me” TikTok audio

The Predators have been battling for their playoff lives well before the postseason began. Maybe it’s not too surprising they’ve been able to compete in more win-or-go home scenarios. It wasn’t until late in the season anyone believed it wouldn’t be Dallas as the fourth seed, so they’ve continued to play hard.

Florida Panthers

The vibe: Good Knight

Energy check: Vibing Panther every time

The Lightning went up 3-1 in the series but Florida finally figured out their goaltending. Now down 3-2, it’s the Spencer Knight show. Winning the next two against the Lightning isn’t a given by any means, but the Panthers vibes remain good.


Getty Images

NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning

The vibe: Shocking

Energy check: The “they’re not gonna know” TikTok audio

Tampa Bay is still in the drivers seat, along with their like, $20M extra in the postseason sans salary cap. Florida has hung tough as expected, but going back to AMALIE Arena for Game 6 is a big opportunity for the Lightning to put the series away. Game 7 in Sunrise would not be fun (for them, for all of us it would be very fun).

Vegas Golden Knights

The vibe: KNIGHT

Energy check: Flower

This was always going to be a tough series, and Vegas has outplayed Minnesota for the majority of it. Game 6 at Xcel Energy Center is a little concerning, still.

Minnesota Wild

The vibe: wild with a lowercase w

Energy check: “What like it’s hard?”

The Wild absolutely did not play the best Game 5 of their lives and still forced the Golden Knights to go back to their barn for a Game 6. They will need to not be outshot by like 30 to win this team in case that’s the analysis you’re looking for.

Colorado Avalanche

The vibe: Couldn’t be better

Energy check: The “say, Colorado” Vine

The Avalanche are who we thought they were and so are the Blues, so they predictably swept their way into the Second Round and will have some rest.

St. Louis Blues

The vibe: Poor

Energy check: Jordan Binnington’s “be quiet” tweet

Another year of the Blues being disappointing. It’s been a rough go for them with injuries and underperformance and they clearly weren’t going to contend with the Avalanche.

Rielly lifts Maple Leafs to 2-1 win over Canadiens in Game 3

MONTREAL, QC - MAY 24: William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates with the bench after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on May 24, 2021 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs

The vibe: Leafy

Energy check: North Division-esque

After a blip in Game 1, the Maple Leafs have done what’s expected against a lesser Canadiens team. It’s still just a 2-1 series lead and yes, anything can happen, but they look on their way to playing the... Jets, apparently.

Montreal Canadiens

The vibe: Last Canadian Cup winner

Energy check: meh

The Habs took Game 1 and have been somewhat unimpressive since. They’re not supposed to win this series anyways, so, meh.

Edmonton Oilers

The vibe: Horrible

Energy check: That other time the Oilers broke your heart, whichever one it doesn’t matter

Yikes. Not quite the “Blue Jackets sweeping the Lightning out of the First Round” kind of shock but in the same category at least. We all knew the North was kind of smoke and mirrors but this is the worst Oilers being Oilers example in a while.

Winnipeg Jets

The vibe: Jetting

Energy check: Almost as if they have an airport

Winnipeg??? That Winnipeg? Look out, the Maple Leafs, the Jets are going to have some rest to work with and have to feel awesome about shutting down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and whoever else plays for the Oilers.


Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.