COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 23: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals and Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals warm up prior to the start of Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 23, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Six down, 10 teams left, the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing. The Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado Avalanche are the latest teams to start their summer vacation early. Both teams were eliminated in Game 6 action on Sunday. They join the Devils, Wild, Ducks and Kings in the scrap heap of the 2018 NHL playoff bracket on the road to the Stanley Cup.

We are still waiting for the last 2 teams to make it to the finals. The Bruins play the Maple Leafs Monday at 7 and the winner of the series which could go on to Wednesday if the Leafs win. The winner of that series will play the lightning in round 2.

The other spot is between the capitals and the Blue Jackets. They also play tonight and if needed Wednesday. The capitals are winning as of Monday morning and it could either end in an amazing feat where they advance to the second round. But the Capitals have not made it past the second round since 1998.

For those teams advancing to Round 2, here are the matchups.

Nashville Predators vs Winnipeg Jets:

The top two finishers in the Western Conference will square off as the Nashville Predators meet the Winnipeg Jets in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time.The Round Two series will open later this week in Nashville – with the schedule announced soon – but NashvillePredators.com already has a full analysis of the series, a look back at the five-game 2017-18 season series, X-factors and four things that will define the playoff matchup. The Predators and Jets have never met in the playoffs before. Nashville’s regular-season record versus Winnipeg: 3-1-1. The Winnipeg Jets finished with the NHL’s best home record at 32-7-2. So this matchup is set to be a good one.

Las Vegas Golden Knights vs San Jose Sharks:

A date has still not been set for the start of the Sharks’ second-round playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights. One thing is certain: center Joe Thornton will not be in San Jose’s lineup for whenever it begins.He has missed 39 games but he officially is out for game 1.

It is important to note that these teams both swept their opponent and will continue to be strong on offence and defense.  The Sharks have their work cut out for them as Marc-Andre Fleury has a .977 save percentage and doesn’t seem to want to change that. If the Sharks hold Vegas’ dynamic group of scorers down, then it will be time to believe they have a chance against one of the two best teams in the West, Nashville or Winnipeg (their likely opponent if they make the Western Conference finals).

Pittsburgh Penguins vs winner of Washington vs Columbus:

Although not much can be said about this as no team is set yet. If it is Washington, the likelihood of them seeing the finals is very slim as in previous years the Pens have crushed the caps and left heartbreak in the hearts of many. If it is Columbus there still is a slim chance of a win.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs winner of Boston vs Toronto:

The last time Tampa Bay played Toronto, Tampa Bay got the series in a 3-1 battle. Only time will tell if Toronto has fixed its mistakes to take the series this time. The Bruins, on the other hand, took the series when they played Tampa 2-1. One less game but they got the win. Either team has their work cut out for them but they all have a plausible chance at a win.

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