OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 26: (L-R) Mike Bolt and Phil Pritchard, Keepers of the Stanley Cup, carry the trophy as it is presented at the Ottawa Convention Centre as part of NHL All Star weekend on January 26, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The hockey season resumes in earnest after the Easter break, withe the top eight teams in each conference battling to see who will represent the respective conferences in the Stanley Cup Final. Unfortunately the Buffalo Sabres are done with their year and will not be playing for the Cup, but there is plenty for hockey fans in general to get excited about.The first round presents all sort of matchups, from the trapfests (FLA-NJD) and intriguing (STL-SJS) to the combustible (PIT-PHI) and explosive (BOS-WAS).. keep it here at Die By The Blade as we will preview all the series and give you updates as the playoffs progress.
Also here we present a brand new game for everyone to get involved in and give you something else to cheer about, with the playoffs bracket. The rules are simple and the games always fun. Keep it here after the break to see how you can participate.
It's easy enough to play.. just look at the first round matchups in the attached 2011-12 NHL Playoffs Bracket and pick the winners for the series marked #1 through to #8. We'll keep updating the chart as the series go on, and will invite you to go ahead and make your picks in the ensuing series as well all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where along with your pick for the winner we'll also be asking you to make picks for the series score and series game-winning-goal scorer as the tiebreaker.
So join us in the playoffs bracket, and show us how well you know your hockey.. make your picks today!
Ed. Note: We have sweetened the pot for this contest. The one person that has the most cumulative predictions correct throughout the playoffs, ending with the Finals, will win a $25 gift card to Shop.NHL.com. Here are the official rules: Die By The Blade Bracket Contest Rules
The comments section of this post will close with the drop of the first series at 7:30 pm