NHL

Which NHL playoff bandwagon should you jump on?

The elimination of the defending Stanley Cup-champion Washington Capitals has left the NHL playoffs without a single regular-season division champion. It also gives the remaining eight teams real hope of raising the Stanley Cup when it's all said and done.

There's still plenty of good hockey ahead, don't let it go to waste

Blues' Robby Fabbri, left, and goaltender Jordan Binnington are just two of the 20 Canadians to cheer for on St. Louis' roster. (Jeff Roberson/The Associated Press)

It's likely your favourite team is no longer around in these weird and wacky Stanley Cup playoffs full of first-round upsets.

But there's still six more weeks of hockey remaining before the Stanley Cup champion is crowned.

So to help you fill your evenings this spring, here are some reasons you should jump on a bandwagon for any of the eight remaining teams:

St. Louis Blues

With the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets all whisked out of the opening round, there is no Canadian franchise remaining in the NHL post-season. However, that doesn't mean there's no Canadian content.

Every team remaining includes several elite Canadian players, but the Blues have the most with 20 on their roster. All but one of their defensive corps hails from the Great White North.

This isn't a new development either, in 2016 when no Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs, the Blues suggested fans from Canada adopt them for the post-season in an endearing video.


Colorado Avalanche

Speaking of elite Canadians, Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon has finally won a playoff series. Third time was the charm for Colorado's regular-season leading scorer.

Prior to downing Western Conference leading Calgary in five games, MacKinnon hadn't advanced past the first round in either of his previous post-season appearances in 2014 or 2018.

And wouldn't it be nice to see him and the Cup riding around Halifax on a Zamboni with buddy Sidney Crosby?


Columbus Blue Jackets

Another wild-card team to shock a top-seeded squad, Columbus surprised the hockey world by sweeping the record-setting Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.

It's hard not to like this pack of underdogs after general manager Jarmo Kekalainen went all in ahead of the trade deadline by keeping pending unrestricted free agents Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, and also acquiring Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Keith Kinkaid and Adam McQuaid.

So far, the gamble is working out for them.

Matt Duchene sets a Columbus franchise record for assists and points in a playoff game with 1-3-4. 1:34

Boston Bruins

On the other end of that spectrum, there are the big, bad Bruins. We get it — this is going to be a tough sell for most hockey fans and especially any in Toronto.

A lot of people are probably tired of seeing a Boston team win another championship, but at least we know the parade would be killer. They've had a lot of practice on that front recently.


Carolina Hurricanes

Another team that definitely knows how celebrate is this "bunch of jerks." They've been one of the feel-good stories of the season — making hockey fun with their "storm surge" celebrations throughout the regular season.

They also have that underdog factor and you just know a Stanley Cup-winning storm surge would be the absolute best.

After their win 5-1 win over the Wild, the Hurricanes busted out the basketball net to do their best March Madness impression. It was Trevor van Riemsdyk who would put a stamp on a big victory, soaring in for a one-handed jam. 1:06

San Jose Sharks

Call us sentimental, but 39-year-old Joe Thornton is overdue for that elusive championship. The 21-season NHL veteran has done just about everything else in hockey and came so very close, reaching the final in 2016 before falling 4-2 to Pittsburgh.

Jumbo Joe is due.


Dallas Stars

The wild-card success stories this post-season have been fun. Why not keep things rolling?


New York Islanders

They swept the Penguins! After John Tavares left for Toronto in free agency, no one thought they had a shot. The Islanders have been proving people wrong ever since.

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