Ranking the 2024 NHL Playoff Quarter and Semi-Final Series

Kevin Sousa / Getty Images via NHL I File Photo

It has been over a month since the 2024 NHL Playoffs began. We started with the top sixteen teams in the league and have reached a strong final four. It’s been a rollercoaster of teams battling back and forth, but not all playoff series were created equal, so here are my complete rankings of the Quarter and Semi-Final series, from worst to best.

12. New York Rangers v. Washington Capitals

My least favorite series of this year’s chase for Lord Stanely had to be the Rangers vs. the Capitals. It was the last and weakest team to secure a seat in the post-season versus the best regular-season team. This was more of a formality for the Rangers than anything and became pretty bland television that I opted out of when I could. We all knew what the outcome would be, and it was proven right less than two weeks later. The Capitals fought as hard as they could, but the Rangers weren’t going to let a game slip out of their hands here.

11. Edmonton Oilers v. Los Angeles Kings

There was some eager excitement for the third annual first-round matchup between these two Pacific division rivals. The Kings expectations were lower than their previous matchups and they unfortunately lived up to them. The main story here was how Edmonton’s goaltending was going to hold up, and Stuart Skinner was able to shut the door enough to finish this series in 5. The most interesting thing about the Kings is what this offseason will look like after yet another lackluster early exit.

10. Vancouver Canucks v. Nashville Predators

This series could have gone either way. The Canucks went in as the less-experienced favorites, and the Predators went in as the nothing-to-lose wild cards. This low-scoring, highly defensive series was a snooze-fest for a majority of the games until the Canucks were able to get their game going in the last five minutes to steal the win from under the Preds skates. The most engaging and truly horrifying part of this series was watching someone drink out of a dead catfish’s mouth at Bridgestone Arena.

9. Colorado Avalanche v. Winnipeg Jets

This was probably the most hyped series in the first round between two heavy-weight Central Division rivals. Game one was exciting, fast, and very high-scoring. It was worrisome that Connor Hellebuyck let in so many after a Vezina Trophy-worthy regular season, but most felt the series would go back and forth. It did not, and the Avalanche took full advantage of a team that seemed to have completely fallen apart. How will the Jets learn and grow from another disappointing Round 1 exit?

8. New York Rangers v. Carolina Hurricanes

The first semi-final series on this list and a very disappointing one at that. This was hyped to be a great series between two cup contenders, and it turned into the Rangers once again almost walking through to the next round. Who would have guessed the Hurricanes would crumble in the playoffs once again? The most exciting games were the last three games, where the series became competitive. Game 6 was a rollercoaster, and the most fitting storybook ending to the series and season for the Canes.

7. Florida Panthers v. Tampa Bay Lightning

This was our third time getting to experience a much-anticipated battle of Florida. The expectations were on the Panthers to take their first series win against the Lightning, but the Bolts gave a solid fight knowing this could be the end of an era. The return of Mikhail Sergachev to the Lightning’s lineup was an incredible story, but this felt less like a rivalry battle and more like a passing of the torch in the Florida hockey market. Can the state of Florida get its fifth consecutive Stanley Cup finals appearance and third championship this decade?

6. Dallas Stars v. Vegas Golden Knights

This rematch between last year’s Western Conference Final was one to get excited for. Vegas rolled into this season almost completely intact after hoisting Lord Stanley last June with high hopes the same crew could get it done again, Dallas came in with revenge on their minds. This back-and-forth series was extremely fun to tune into. These players brought the drama night to night, culminating in an exciting and close Game 7, where Radek Faksa got an unexpected game-winning goal for the Stars.

5. Dallas Stars v. Colorado Avalanche

Another exciting matchup between two potential conders in the second round. This series was essentially a mirror image of Colorado’s first round, although they were the ones on the losing end this time around. While the games felt tilted for Dallas, the off-ice drama that surrounded the series drew fans in. An unfortunate repeat of last year’s drama, plus injuries and illnesses, left a true cup contender struggling to find any success since their 2022 victory. This series left me excited to see the future for both teams.

4. Carolina Hurricanes v. New York Islanders

The very first series to start this year’s playoffs was a blast. The Hurricanes were clear favorites heading into the series, but the Islanders weren’t going down without a proper fight. Every game was competitive and exciting to tune into, and the fans in both barns made the games even more fun to watch. If it weren’t for a few unlucky bounces, who knows how much longer this series could have gone?

3. Edmonton Oilers v. Vancouver Canucks

This was the closest series in this year’s playoffs so far. An all-Canadian Semi-Finals matchup was more than exciting to tune into. The Oilers finding the depth they needed and the Canucks being able to storm back in multiple games while running with new star rookie goaltender, Arturs Silovs, made for excellent drama to follow. The Canucks pushed their opponents to the brink and didn’t have the experience to finish them out. The Oilers being able to dominate games 6 and 7 showed their commitment and determination this year they didn’t have before.

2. Florida Panthers v. Boston Bruins

This rematch series was the one everyone was excited to see. Last year, the Bruins broke a record for the all-time best regular season and faced off against a lowly wild-card team that should have crumbled to the Bruins, and that almost happened. The Panthers got the game going, reversing their fate, and sprinted all the way to the cup finals. This year was more evenly matched and bound to be an exciting back-and-forth series. The Cats outplayed the Bruins, but incredible goaltending by Jeremy Swayman kept the series going. While the Bruins couldn’t get their revenge, this series was one of the most exciting to tune into.

  1. Boston Bruins v. Toronto Maple Leafs

Of course this series is number one, how could it not be? The drama started game one with Maple Leafs star, William Nylander, out of the lineup and did not stop each and every game. Who would start in net for the Bruins, what was wrong with both Nylander and Auston Matthews, why can’t the Maple Leafs find any playoff success? The drama and chaos of this series on and off ice never ended and was electric to witness. The Game 7 OT winner being David Pastrňák was the perfect storybook ending to this wild first-round series.

We are down to our last three series, and all are set to be electric. This has already been an incredibly fun playoff, and there are sure to be more heartbreaks, celebrations, and hopefully plenty more drama. Will the Panthers bring the cup home for the first time in their history, or will Dallas, Edmonton, or New York be able to bring Lord Stanley home for the first time in over two decades The stories are set and it is going to be exciting to see which storyline we get to witness.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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