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NHL playoffs start with upset-filled first round, leaving race for Stanley Cup wide open

NHL playoffs start with upset-filled first round, leaving race for Stanley Cup wide open

Barry Trotz knows better than most the razor-thin difference between agony and jubilation.

A year ago, his Washington Capitals were down 2-0 in their first-round series against Columbus and tied late in the third period of Game 3 when Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin's shot clanked off the post.

Had it gone in, the Blue Jackets might've swept, but instead the Capitals won in double overtime and went on to capture the Stanley Cup.

So when Trotz in this first round sees the major penalty that cost Vegas Game 7 against San Jose or the mistake that helped Carolina eliminate his old team in D.C., the New York Islanders coach figures, well, that's playoff hockey .

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