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2013 NHL Playoff Ticket Preview

Published Apr 29, 2013 / by Keith Hanson

The shortened 2012-2013 NHL regular season has now come to a close, and after a grueling 48 games in 99 days, 16 teams remain to battle it out for one of the most coveted prizes in all of sports. Lord Stanley's Cup will finally be hoisted in June after the Eastern and the Western Conference meet for the first and only time this season. If the crazy regular season was any indication of the excitement to come in the playoffs, players and fans are in for an incredible postseason (something the NHL could certainly benefit from coming off a 3 month lockout).

Story lines are abundant for the upcoming playoffs, including the first appearance of all Original 6 teams since 1996. Both New York teams are in, Sydney Crosby is a question mark, Los Angeles looks to repeat, and the Blackhawks hope to close out an impressive season with a 2nd Stanley Cup in the last 4 years. Buckle up for all the excitement of playoff hockey as we preview the first round matchups and highlight what to watch for as 16 teams compete to hoist the historic Stanley Cup as NHL Champions.

Maple Leafs Take the Top Spot in Average Ticket Price

This postseason will be the first for the Maple Leafs since 2004, and with an average ticket price of $550 for the first Leafs home playoff game at the Air Canada Centre, it certainly seems that fans are excited to see the drought come to an end.

The chart below takes a look at the average ticket prices of the first home game for each of the 16 playoff teams. We compared ticket prices (on the vertical axis) against point performance in the regular season (horizontal axis) to give insight as to what truly drives ticket demand in the NHL (a high performing team or a devoted fan market?). Also included on the chart is the availability of tickets on the secondary market, as represented by the size of the bubble for each team (the larger the bubble, the more tickets currently available).

Playoff Ticket Prices

  • The Blackhawks and Penguins had far better seasons than some of the teams with the most expensive tickets (Maple Leafs, Kings, Rangers)
  • Canada teams are seeing some of the most scarce inventory for home games (no surprise here considering Canada is the birthplace of hockey and demand will undoubtedly be high, but still interesting to see this visual confirmation)
  • The Ducks finished the regular season with the 3rd most points, but have the the lowest average ticket price for the first home playoff game. A great team at a bargain price!

Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks (#1) vs. Minnesota Wild (#8)

The Blackhawks are coming off a season in which they shattered an NHL record by earning a point in 24 consecutive games to start the season. The strong first half of the season propelled the Hawks to the top spot in the NHL points standings and earned the franchise its first presidents trophy since 1991. Now the Hawks are looking to be the first team to win both the Presidents Trophy and Stanley Cup in the same season since the Detroit Red Wings (2002, 2008). The Wild will look to try and slow the league leading Hawks, but have closed the season on a slumping trend, almost losing their postseason spot to Columbus. Minnesota will need to have better performances from Niklas Backstrom if they hope to stay with the NHL's top team.

Blackhawks Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $97 (Tuesday, April 30th 7:00pm)

Wild Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $74 (Sunday, May 5th 2:00pm)

Anaheim Ducks (#2) vs. Detroit Red Wings (#7)

The Ducks put together an incredibly quiet but impressive season, mostly thanks to all the attention directed at Chicago following their record breaking start. With a very solid core lead by Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and veteran superstar Teemu Selanne, this is a team to keep an eye on in the postseason. A first round matchup with the always dangerous Detroit Red Wings should make for an amazing series to watch as the Red Wings will be making their 22nd consecutive trip to the Playoffs (a remarkable streak deserving of respect in any professional sport). This series is looking to be one of the most affordable as well, with get-in prices less than $40 in both Anaheim and Detroit.

Ducks Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $23 (Tuesday, April 30th 7:30pm)

Red Wings Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $36 (Saturday, May 4th 7:30pm)

Vancouver Canucks (#3) vs. San Jose Sharks (#6)

The Canucks are returning their solid core of players anchored as always by the Sedin twins. The decision to give Corey Schneider the starting spot in net has been paying dividends and helped earn the Canucks the 3rd spot in the Western Conference standings. A first round match up against the San Jose Sharks makes for a Pacific division battle rich in rivalry. Age is beginning to catch up with Sharks captain Joe Thornton, and the team will need to have great output from goaltender Antti Niemi to advance to the later rounds of the playoffs.

Canucks Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $87 (Wednesday, May 1st 7:30pm)

Sharks Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $69 (Sunday, May 5th 7:00pm)

St. Louis Blues (#4) vs. Los Angeles Kings (#5)

The Blues will face off against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Kings in a rematch of the second round from the 2012 playoffs. St. Louis made some solid additions at the trade deadline in hopes of moving deeper into playoffs, but the Kings have won the last 8 meetings between these two teams and are hungry to defend their Stanley Cup title.

Blues Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $37 (Tuesday, April 30th 7:00pm)

Kings Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $55 (Saturday, May 4th 7:00pm)

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh Penguins (#1) vs. New York Islanders (#8)

The Penguins nearly took the Blackhawks down to the wire in the race for the regular season points title this year. The loss of Sydney Crosby to a broken jaw a month ago has left them without one of the game's best players, but the team managed to put up a solid 8-4 record in the last 12 games without Sid the Kid. The Penguins made some huge trade deadline moves, acquiring Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow, and Doug Murray, and are clearly putting all their resources towards winning Lord Stanley's Cup this post season. Crosby was reported to have been skating with the team on Monday, but the question still remains of when (or if) he will return in the playoffs. The New York Islanders get the pleasure of the difficult first round series against the Pens, and will hope to ride the skills of young stars such as John Tavares to try and remain competitive. It will be a great post season for New York hockey fans as both their teams made this year's playoff race.

Penguins Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $96 (Wednesday, May 1st 7:30pm)

Islanders Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $88 (Sunday, May 5th 12:00pm)

Montreal Canadiens (#2) vs. Ottawa Senators (#7)

A short two hour drive separates Montreal from Ottawa, ensuring that tickets for this series will be in extremely high demand. Coming off a last place finish in the Eastern Conference standings in 2011-2012, the Canadiens have put together a great rebound season and look to continue their rags to riches success story against the rival Senators in their first round playoff series. Ottawa is finally getting some of their top players back to health following injuries (Goalie Craig Anderson, reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson) but will have to start the post season campaign without star veteran Jason Spezza. This is sure to be a gritty series full of intense competition, both on the ice and in the stands.

Canadiens Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $122 (Thurday, May 2nd 7:00pm)

Senators Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $100 (Sunday, May 5th 7:00pm)

Washington Capitals (#3) vs. New York Rangers (#6)

With an usual slow start from Alexander Ovechkin to start the season, the Capitals were sluggish out of the gate but have been hotter than any other team in the NHL coming down the stretch. Taking 17 points out of a possible 20 during the last 10 games of the season, the Caps look to stay on the hot streak against a New York Ranger team which is solid from top to bottom. The addition of Rick Nash was a huge move for New York in the off-season and the team is hopeful the superstar can help them advance in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Capitals Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $63 (Thurday, May 2nd 7:30pm)

Rangers Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $128 (Monday, May 6th 7:30pm)

Boston Bruins (#4) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (#5)

We may have saved the best for last with the first round matchup between the Bruins and the Maple Leafs. This postseason marks the first time since 1996 that all of the Original 6 teams have made the playoffs, and here is where you will find the only first round meeting between 2 of the 6. This intense rivalry will only get more heated as the teams look to secure their spot in the next round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. For the Leafs, it will be their first visit to the playoffs in 9 seasons, and will have to get solid performances from their inexperienced young players if they have any hopes of advancing forward. The Bruins were Stanley Cup Champions just two years ago and have maintained a majority of the core that led them to that Championship run. This is sure to be one of the most physical matchups in the first round, and definitely not something to be missed. Tickets in Toronto will be tough to come by and are already fetching a league high price just for getting in the door, which will set you back $202 at the Air Canada Centre!

Bruins Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $88 (Wednesday, May 1st 7:00pm)

Maple Leafs Playoff Tickets for the first home game start at $202 (Monday, May 6th 7:00pm)

Drop the Puck!

Playoff hockey is less than 24 hours away, marking the beginning of the quest for the Cup and the right to call your team NHL Champions! For more information on tickets, seating options, tips, reviews, photos, and interactive seating charts, be sure to check out our NHL Seating Guides and Interactive Seating Charts.

Also, be sure to share your own seating tips, venue recommendations, and in-seat photos with your fellow fans by sharing a Seat Review!