SCORESHEET/Portland Timbers on top of MLS; Timbers 2 in USL? Not so much

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Nino Niederreiter, with Portland Winterhawks in 2011The Stanley Cup playoffs begin this week, and this year citizens of Canada can partake in the fun. After none of the Canadian franchises made the playoffs in 2016, five are in the mix: Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary.

None are favored to hoist the Cup. The Chicago Blackhawks (4-to-1 odds) and Washington Capitals (9-to-2) are the favorites in Vegas. Montreal probably has the clearest path of Canada's entries, since the Canadiens would not meet East favorites Washington or Pittsburgh until the conference finals.

First-round pairings in the West: Chicago vs. Nashville, Anaheim vs. Calgary, Edmonton vs. San Jose, Minnesota vs. St. Louis.

Eastern Conference pairings: Washington vs. Toronto; Pittsburgh vs. Columbus, Montreal vs. New York Rangers, Ottawa vs. Boston.

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