First Round Playoff Series In The Eastern Conference Locked In

For some time now, the NHL has received backlash for the current playoff format, as division rivals continue to be pitted against each other year after year, and for the second straight season, we've got an Atlantic Division showdown locked in.

After the Tampa Bay Lightning locked themselves into a playoff spot, looking for their fourth straight Eastern Conference Championship, they will now once again go to battle with the Toronto Maple Leafs, looking to end their playoff series win drought that dates all the way back to 2004. 

With two of the top offensive units in the league, as well as some stellar goaltending, this one should be a fantastic battle once more, and with so much on the line, this means everything to both of these storied franchises. 

Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports