The most exciting playoffs in all of sports gets underway this week. The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is a grueling two and a half month grind that is as much a war of attrition as it is about team skill.

Every year, the NHL playoffs is filled with suspense and surprises as every team has a legitimate shot to win the cup. A hot goalie and some timely scoring can see a team that just managed to squeak into the playoffs end up being the ones to raise the cup in the end. Just ask the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.

It all begins in round one as teams will play through their respective divisions en route to the conference finals.

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs -- A rematch of an amazing 7 game series several seasons ago, the Maple Leafs will be out for revenge this time around. The Bruins managed to score three goals in the final ten minutes of Game 7 to send the game to overtime. Once there, Patrice Bergeron lit the lamp to end Toronto's season.

Don't expect the Bruins to just lay down, though, as the young team has surpassed all expectations this year.

Prediction: Bruins in 6

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils -- Despite winning all three match-ups this season, New Jersey is rightfully the underdog here. The battle between MVP candidates Taylor Hall and Nikita Kucherov will go a long way to deciding who wins this series.

Prediction: Tampa Bay in 7

Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets -- As Washington won the Metropolitan division once again this year, they face their hardest first round opponent yet in Columbus. Coach John Tortorella has his team primed for playoff hockey as they have been one of the hottest teams in the league over the last month.

Prediction: Columbus in 6

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers -- Expect nothing short of fireworks whenever the two Pennsylvania rivals meet in the playoffs. Sidney Crosby has his sights on a third straight Stanley Cup, a feat unmatched since the early 1980's Islanders. The Flyers, however, have evolved from a preseason pick to finish dead last to one of the scariest teams to play against in the league.

The future is now in Philadelphia.

Prediction: Philadelphia in 5

Western Conference

Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche -- Colorado has been an inspiring story this season. Trading away star Matt Duchene to begin the year should've meant that the playoffs weren't in their future. No one told them, though, as young star Nathan MacKinnon turned in an MVP performance of his own to lead the club. Unfortunately, the Cinderella season is likely to end at the hands of the NHL's current top team.

Prediction: Nashville in 5

Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild -- Many people would rather see this match-up deciding the Western Conference, rather than in the first round. Either way, the winner here may likely end up being that representative in the Cup Finals.

It took years for both of these teams to reach their full potential and should be the marquee match-up in the first round.

Prediction: Winnipeg in 7

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings -- The most successful inaugural season in any sport has Vegas not only in the playoffs, but with home ice advantage. It'll be interesting to see how the young and inexperienced squad adapts to playoff hockey, especially against a hardened veteran group like Los Angeles. The regular season was amazing, but playoff hockey might only be making a brief stop in Vegas this year.

Prediction: Los Angeles in 7

San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks -- Time is running out for "Jumbo" Joe Thornton to win a cup. That sense of urgency was on full display two years ago as he willed his team to the Cup Finals. Expect one more big run from Joe and the Sharks as he tries to go out a Cup champion.

Predictions: San Jose in 6