We're well into Round 1 of the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs, and things are getting interesting. Several series are tied 2-2: Devils-Rangers, Avalanche-Kraken, Wild-Stars and Kings-Oilers. Meanwhile, the Bruins, Maple Leafs, Golden Knights and Hurricanes are all up 3-1.

Toronto's Auston Matthews and Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos dropped the gloves in their highly entertaining series. Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark got ejected in the last Bruins-Panthers game for trying to fight Matthew Tkachuk. The Devils-Rangers rivalry is finally heating up after a slow start. The Kings are out Oilersing the Oilers. The young Kraken are giving hell to the defending champions Avalanche.

It's time to overreact about everything we've seen. These overreactions will range anywhere from cold to scorching takes, so be prepared for anything.

Eastern Conference: The Atlantic Division Side of the Bracket

Boston Bruins: David Pastrnak could stand to step it up

Look, we didn't call these hot takes for nothing. The Bruins are so deep that even with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci out with upper body injuries, they've got a 3-1 series lead and the opportunity to clinch a trip to Round 2 on Wednesday.

And Pastrnak has been fine by almost anyone else's standards with two goals. But if we know him, we know he'd like to be contributing far more on the scoresheet, and if his countryman Krejci is out indefinitely, the team could use a boost from Pastrnak to close out the first round or open the second.


Florida Panthers: The first round is good enough

It's hard to have a hot take about a team that clawed itself into the playoffs and is matching up against a historically good Bruins team. Led by Matthew Tkachuk, Florida has done its best to win the mental game inside the game with chippiness. Given the circumstances, the hottest take I truly believe is a first-round exit is acceptable this year.


Tampa Bay Lightning: The dynasty is coming to a close

The Lightning have had an incredible run for the better half of the decade, and they've still sort of got it. They opened the series against Toronto with a 7-3 win, and Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Co. are still contributing and putting up points as they always do.

But Tampa's down 3-1, and it feels like the magic is with the Leafs. This isn't the first time the Lightning wouldn't advance to the second round in their dynasty run, but they aren't getting any younger.


Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto is the most enjoyable team of Round 1

Folks, they haven't gotten the monkey off their back yet, but the Leafs have a 3-1 series lead on the Lightning. For once, Toronto is having fun and letting loose on its quest to advance to Round 2, and it has paid off.

You have a 7-3 loss followed by a 7-2 win; you have Auston Matthews fighting; you have them coming back from a 4-1 deficit to win 5-4 (sound familiar?); you have general manager Kyle Dubas chirping at the crowd.

I am enjoying Leafs hockey. Now don't break our hearts.