Stanley Cup Playoffs

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Jacob Sloan, Reporter

The NHL playoffs are a 4 round playoff series consisting of 16 teams with 4 from each division of play. They will all compete for one of the oldest trophies in sports history, the Stanley Cup. More commonly considered by fans as “Lord Stanley”.  

It is common knowledge that the NHL playoffs are like a second season and each game is filled with tons of emotion, grit, and hard physical play on the ice every shift of the game. This year is a tough year because so many talented, young, and tough teams have made the post season unlike past years where it might have been easy to predict a first-round matchup based on previous matchups. 

 Many are looking forward to seeing if the Florida Panthers can win the playoff series this year, since they have not since 1996. The Panthers also had a record-breaking season winning almost 60 games out of 82. The Panthers are set to play the 2018 cup champions, the Washington Capitals, in the first round, although Washington has been making a push to third place in the metro division so that they might play the New York Rangers instead of Florida.  

Teams like Colorado, Edmonton, and Toronto are in hot positions because in recent years, these good teams have either had heart break in the first round or have lost in the conference final and are looking to make it to the cup final this season.  

The Pittsburgh penguins are considered a cup or bust team this year with an aging Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin reaching the final years of their careers. The Penguins are set to play the Rangers in the first round. I see this series lasting 5 or 6 games. Neither team is currently playing their best hockey right now, but Pittsburgh has some goaltending issues. Goaltender Jarry is currently out and not sure if he will make it back for the first round and Desmith is struggling.” Said Mr. Schmitt, a Math teacher at Hidden Valley.  

Similarly, to the Penguins and Capitals, the Leafs are aging and if a cup is not won, players might want to leave to get a better opportunity to win. “Older does not always mean better especially when you get into the playoffs.  You will always have that ‘Cinderella Team’ that is full of rookies that breaks the mold and has plenty of energy… However, there is no getting around experience and what the grind of the playoffs is like. I like veteran teams but watch out for the young ones!” said Mr. Jablonski, administrator at Hidden Valley.  

Mr. Jablonski continued ” Goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky of Tampa Bay is the odds-on favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy… Not sure who else is contending but he is surprisingly good and was the previous winner from last season.” Powerhouse teams have been an important thing this season with teams like Edmonton, Toronto, Colorado, and Florida all atop their divisions. “I like Florida or Colorado to make it to the final. Both teams are big, strong, and extremely fast. It would make for a great Stanley Cup final,” He continued. It is debated which is the better conference, east or west. “The East is still stronger top to bottom, but the west’s top teams are strong. The east has all 8 of its playoff teams with over 100 points,” said Mr. Schmitt. 

The 2022 playoffs will be electrifying like always. No matter who makes the Finals, whether it is a match up like Florida and Colorado, or Edmonton and Toronto, anything would be a dream come true to both franchises fans as neither team has made it to the finals in years.