Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Puck Drops Here 4.12.16: Stanley Cup Preview #StanleyCupPlayoffs

By Chris Lulovics, @CLulovics

After an exciting 2015-2016 NHL regular season, the NHL playoffs are approaching and this edition will preview the first round match ups.


Washington Capitals (M1) vs Philadelphia Flyers (WC2)

The Capitals won the Presidents Trophy with 120 points and were almost unstoppable all season. Will this year finally be the year that Alexander Ovechkin breaks the "curse" and carry his team to the Finals or will the Capitals go home early? As for the Flyers they will prove to be a tough first round match-up as they are playoff tested and can beat any team with their gritty no nonsense physical style of play. Prediction Washington 4-2.

Florida Panthers (A1) vs New York Islanders (WC1)

Florida is lead by Jaromir Jagr. I know I'm going to get some flack for saying that but tell me in what other sport can a 44 year old help his team the way he has this season? Can Jagr make it back to the Finals? Just wait and see.  The Islanders are another gritty team lead by Captain John Tavares. New York playing in their new home hopes to bring some of the old magic from their old arena to their new one this postseason. Prediction New York 4-3

Tampa Bay Lightning (A2) vs Detroit Red Wings (A3)

A couple of weeks ago this match-up might of been a no brainier, but after blood clots to Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos maybe just possibly this is no longer the case. Questions amount for the Lightning. Can they get by without their Captain or will Detroit who is playing in the postseason for an unheard of 25th consecutive year be able to continue their playoff expertise? Detroit is a playoff tested team but with a new coach at the helm can they help in the process of going deep into the playoffs or be out early? Prediction Tampa Bay 4-3

Pittsburgh Penguins (M2) vs New York Rangers (M3)

This is the match-up I am looking forward to the most in the first round of the Eastern Conference. A couple of weeks ago Pittsburgh was fighting for a wild card and then out of nowhere caught fire and climb the standings to secure the second seed in the Metropolitan Division. There's no denying the ability of Sidney Crosby and what he has accomplished during his career. But the question is which Fleury will show up. Will the one who is really good during the regular season show up or will it be the one that shows up in the playoffs the past couple of years? Either way the Penguins have offensive fire power that can blow past other teams but will it be enough this year? New York on the other hand is another playoff tested team who like Pittsburgh have proven that they can win and go deep into the playoffs. Prediction New York 4-3 


Dallas Stars (C1) vs Minnesota Wild (WC2)

Dallas who had the most points in the Western Conference will play Minnesota. If Dallas can play their type of game they shouldn't have too much to worry about. But making the playoffs in the NHL is no easy task and Minnesota deserves to be their. Minnesota has to be able to steal either the first game or second g ame in order to have a chance in this series. Will they be able too do that or will Dallas be too much to handle for them? Prediction Dallas 4-1 

St. Louis Blues (C2) vs Chicago Blackhawks (C3)

This is the Western Conference series that I will be paying attention too. Firstly you have the Reigning Defending NHL Stanley Cup Champions in the Chicago Blackhawks going up against a Ken Hitchcock team who might very well be playing for their coaches job. St Louis who has had great regular season have faltered in the postseason the past couple of years can hopefully keep a great coach in Hitchcock if they can beat the Blackhawks. As for Chicago? What do I need to say? They can possibly be a dynasty in the NHL with another Stanley Cup Championship especially after trading away key parts of past Championship seasons in order to comply with the new salary cap. Some people said they would not be able to duplicate what they did in previous years but they shut everyone up this year. With Patrick Kane playing lights out hockey another Cup might be in the forecast and another parade for Chicago. Prediction Chicago 4-2   

Anaheim Ducks (P1) vs Nashville Predators (WC1)

Anaheim is going into these playoffs looking to make a statement that this is their year. And while yes they are playing a wild card team that is also looking to make the same statement. Nashville who acquired Ryan Johansen from Columbus earlier in the season in order to help their offense might just be able to pull off the upset in the first round. Johansen is a type of player who can take over any game and is dangerous with the puck. Nashville will have to steal one of the first two games in oder to have a chance but I think they are capable of doing so. Prediction Nashville 4-3

Los Angeles Kings (P2) vs San Jose Sharks (P3)

These two teams are no strangers to one another. To say they don't like each other would be an understatement. Yes they play in the same division. Yes they play in the same state divided by miles. So who has the advantage here? LA has been here before and has won the Cup recently. San Jose on the other hand has a lot to prove. They don't want to be one round and done. They want to prove that they are the best team in California. Can they get past LA goalie Jonathan Quick though or will the Kings experience and veteran players prove to be too much for them to handle? Prediction LA 4-2

There is the first round for you guys. Yes I probably will be wrong on some of the predictions and yes I did make a lot of series going to 7 games. You can't predict anything in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and if I could my team would be bringing the Cup home. Make sure to follow us especially the TV Listings each and every day for game times and channel updates each and every day.

No comments:

Post a Comment