Monday, May 30, 2016

The Puck Drops Here 5.30.16: 2016 Stanley Cup Final Edition #StanleyCup

By Chris Lulovics, @CLulovics

After a tremendous playoff race, two teams have emerged from the insanity that is the NHL playoffs to play for sports most prestigious trophy. Whether you call it "The Cup", "Lord Stanley's Cup", or "The Holy Grail", it doesn't matter. It is the goal of every hockey team at the start of the season in October to make it this far.

We will see from the Western Conference, making their first ever trip, will be the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks made it by beating the Los Angeles Kings in the first round 4-1. Then the Nashville Predators 4-3. And then the St. Louis Blues 4-2. After years of making the playoffs only to lose in an early round, they finally brushed that dark cloud hovering over them. San Jose is playing some of the best hockey in recent years and they easily have a chance, a really good chance by the way, of winning the whole thing.

On the other side of things, the Pittsburgh Penguins are no strangers being in this position. Sidney Crosby, love him or hate him, is one of the top players of this generation. Along with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, they definitely have the scoring whether it be from goals or assists. What could provide to be the biggest difference in the series is the play of rookie goaltender Matt Murray. Murray, who replaced veteran, Marc-Andre Fleury during an injury will become the 6th rookie goalie to start in the Finals, has been playing unlike a rookie seemingly unfazed and showing poise beyond his years. Penguins fans in recent years might be a little happy that Fleury is not playing as in recent years his play not all his fault has been the downfall of recent playoff years.  If Murray plays as he has been and can, then the Cup will be coming back to Pittsburgh.

This definitely will be a very good series as both teams have the talent and goaltending to win.  Biggest questions will be will Pittsburgh's Murray falter in the Finals or continue to play the way he has been all playoffs?  Will the Sharks lack of playoff experience this deep prove to be the deciding factor or will they continue to show that they are what everyone expected them to be and come out on top? Be sure to check out the website for game times and channels.

I have this series going 6 games, with the Penguins bringing the Cup back to Pittsburgh.  If you take a look back at the playoff preview edition, I will probably be wrong since my predictions weren't up to par.  But if I could predict everything being right I would predict the lottery numbers and win millions.

I hope you've enjoyed the articles throughout the season.  Enjoy the Finals, get ready for an amazing off season, enjoy your summer and I'll see everyone around draft time or right before the World Cup of Hockey.

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