A ‘Cuple’ of Predictions
How will the Stanley Cup playoffs pan out this year?
Logan Krupa, Staff Writer
The Stanley Cup playoffs are arguably the greatest spectacle in team sports, as no other league forces players through such an incredible gauntlet to win a championship. After 82 games, NHL teams face up to an additional 28 games that are each likely longer, and certainly more physical than those of the regular season. Predicting how the playoffs will transpire is notoriously difficult, but I will give it my best shot…
It’s not Canada’s year
It’s been known this might be the case for months (I certainly am not Nostradamus here!), but it certainly seems like no Canadian teams will make the playoffs this year for the first time since 1970. As of publication time, the Ottawa Senators are the closest Canadian team to making the playoffs, and they are a daunting nine points back of a wildcard spot after 75 games.
Jagr’s magic runs out
I feel uncomfortable making this prediction, but I think the Florida Panthers’ playoff run will be short-lived. It’s true that Jaromir Jagr is a living legend, and the Panthers might win the Atlantic Division. It would be fun to see Jagr scoring countless goals in the playoffs, with his famous hair flowing from under his helmet as Panthers fans pelt the ice with their celebratory plastic rats.
Jagr does currently lead the Panthers in scoring. However, he is also 44-years-old. Despite even his exceptional fitness, it’s difficult to conceive of Jagr maintaining his scoring pace over the playoffs at his age. If a team’s leading scorer isn’t succeeding, the rest of the team will likely follow.
The Wings stop flying
The Detroit Red Wings are synonymous with playoff hockey, qualifying for the playoffs for the past 24 seasons in a row. Despite being only one point back of a playoff spot at time of publication, I think this is the year they don’t make it, because…
The Flyers will be dark horses
If Philadelphia squeaks into the playoffs past Detroit, I have a sneaking feeling they could do some damage. With the veteran Claude Giroux leading the team in scoring, and 22-year-old Shayne Gostisbehere turning heads on the blueline, I think the Flyers might have the right mix for some playoff success, winning a couple rounds.
Stanley Cup Final prediction: Dallas Stars versus New York Rangers
Is there any more terrifying an offensive duo in the NHL than Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin? The Stars have a superb goaltending duo as well in Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen. Goaltending is so critical in the playoffs, I think that will be the key to why the Stars will represent the West in the Final.
Out of the East, the Rangers are not lacking in goaltending either. Henrik Lundqvist is “King Henrik” for a reason. And the Rangers have a lot of playoff experience on their roster. I think that experience will be key to why the Rangers will storm out of the East.
The Rangers will win the Cup
The Rangers experienced roster will prove to be too much for Dallas to handle, and my bet is they will be Stanley Cup Champions. Get ready for a ticker tape parade down Broadway!