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“Our father who art in the Joe. Hockey be thy name. Thy will be done. The cup will be won. On ice, as well as in the stands. Give us this day our hockey sticks. And forgive us our penalties as we forgive those who cross-check against us Lead us not into elimination. But deliver us to victory. In the name of the fans, Lord Stanley, and in the name of the Wings. Amen”
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2015 Preview and First Round Predictions
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2015 Preview and First Round Predictions
As the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs come under
way, it’s interesting to see how the dynamic of the league can change. The pressure in the league tends to heat up and a lot more of an intense game goes underway. Many
news outlets are reporting the predictions of many NHL pundits, while having
more intensive coverage of each game. This is because as of right now, every
game for every team can make a huge difference on the direction of who can be
our 2015 Stanley Cup Champion. I’m hoping that in two months from now I’ll be
able to stand on Broadway in New York City watching 2014-15 Rangers Captain Ryan McDonaugh hold up the
Stanley Cup. After taking a look at
Sports Illustrated, NHL.com, and ESPN, I was able to get an idea of how many sports writers in the league felt about the possible winners of the first round.
Ottawa Senators vs.
Illustrated: OTT: ¾ MTL: ¼
NHL.com: OTT: 9/15 MTL:
ESPN: OTT: 6/13 MTL: 7/13
Ottawa Senators in 7
With last night’s victory
for the Canadiens, I still feel that Ottawa has the potential to slowly climb to
the top. With so many young players ready to come in and take on all-star level
goalie Carey Price, it will be interesting to where this series may take us.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs.
Detroit Red Wings
Sports Illustrated: TBL:
4/4 DET: 0/4
NHL.com: TBL: 15/15 DET:
ESPN: TBL: 13/13 DET:
Tampa Bay Lightning in 5
When Steven Stamkos ready
to go for the Lightning, they are sure to come in as a strong contender for
these 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Red
Wings are unfortunately not that strong of a team this year, which is why almost
every outlet unanimously has the Lightning going on to the next round.
New York Rangers vs.
Sports Illustrated: NYR:
4/4 PIT: 0/4
NHL.com: NYR: 14/15 PIT:
ESPN: NYR: 13/13 PIT:
Rangers in 5
With the Rangers having
the best record in the NHL, they are coming in strong for the playoffs.
Pittsburgh is a bit weak on the defensive side and will likely be crushed in a
fast first-round series. The Rangers are ready to take home the cup this year.
Washington Capitals vs.
New York Islanders
Sports Illustrated: WSH:
¾ NYI: ¼
NHL.com: WSH: 12/15 NYI:
ESPN: WSH: 11/13 NYI:
Capitals in seven
With the Islanders
struggling during the end of the season, they have in like a lion and out like
a lamb. With strong goaltending on both teams, and hungry all-stars like
Ovechkin and Tavares looking to bring their respective teams a cup, we can’t be too sure on how this series might play out.
St. Louis Blues vs.
Sports Illustrated: STL:
0/4 MIN: 4/4
NHL.com: STL: 9/15 MIN:
ESPN: STL: 12/13 MIN:
Blues in 6
When we get a chance to
take a look at what was predicted by the news outlets, I found it interesting
that the people at Sports Illustrated had some very different opinions than the others. The
Blues have had a great year with Vladimer Tarasenko and I feel that they will
find themselves victorious in this series.
Anaheim Ducks vs.
Sports Illustrated: ANA:
¾ WPJ: ¼
NHL.com: 11/15 WPG: 4/15
ESPN: ANA: 8/13 WPG: 5/13
Personal Prediction: Jets
With the Jets finally
finding themselves as a contender, they are taking on one of the strongest teams
in the West. Winnipeg has some tough players in which I feel they will be able
to squeeze themselves into many victories against the strong contender that
Chicago Blackhawks vs.
Sports Illustrated: CHI:
4/4 NSH: 0/4
NHL.com: 13/15 NSH: 2/15
ESPN: CHI: 12/13 NSH:
Nashville in 7
With Patrick Kane back
from an injury, the Blackhawks will come in strong during the playoffs. Though,
I feel that they will not be able to match the Nashville Predators who are
hungry for a strong playoff run.
Vancouver Canucks vs.
Sports Illustrated: VAN:
¾ CAL: ¼
NHL.com: VAN: 7/15 CAL:
ESPN: VAN: 7/13 CAL: 6/13
Calgary in 6
This might have been the series that was a tossup for
many NHL pundits. I’m leaning towards a victory for Calgary, a team that I
personally feel might want this cup just a bit more.
We’re through four games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the series and we’ve had our fair share of highlights so far. With one team already making it through after the Ducks completed the sweep of the Jets last night, let’s look at the top goals and saves in separate categories.
Emerson Etem Dances To A Goal
This came as part of the 5-2 victory for the Ducks last night in sweeping the Winnipeg Jets. Etem tied the game by leaving two different defenders in his wake and flipping the puck casually into the top shelf where grandma hides the peanut butter.
That’s just nasty. Poor Winnipeg, those fans were so happy just to be back in the postseason. Well, there’s always next year.
Vladimir Tarasenko Dekes Dubnyk
Another goal from last night, Tarasenko is known throughout the league for his dangling ability and he showed off against the Wild in Game 4 last night. A half-breakaway for him turns into a forehand backhand move that leaves Dubnyk with no shot of getting his pads on it.
Unfortunately, there will be no more Tarasenko highlights in this postseason as Minnesota took home the 4-2 series win. The Wild continue to be one of the best stories in the league.
Patrick Sharp Spinning And Winning
This is an incredible display of skill both to be able to snipe the top corner from in close, but also skating ability as he’s able to execute that spin in tight quarters in front of the crease before burying the puck.
Another postseason, another Blackhawks team primed to make a Stanley Cup appearance. These guys are ridiculous. They’ll get red-hot goalie Devan Dubnyk and the Wild in Round 2 though.
Frederik Andersen Robs Andrew Ladd
I don’t mean to continue to pick on the Jets here, but this save by Andersen is a big reason why they’re going to be making an early trip to the golf course this spring. The game was tied at 4-4 in Game 2 of the series and the Ducks goalie absolutely denied access to Jets F Bryan Little who had a wide open net with 1:08 left in regulation and the Jets on the power play.
Carey Price Stops Zibanejad From Highlight Reel Finish
That honor belongs to Carey Price who made a great pad save on a shot from Zibanejad after he decked through three different defenseman. It’s not as flashy as Andersen’s save, but it’s more impressive because of his quick ration and recovery. Watch it and see how Price is actually trying to poke the puck off the stick of the Sens forward only to find it out of reach and then have to quickly stick of the right pad as he’s sliding away from that side of the net.
The Senators did get two wins against Price and the Canadiens, but Montreal closed them out in Game 6. Now they await the winner of the Detroit Tampa Bay series. Speaking of which…
Petr Mrazek Absurd Stick Save
I was trying to find the right adjective to use for Mrazek’s stop. Absurd was the word that I kept repeating to myself over and over again while watching this. If you didn’t see it live, prepare yourself. If you did, then just bask in the glow of how ridiculous this save is. Also, further evidence of how unbelievable this was, the announcer thinks it’s a goal at first.
Unfortunately, it didn’t help his team much because Tampa Bay still struck for 5 goals in a 5-2 win to force Game 7. Not a bold prediction, but nothing will beat this save in the playoffs.
The magic will continue throughout the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup and we’ll be watching for more amazing goals and unreal saves.