Who the Puck is Stanley?
Chances are, you misclicked and are looking for the article on the NBA Playoffs, which can be found here. If by some miracle you are interested in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, then…welcome, o’ most unexpected reader! The 2016 tournament is shaping up to be fantastic and the first round has already provided some exhilarating ice hockey.
In the East, Tampa Bay resoundingly beat the Detroit Red Wings in five games. The Wings continue to maintain their postseason streak now with 25 consecutive appearances (tied for 3rd best all time). The Washington Capitals nearly gave up a 3-0 series lead as the bottom seed Flyers came back with two strong wins, but the Caps stuck it out for a 4-2 series win. Jonas Honick’s Pittsburgh Penguins outscored the New York Rangers 18-10 in their five game series win, which included a 5-0 shutout in the Garden. The New York Islanders (first seed wildcard) took it to the top team Florida Panthers with three overtime wins (two of them in double overtime) in an exciting 4-2 series win.
Over in the Western Conference, the Nashville Predators (a first seed wildcard team) shocked the first seed Anaheim Ducks by winning the first two games in California. Down 3-2, the Preds forced game seven where they upset Anaheim, the second time a first seed lost in the first round this season. The Dallas Stars, who had one of the best regular season records, topped the Minnesota Wild 4-2. One of the most tense series was between St. Louis and Chicago—the defending champs were down 3-1, but a double overtime win gave the Hawks momentum and they forced game seven, where the Blues rallied in the 3rd to win 3-2 and hold off a Chicago onslaught. Once again, your San Jose Sharks faced their bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Kings. At the end of the regular season, the Sharks had the worst home record in the league, and the best road record. Armed with their #roadiceadvantage, the Sharks swept the Kings at in Los Angeles, only taking one home loss to win the series in five games.
The second round promises exciting and intense games with the top seed Caps playing the late-blooming Pens and the Bolts challenging the seventh seed New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference. The Stars will face the St. Louis Blues in a first/second seed matchup and the hopeful Sharks (3rd seed) look to chomp down on the Nashville Predators.
Be sure to tune in to the quest for the Cup in an all American tournament—all Canadian teams did not make the playoffs. Hopefully this tournament will be more attractive to Americans; it is a rarity to have a Canadian-dominated sport full of American teams. Don’t let the Golden shine of the Warriors blind you from the nail-biting excitement of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.