NHL: Predicting the Eastern Conference Playoff Representatives
The NHL season is getting close to the postseason. Currently, there are teams fighting for a playoff spot while others are starting to clinch. All these teams are chasing one goal, the Stanley Cup. The teams that are trying to find a spot in the playoffs cannot afford to lose games. Who is the favorite right now to win the Cup? Today I am going to give you my predictions for the Eastern Conference.
The Capitals are the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They currently have a 4-point lead on the New York Islanders. The Capitals have been strong all year. They have one of the best players in the world in Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin is once again on the verge of scoring 50-goals. This has helped put the Capitals right back where they were a year ago. A shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
The Islanders have to be a pleasant surprise in the NHL this season. Since hiring Barry Trotz as their head coach, it has been a good turn around. The Islanders are one of the best defensive teams in the league. The experts say that defense wins championships. The Islanders could be a team that might surprise us all. If they play the way they have been, look for them to keep the high scoring teams at bay. They are second in the division.
The Penguins are currently in third place in the division. They sit 6 points behind first-place Washington. They have the Carolina Hurricanes nipping at their heels. The Pens still have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They are still a force and up till last year the thorn in the side of the Capitals. We will have to see how far they go in the playoffs.
The Lightning has been the best team all season. At times they look like they can’t be beaten. The question is do they have flaws? There is maybe one minor one in giving up leads. In some games, they have been up by multiple goals only then to let their opponents come from behind. They have recently fixed this and look like the shore favorite to win the Stanley Cup. They, of course, will play the second wild card team in the first round.
The Bruins have been the one team that has beaten the Lightning recently. The Bruins use their strength to slow down their opponent’s speed. They always seem to be in or around the playoffs. This might be the one team that could derail the Lightning. They are second behind the Lightning. The only way the Bruins could overtake the Lightning is for them to lose many of their remaining games. This might be one the last times you see them because age is catching up to them.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are a young team. They are heading in the right direction. The Leafs stand 3rd in the division. The Leafs are trying to break the streak of Canadian teams winning the cup. The last team to do it was the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. Like the Islanders look for them to be a surprise.
Wild Card Teams:
The Hurricanes are right where they need to be. In fact, they might finish third in the division. Currently, they sit only 2-points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. Like the Islanders, they have been a surprise team in the NHL. They are in a position now to play the 2 seed in the first round. Look for them to give the Capitals fits and maybe just maybe pull off an upset.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets currently sit in the final playoff spot. That means that would play the heavy favored Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. They only sit 2-points from the first wild-card spot. The Blue Jackets are a tough team. As the season ends let’s see where they finish.
Outsiders: Buffalo Sabers and Montreal Canadiens
Who do you see making the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs? Leave a comment below.
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