WHO WILL WIN THE WEST
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The Sharks. Ever since their series win over Vegas I’ve had them as my favourite to win the cup. Colorado gave them a good fight and St.Louis has been playing with a lot of momentum as of late but I’ve given San Jose the edge since that miraculous Game 7 win in round one. Now with their captain Joel Pavelski is back in the line up and lighting a spark I don’t know what stops them.
They have the top two leading scorers in the playoffs so far with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl and as a team have had one of the higher powered offences in the postseason so far.
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These playoffs have hardly made any sense. That’s why we love the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the West, I’m going to pick the Blues. They seem to be a team of destiny and if Jordan ‘Win-ington’ keeps up this level of play, then they’ll be fine. No disrespect to the Sharks, who are a wildly deep and dangerous team, but I just have a feeling about the Blues.
They’re also getting contributions from lower in their lineup, which is massive. If Tarasenko, Schenn, and Schwartz stay hot and their depth players continue to come through, the Blues can make the Stanley Cup Final.
The wild, wild, west as they call it. Much like the cowboy I was named after, I’m going to shoot from the hip and say the San Jose Sharks.
This is their second west final in four seasons and most of the core remains in-tact from the cup final loss to Pittsburgh.
I love the fire power that San Jose possesses; Couture, Hertl, Meier, Pavelski, Kane, the list goes on. It’s not only the offence though, Burns has been the best defensemen in these playoffs and even Karlsson on one ankle can dazzle you from shift to shift. Martin Jones is the achilles heel of this team and will need to continue to build off a “good” performance against Colorado in order to move on.
WHO WILL WIN THE EAST
Boston. We saw them dominate in Game 1 with the 5-2 win. Carolina has been a great cinderella stories this year making it all the way to Eastern Conference Final. The Bunch of Jerks has gone on a solid run but I don’t see it being enough to make it past the Bruins. Whether it be Brad Marchand and his postseason leading 15 points, or the amazing performances from Tuukka Rask, Boston just looks unstoppable right now.
And the latter is what I think makes them the best team in the playoffs right now. You need stellar goaltending to truly have a chance at the Cup and Boston has been getting that with Rask. I give them the edge over Carolina.
In the East, my pick was the Hurricanes and I’ll stick with them, but they blew a massive chance in game one. Petr Mrazek was nearly unbeatable through 40 minutes and the Bruins were missing Charlie McAvoy and didn’t have Chara for a chunk of the game. Add on the lead heading into the third and that opening game loss stings even more.
I like the Hurricanes defensive core and if Mrazek can return to form, I still like the Canes.
Somebody in Carolina better call an apiaries because the killer B’s are going to swarm.
In round 1 people said “can Rask out-duel Anderson?” He did. In round 2 they said “Can he out-duel Bobrovsky?” He did. Now when people look across and see Mrazek in net, I don’t think they write the same narrative.
Special teams will also play a huge part in the series as we saw in game one. Carolina comes into the season with worst PP of the remaining teams at 10.5% and is tied with St.Louis for the worst PK at 75%. Boston on the flip side has the most lethal PP of any postseason team with 28.6% and the best PK hovering at 84.8%.
The Hurricanes are going to need a lot of puck luck to get past a veteran Bruins squad that captured 1-0 series lead, without their best defenseman.
WHO’S WINNING IT ALL
San Jose. See answer to question one. I feel like the Sharks are riding a wave right now and have the perfect mix of of veterans and young stars who can contribute. As proven in the Game 7 of the semis with Joonas Donskoi coming up with the massive goal, this team is full of players who can land on the score sheet.
Goaltending has been shaky for them at times but I think it’s something they can overcome. If they are to face Boston in the Cup Final it will be tough going up against Tuukka Rask but I still give the edge to the Sharks.
My Stanley Cup winner will be the St. Louis Blues! Back in December in one of our Friday Three’s I called them bounceback team to watch. Well, look at them now! The story would be incredible for so many reasons. Patrick Maroon returning to his hometown, rookie goalie Jordan Binnington, and the fact they were dead last in the league on January 3rd. In a postseason that’s barely made any sense, the Blues winning the Cup seems perfect.
Your 2018-19 Stanley Cup winner is … The Boston Bruins.
Boston has the best goaltending left, a strong top 6 and more than capable D corps. The Bruins will lean heavily on the top line of Marchand – Bergeron – Pasternk as well as McAvoy off the backend.
Out of the remaining teams they have highest goal differential at 12, the best GAA, 2.08 and as I mentioned before the best special teams. The only question mark is how much gas does Chara have left in the tank, at times he as been a liability defensively off the rush. The game passes all eventually but can he lead this Bruins squad to another cup victory?
Sorry Jumbo Joe, you deserve a ring more than anyone but like every other year for San Jose “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”