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Article posted on Wednesday 11 April - 03:11 EDT
It just wouldn't be the Stanley Cup playoffs without some intriguing storylines to make it more compelling, and this spring is no exception. The Nashville Predators look to win their first Cup, the Pittsburgh Penguins seek their third straight title, and the surprising Vegas Golden Knights look to be the inaugural first-year expansion team to win it all. And what should we make of the perennially-contending Washington Capitals?
There's always an intriguing sub plot whenever the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars clash. From 1967-93, the Stars performed as the Minnesota North Stars, reaching the Stanley Cup final in 1981 and 1991, until abandoning the State of Hockey for the Big D, where they won the Stanley Cup in 1999. But there's a lingering bitterness among Minnesotans that they were forsaken for a non-traditional hockey market.
Not all that long ago, the talk around the NHL was that the Boston Bruins were the hottest team in the league when they collected points in 18 straight games from Dec. 16-Jan. 25. Lately, though, it's the Pittsburgh Penguins who have ascended to the mantle of the team that is bringing the heat. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions are 17-6-1 since Jangiroux. 1.
Article posted on Saturday 17 February
In a free fall out of playoff contention, the Chicago Blackhawks have lost eight games in a row, and things don't figure to get any easier for the Hawks with the Washington Capitals in town. The Caps have won three straight from the Blackhawks by a combined score of 15-4. They've also taken seven of their eight seven meetings from Chicago, and two of the last three at Chicago.
To win a championship, your best players must be your best players. That certainly was the case for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel combined for eight points.
The Nashville Predators overcame being an eight seed, they've overcome the loss of No. 1 center Ryan Johansen but following their loss to Pittsburgh in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, for the first time they must overcome a series deficit.
The Nashville Predators will be playing in their first Stanley Cup final. The same was true of the San Jose Sharks in last spring's final. Pittsburgh won that one and the Penguins will look to repeat against the Preds.
They say that history repeats itself, though that hasn't been that case for quite some time in terms of the Stanley Cup. There hasn't been a repeat champion in nearly 20 years, but that will change this spring.
In 2012, the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings got on a roll in the NHL playoffs and just kept going all the way to a Stanley Cup title. Are the Nashville Predators poised to do likewise?
The Ottawa Senators have never won a Game 7 in their playoff history. The Pittsburgh Penguins have never won a Game 7 of a playoff series at home after after losing Game 6 on the road. Something has to give.