The NHL is down to its’ final four teams. Some of have cruised into their conference finals while others have had to overcome being down 2-0 and 3-1 in series. The four teams left are the past four Stanley Cup champions. That means every roster is full of champions with crunch time experience.
For most of the post season the Penguins have played like the best team in the Eastern Conference. They have only lost three games in their first two series and have looked nearly unbeatable since making the switch to back up goalie Tomas Vokoun. The Penguins’ stars like Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang have played to expectations. This team is hungry for another Stanley Cup and for mid-season addition and six-time all-star Jarome Iginla to win his first.
The Bruins became the first time to be down three goals in the third period of a game seven to come back and win. They have adopted the town’s newfound mantra of ‘Boston Strong’. Goalie Tukka Rask has had games of 40 plus saves and players like Brad Marchand have stepped up in key games. The Bruins will push the Penguins in what is shaping up to be a great series.
Defending Their Crown
The Los Angeles Kings fell behind 2-0 to the St. Louis Blues and then flipped their switch and won four straight one goal games. They were then taken to seven games by the San Jose Sharks but again pulled through in the clutch. Goalie Jonathan Quick is rounding into the same form he played at last post-season. The Kings will try to break the Blackhawks resolve as the post-season’s best will aim to take down the regular season’s best.
Windy City Wonders
Chicago rolled past Minnesota only losing one game in overtime. They were then shell-shocked by the seventh seeded Red Wings who upset the Anaheim Ducks. The Red Wings jumped up on the Blackhawks 3-1 in their series. With their backs against the wall the Blackhawks figured out Red Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard. They ripped off three straight wins to advance and continue their record setting season.
Disappointment in Vancouver and New York
The Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers came up short again this post-season and have fired their head coaches. Both rosters are loaded with talent but fell short of Stanley Cup hopes multiple years in a row. The Canucks were swept out of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks. The Rangers were dismissed by the Bruins who exposed their lack of defense around goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
1. Chicago Blackhawks in 7 games over 5. Los Angeles Kings
1. Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games over 4. Boston Bruins
1. Chicago Blackhawks in 7 games over 1. Pittsburgh Penguins
Conn Smythe Trophy (Best Player In the Post-Season) – David Krejci (Boston Bruins)