2021 Stanley Cup Finals Preview

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4. Montreal Canadiens vs. 3. Tampa Bay Lightning

They got past the Toronto Maple Leafs being down 3-1 in the series. They easily swept the Winnipeg Jets. Then when it seemed they were outmatched, they took care of the Vegas Golden Knights in 6 games. The Montreal Canadiens won’t go away. Goaltender Carey Price is following some large footsteps in Habs history. Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy. All were dominant goalies in their time in Montreal. Price will look to add the Stanley Cup to his resume. Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi are part of a young core of forwards that have played huge roles in this playoff run. Tyler Toffoli, Corey Perry and Eric Staal have played their part as veterans who contribute nightly and have previously won a Stanley Cup. Captain Shea Weber and Jeff Petry have anchored this defense for many years now, but Joel Edmundson who won the Cup with St. Louis in 2019, has led their defensemen with 6 points (all by way of an assist). If they want to win their first title since 1993 (also the last time any Canadian team has won), they need to play damn near perfect for every single game against the defending champions in Tampa Bay.

The defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning are proving why they are the team to beat in the playoffs. They easily took care of business in the first two rounds against Florida and Carolina. The New York Islanders took them to the brink in 7 games, but Tampa Bay beat the Islanders at their own game in the finale with a 1-0 victory. If they didn’t have a healthy Nikita Kucherov I’d be willing to bet they would still be here, but it would have been tougher I admit. With him this team is down right scary good. Their captain Steven Stamkos is healthy as well and just as productive as Kucherov. Brayden Point looks to be the favorite to win the Conn Smythe going into the Finals. Victor Hedman will probably win another Norris trophy as the best defensemen in the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy will probably win the Vezina as the best goalie and could be a Conn Smythe contender depending on how this Final plays out. There is just so much talent here that it is pretty much unfair. However, we’ve seen many times before that the best team falls flat at this point in the playoffs.

Players to Watch:  G Carey Price and G Andrei Vasilevskiy

Who Wins: Lightning in 6 games

Stanley Cup Conference Finals Preview

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West Division vs. North Division

2. Vegas Golden Knights vs. 4. Montreal Canadiens

Players to Watch: F Jonathan Marchessault and F Tyler Toffoli

Who Wins: Golden Knights in 6 games

Central Division vs. East Division

3. Tampa Bay Lightning vs. 4. New York Islanders

Players to Watch: F Brayden Point and F Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Who Wins: Lightning in 7 games

Stanley Cup Semifinals Preview

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East Divsion

3. Boston Bruins vs. 4. New York Islanders

Players to Watch: D Charlie McAvoy and G Ilya Sorokin

Who Wins: Islanders in 7 games

Central Division

1. Carolina Hurricanes vs. 3. Tampa Bay Lightning

Players to Watch: F Martin Necas and F Nikita Kucherov

Who Wins: Lightning in 7 games

North Division

3. Winnipeg Jets vs. 4. Montreal Canadiens

Players to Watch: F Mark Scheifele and G Carey Price

Who Wins: Canadiens in 6 games

West Division

1. Colorado Avalanche vs. 2. Vegas Golden Knights

Players to Watch: F Nathan MacKinnon and G Marc-Andre Fleury

Who Wins: Avalanche in 6 games

2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview

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East Division

1. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 4. New York Islanders

Players to Watch: G Tristan Jarry and F Mathew Barzal

Who Wins: Penguins in 6 games

2. Washington Capitals vs. 3. Boston Bruins

Players to Watch: D John Carlson and G Tuukka Rask

Who Wins: Bruins in 7 games

Central Division

1. Carolina Hurricanes vs. 4. Nashville Predators

Players to Watch: F Martin Necas and G Juuse Saros

Who Wins: Hurricanes in 5 games

2. Florida Panthers vs. 3. Tampa Bay Lightning

Players to Watch: D MacKenzie Weegar and D Victor Hedman

Who Wins: Lightning in 6 games

North Division

1. Toronto Maple Leafs vs. 4. Montreal Canadiens

Players to Watch: F Auston Matthews and G Carey Price

Who Wins: Maple Leafs in 5 games

2. Edmonton Oilers vs. 3. Winnipeg Jets

Players to Watch: F Connor McDavid and F Mark Scheifele

Who Wins: Oilers in 7 games

West Division

1. Colorado Avalanche vs. 4. St. Louis Blues

Players to Watch: F Nathan McKinnon and G Jordan Binnington

Who Wins: Avalanche in 6 games

2. Vegas Golden Knights vs. 3. Minnesota Wild

Players to Watch: D Shea Theodore and F Kirill Kaprizov

Who Wins: Golden Knights in 7 games

Stanley Cup Prediction

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*Because of lockdown madness, the 2020-21 NHL season will have the four divisions playing against each other in their regions. This is a breakdown of my prediction for the Stanley Cup Playoff participants for the 2020-21 season. The top 4 teams from each division will play each other in the first two rounds. Then what would be the Conference Finals, the four remaining teams will be ranked 1-4 on their regular season point totals. The one-seed will play the fourth-seed and the second-seed will play the third-seed. Continue reading