By Chris Andrews ’18
Nashville vs. Anaheim: With the Ducks being the number one seed in the division, they have played much easier teams in the playoffs than the Predators. In the first round of the playoffs, the Ducks played the Calgary Flames. The Flames are an inexperienced team, with their top players being Johnny Gaudreau who is 23 and Sean Monahan who is 22. The Ducks went on to sweep the Flames 4-0 in the series. In the second round, they faced the Oilers who experienced the same problem as the Flames. They picked up the number one overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, Connor McDavid. McDavid has the most assists, with 70, and the most points, with 100, his first year in the NHL. On the other hand, in the playoffs, the 19 year old was in the NHL playoffs for the first time. As well as the inexperience from the Oilers best player, the Oilers team hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2006.The Ducks barely beat them winning in seven games. The Predators have a lot more credibility. The Predators swept the Blackhawks who were favored to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the playoffs. In the second round, they beat the Blues who have Vladimir Tarasenko who leads the team in goals, assists and points. I think that the Predators are much stronger in the playoffs so far compared to the Ducks and Goalie Pekka Rinne is leading in the playoffs with save percentage and wins. I predict that the Predators will win in six.
Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa: The Penguins were the Stanley Cup champions last year which means that the odds are not in their favor to win this year. Although odds might not be on their side, so many other components are. The Penguins starting goalie Matt Murray got injured just before the playoffs and Marc-Andre Fleury stepped in and is playing phenomenal. The Penguins have a lot of young talent including Jake Guentzel who is the leading goal scorer in the playoffs with nine goals. As well as rookies, the Penguins have debatably the best player in the NHL, Sidney Crosby. Crosby has already won two Stanley Cups, so he has the experience to take his team to yet another Stanley Cup final. Compared to the Penguins, the Senators have no chance in beating the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins. Playing against the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, the Senators didn’t have much competition before going into this series. As well as the Penguins, the Senators have plenty of talent including their star player, Erik Karlsson. Karlsson was picked 15th overall in 2008 and is a two way player. Despite the skill from the Senators, the obvious choice of who is moving to the finals is the Penguins. I predict that the Penguins will win in six.
Pittsburgh vs. Nashville: Both teams have really powerful offense. The Predators first line consisting of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Viktor Arvidsson who are the top three for points on the team. The Penguins first line will is Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby, and Conor Sheary. All three players have made a huge impact in the playoffs having a combined 18 assists. I think that this series will be on the goalies and whoever plays better between Rinne and Fleury, their team will win the series. I predict that Nashville will win the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history in six games.