NHL Playoffs: And Then…There Were Four

by Rockin’ Reese

The NHL Playoffs Roll On

Carolina Hurricanes & Florida Panthers in the eastern conference finals. Vegas Golden Knights & Dallas Stars in the western conference finals. Win 4 games and you play for the Stanley Cup. Lose and you end up so close, but so far away.

NHL Playoffs

The Hurricanes were 2-1 against the Panthers, this season. The Panthers were victorious in the first game, achieving a 3-goal shutout in Sunrise on Nov. 9, 2022. The Hurricanes would respond with a 4-goal shutout on Dec. 30, 2022, in Raleigh. On April 13th, the Hurricanes would go to Sunrise & earn a 6-4 victory to become Metropolitan Division Champions.

In their respective conference semi-finals series, the Hurricanes would eliminate the New Jersey Devils in 5 games & the Panthers would do the same to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coincidentally, both of those series would end with 3-2 overtime victories.  Speaking of overtime, both of these teams have been undefeated in overtime, this postseason (Panthers 4-0, Hurricanes 3-0).

It will be interesting to see who will suffer their first loss, should any game go overtime. Brent Burns has 2 goals & 2 assists and Seth Jarvis has 4 assists against the Panthers. Aleksander Barkov has 2 goals & Radko Gudas has 3 assists against the Hurricanes. One of these men could be the key to their team holding the Prince of Wales Trophy.

The Stars were 3-0 against the Golden Knights, this season. On. Jan 16th, the Stars went to Las Vegas & earned a 4-goal shutout. On Feb. 25th, they returned to Vegas, but it would take a shootout, for them to earn a 3-2 win. On April 8th in Dallas, the Stars would complete the sweep with a 2-1 win, after another shooutout.

NHL Playoffs

This season, while the Golden Knights are winless against the Stars, the Stars are winless in playoff overtime (they’re 0-2, losing both games at home). In game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, they lost in double overtime, thanks to a Ryan Hartman goal. In game against 1 against the Seattle Kraken, thanks to a Yanni Gourde goal. With no shootouts in the playoffs, if the Stars find themselves in overtime, they’ll need someone to connect with a goal.

Likewise, the Knights need a 60-minute effort just to finally earn a win against Dallas. Jack Eichel has a goal against the Stars, so does Michael Amadio (who has the only playoff overtime winner for the Knights). Joel Kiviranta has 2 goals & Ty Delladandrea has 3 assists against the Golden Knights. Let’s see if any of these men contribute to their team holding the Clarence Campbell Bowl.

The last road to the Stanley Cup Final will be travelled. Fans in the Triangle want Lord Stanley to come to the Tar Heel State. Fans in Sunrise want the cup in metro Miami. Fans in Sin City want Stanley on the strip. Fans in Big D want the cup to be the 2nd championship in Texas, before summer arrives.

Where will the Stanley Cup end up? It’s up to these teams to determine that. It’s going to take will, skill, & luck, but one of these teams will have what it takes to get the 8 most important wins of the season.

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