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Road To The 2018 Stanley Cup Final

The end of the regular season is near and it is time to talk the Stanley Cup Playoffs, specifically the two teams who will come out of the conference finals to play for the Stanley Cup.

I imagine if you were betting on the Stanley Cup, these teams would surely be mentioned: Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators and possibly a few other teams.

Others may mention the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets and how about the Vegas Golden Knights?


So here we are about a month away from the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs it is time to name your two teams who will meet in the Stanley Cup Final.

Personally, I am looking at a Tampa/Nashville final and I would have picked the Penguins instead of the Lightning but I think the Penguins will run out of gas before they can reach the Final.

Why the Tampa Bay Lightning?

I feel it is their time.  Offensive fire power, an underrated defensive corp and a horse in Victor Hedman who will play special teams and will be on the ice in the closing minutes of games.

The Lightning have six players with 20 or more goals and possibly three players looking at 30 plus goals.

Nikita Kucherov is having an MVP type season and their goaltending, lead by Andrei Vasilevskiy is more than enough to get them to the SCF.

Why the Nashville Predators?

A very good all-around team.  Go ahead an name their leading goal and point player, if you said Viktor Arvidsson you are right.  The Predators spread the wealth around with 12 players having scored at least 10 goals.  That makes them a very dangerous team and hard to defend in a best of seven series.

Their defensemen may be the best gathering of top 6 in the NHL.  Four of the defenseman average over 20 minutes of ice time per game lead by P.K. Subban with 24:38.

I expect Pekka Rinne to play the majority of the playoff games but Juuse Saros is a very capable backup and can win a game when called upon.  Both goaltenders a sub 2.40 gaa.

Winner of the Stanley Cup?

Not yet, let it play out and wee where this goes, but these are my two favorites for the Stanley Cup Final, an early prediction in mid-March.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


ilovehomers's avatar

Not the lightning.

Reverse jinx

Posted by ilovehomers on 03/13/18 at 10:11 AM ET


I’d have to agree with a Tampa/Nashville final even though things rarely end up the way you expect them to. Why those two teams, DEPTH! For that reason I think Pittsburgh has the best chance of crashing the party but their goalie situation could be a liability. Boston has the tools although their injuries are piling up.

I suspect that Winnipeg’s goaltending (I know it’s been good thus far) and general lack of playoff experience will do them in. I fully expect Vegas to bow out in one of the first two rounds.

Nashville feels like a team on a mission to build on last year’s success. They have scoring up and down the lineup and bunch of players who can play anywhere and play a 200 foot game. With Fisher and soon Tolvanen on the roster they’ll have players to fill in when injuries occur. Even their backup goalie is above average. Also one of the better home ice advantages.

But there are a few good teams in the West who will be fighting to join the party, most notably the Kings, Ducks and Blues. That’s a lot of experience for what could be 6,7,8 seeds.

In the East the only other team that looks like a legitimate contender outside Tampa, Boston and Pittsburgh is Washington. We all know about their playoff failures but perhaps this is the season they overcome them. They might get just the match ups they want early to build momentum.

I’m hoping somehow Pittsburgh and Philly meet in the first round to go with Boston-Toronto and San Jose-LA-Anaheim matchups. That sure would make for an interesting start.

Posted by evileye on 03/13/18 at 10:17 AM ET

bigfrog's avatar

ABP. Anybody but Pittsburgh. LOL

Posted by bigfrog on 03/13/18 at 08:15 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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