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The National Hockey League playoffs are in the second round. We still don’t know who will win it all!

The National Hockey League playoffs are in the second round. We still don’t know who will win it all!

Jason M., Staff Writer

It’s that time of year again. Sixteen teams battle to win one prize: Lord Stanley’s Cup. Which of the great NHL teams will win it all by mid-June?

Every year, thirty one NHL teams fight for the top spots to get into the playoffs. After 81 regular season games and a round of playoffs, we now have eight teams remaining: the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Who has the best chance of winning each series? Some of these match-ups we have seen before, while others are new to us in the playoffs.

With the second round starting, we have a general idea of who will win and who will lose. According to the official NHL website, the Predators are projected to win by 8 out of 14 NHL writers in the Predators vs Jets series. In Vegas against San Jose, 9 out of 14 picked the Sharks. Next, for the Lightning vs Bruins, another 9 of 14 NHL writers predicted the Lightning over the Bruins. Last but certainly not least, a solid 10 out of the 14 writers predicted that the Penguins will triumph over the Capitals.*   When Preston Murrell, a seventh grader, was asked about who he thought would win the Stanley Cup, his response was surprising. “I think that the Washington Capitals will win the Stanley Cup because they are a great team and have a lot of playoff experience. Even though they haven’t won a cup yet, I think this is finally their year.

Each of the eight remaining teams has one advantage over the others. Starting with the Nashville Predators, they have a great goaltender, which some of the other teams lack. Their opponent, the Winnipeg Jets, have good defensive depth. Next, the Vegas Golden Knights had a great regular season, and they swept their opponent in the first round. However, their opponent, the San Jose Sharks, have had great playoff experience plus an all around good lineup. After that, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first two lines are what’s key to their success. But, the Boston Bruins have a great first line, along with a good all round defense. The Washington Capitals have had good goal-tending most of the year, with a good offense. The Penguins have won the Stanley Cup the last two years, and they have a great first line offense and defense.

Now, here are some predictions for the second round. Many people think that the Nashville Predators will beat the Winnipeg Jets. The Predators went to the finals last year, plus they were the best team in the regular season this year. Then, the San Jose Sharks are preferred over the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas lacks playoff experience, and they are an expansion team. For the Eastern Conference, it is  that the Tampa Bay Lightning should beat the Boston Bruins. Tampa was clearly the better team this season, and they did really well. Last but certainly not least is the Pittsburgh Penguins beating the Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh has beaten Washington in almost every series that they played against them in history. The Capitals have only won one of these.

 

*This prediction was later proven wrong when the Capitals beat the Penguins on May 8, 2018!  Go Caps!

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