With the National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup Playoffs underway, the first round has come to a close as four teams from the Western Conference and four teams from the Eastern Conference move on to compete in the second round.
Some early matchups had surprising outcomes, such as the Nashville Predator’s sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers’ 4-2 victory series over the San Jose Sharks. Each team must win four games before moving on to the next round in hopes of winning the cup. But as the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins begin their second round journey, playoff brackets and predictions continue to change.
With the New York Rangers’ 4-2 series win over the Montreal Canadiens, one student of Montclair State believes that the Rangers will beat the Senators in the next round and ultimately win the Stanley Cup.
“I think the Rangers have a really good chance at winning the cup this year,” freshman Savina Sisco said. “The Senators seem like an easier team to beat and hopefully whichever team comes out of the Penguins and Capitals series, the Rangers will beat them as well.”
Although the Rangers have not won the Stanley Cup since 1994, maybe the team can finally get a win for their longtime All-Star goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist.
The upcoming games seem to bring a bit more excitement, as the defending Stanley Cup Champions take on the Capitals. The Penguins and Capitals were the top two teams during the NHL’s regular season and as of now, both teams seem to bring the speed, pressure and skill in hopes of moving on to the Conference Final.
“I hope the Capitals come out strong and get a win for their captain,” freshman Mike DiVito said. “Even though they are going to face a tough team during the second round, I think they will come out on top.”
Clearly, the Eastern Conference has some very tough competition. Many predictions and eyes have been on the Capitals and even the 2015 Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. But when the Predators knocked out the Blackhawks, many fans changed their playoff predictions. Aside from the strong competition in the East, the Western Conference continues to surprise fans. One student who favors a team from the West is sophomore Kevin Bernal.
“After watching a couple of the playoff games, I decided to root for the Anaheim Ducks,” Bernal said. “Out of all the teams competing in the West, I would say that they are the most well-rounded.”
With many different predictions surrounding the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the match-ups for the second round are intense. From the East, two superstar captains, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins will go head to head for the third time in their careers, hoping to advance to the Conference Finals.
The Rangers verses Senators series also seems be a popular matchup among Montclair State students, many of whom are rooting for the Rangers. Although the Eastern Conference brings the competition, the West continues to change up fan’s predictions, which ultimately makes the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs one of the most exciting times in sports.