It’s the most important time of the year to NHL fans of the world. The Stanley Cup Playoffs is something all hockey fans get excited about.
1. NHL Divisions
The NHL is divided into East and West conferences, within each conference are two divisions. The Eastern conference consists of the Atlantic Division (Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, and the Detroit Red Wings) and the Metropolitan Division (Pittsburg Penguins, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Columbus Blue Jackets). Both divisions have eight teams each. The Western Conference contains the Central Division (St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Minnesota Wild) and the Pacific Division (Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Phoenix Coyotes). Seven teams are on both the Central and Pacific Division.
The top three teams from each division qualify for a spot in the opening round of the playoffs. There are two wildcard spots per conference. The best team will play the worst wildcard team, while the second best team will play the best wildcard team. The division leaders always secure home ice advantage in each match up (7 game series).
The first round is the division semi-finals. The winner of this game will go on to play the second round; the division championship. The winner of the third round becomes the champions of their conference and goes on to the fourth and final round. The Stanley Cup Final determines who becomes the champion of the National Hockey League. The team with the best regular season record in the matchup takes home ice advantage.
My prediction is a grueling Stanley Cup Final between the Blues and the Bruins with the Bruins coming out on top in 7 games. The Bruins have proven they have the endurance to last through an exhausting series while consistently wearing down the other teams – not to mention the impressive offensive efforts of Jerome Iginla, David Krejci, Carl Soderburg, and Riley Smith will likely rack up substantial points. But on top of all this, the Bruins are represent my hometown team and I have faith that my boys will bring the Stanely Cup back to Beantown.
Some people don’t understand the fervor that comes over hockey fans during the Stanley Cup. Fans will get excited, angry, depressed, and nervous – but only one team will be able to celebrate victory. So if you wonder why your college friends are acting erratic or if you still don’t know how someone can get so excited over a game, allow me to answer you with four simple words: because it’s the Cup!
Who do you want to win?