“History will be made” is a quote that is seen every year at the beginning of April when the playoffs start. The Stanley Cup is the most iconic trophy in all of sports. This has been a wild year for the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs, there have been many upsets that nobody expected. The […]
“History will be made” is a quote that is seen every year at the beginning of April when the playoffs start. The Stanley Cup is the most iconic trophy in all of sports. This has been a wild year for the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs, there have been many upsets that nobody expected. The playoffs are not over yet, it wont be over until June but the story lines that were created this year are out of this world.
For starters the Tampa Bay Lightning had one of the most dominant seasons in NHL history but they were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round. The St. Louis Blues were the worst team in the NHL in early January, three months before the playoffs started, and they are currently in the Western Conference Finals. The New York Islanders swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games and then the Islanders got swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the following round.
The Carolina Hurricanes, who no one thought would make the playoffs this year, beat the Washington Capitals, the defending Stanley Cup champions in seven games.
These were the biggest stories this year that made this the most unexpected turn of events in years.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had one of the most dominant seasons in NHL history. Their record was 62-16-4 and they were lead by one of many of their star players Nikita Kucherov with 128 points in 82 games. Their roster was the best in the league this year, but once they got to the playoffs they became a completely different team. The Lighting were beat in four games by the Blue Jackets who were the second wild card team in the Eastern Conference. Absolutely nobody thought that this would happen, the Lightning were a for-sure lock to win the cup this year, but they couldn’t beat a team that just sneaked into the playoffs. This may be the biggest upset in NHL history, and just like the commercial says every year “ history will be made.” Within a week the Columbus Blue Jackets redefined making history by knocking out the number one team and winning the franchise’s first playoff series.
Next up the St. Louis Blues, who have made a lot noise this year, were at one point dead last in the league standings. The team was frustrated and a fight erupted at practice and since then the Blues have made a complete turn around. Their rookie goaltender is having a Calder (rookie of the year award) type of season. The 25-year-old goalie had a regular season record of 24-5-1. That is an unreal record for a rookie goaltender in the NHL and he gave the team life again and helped them turn a compete 180 degrees. The Blues are now in the Western Conference finals playing the San Jose Sharks.
It’s crazy to think that this team has resurrected their season and are only one round away from the big dance. Jordan Binnington is playing like veteran goalie this year and has taken the league by storm. In one of his interviews he was asked by the media, “it must be pretty nerve racking, is it nerve racking to you?” And Binnington’s response was, “Do I look nervous?” The media members answer was “no,” Binnington replied back with, “there’s your answer.” This interview went viral and since then people call him cold blooded, fierce and even veteran-like, just like he’s been playing.
The New York Islanders also swept a team in the first round and that was the Pittsburgh Penguins who have the best player in the league, Sidney Crosby. The Islanders were great all season, they went from the worst defensive team last year to the number one defensive team this year. Along with the season they had this year they were still looked at as an underdog type of team. Similar to the Blues, the Islanders had goalie this year that played unreal as well.
This goalie was Robin Lehner. Lehner has had trouble in the past with alcohol addiction and other life issues that he was able to push through and be the heart and soul of this team. He defied all odds after his previous season with the Buffalo Sabres, he didn’t do well and then came to Long Island and completely changed this New York team, who like other teams, weren’t expected to make the playoffs. After losing their star player John Tavares in free agency many people around the league wrote them off.
First year coach Barry Trotz, who won the Stanley Cup the previous season with Washington, gave this team a new identity and put all of his trust into Lehner and it worked out well until they got to the second round.
The Carolina Hurricanes before sweeping the Islanders, beat the defending Stanley cup champions the Washington Capitals in seven games. The Hurricanes which were another team nobody thought would make the playoffs this year are now in the Eastern Conference finals going up against the Boston Bruins. The Hurricanes last won the cup in 2006 when Justin Williams and Rod Brind’amour led the team to victory over the Edmonton Oilers. SInce then, Williams has won three Stanley cups and is now back on the Hurricanes tying to win his fourth.
Williams is known as Mr. Game Seven because he has seven goals and seven assists and is also 7-0 in game sevens. The last round Williams got the game winning goal in double overtime against his former team, keeping his legacy alive.
The playoffs this year have been great but the storylines have made it even better and it’s the most fun I’ve had watching hockey even though my favorite team did not make it.
The most iconic trophy in all of sports is up for grabs this year and no one has a clue how it’s going to play out. The only teams left are the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes. Whoever hoists the cup in June will have their name engraved on the Stanley Cup forever.
Every player grows up dreaming what it’s like to take that final lap around the ice with the cup held above their head, but every year only one team gets the chance to do it.
UPDATE: On June 12, the St Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games to win their first ever Stanley Cup.