Season 17 is a week away from being over, a week away from crowing the Stanley Cup Champion. It’s been a great season, seeing some teams really turn it around this year with great leadership. As we prepare for Season 18 in NHL 20, I hope we can find ways to improve the league. This is a challenge to all of you, whether you have great ideas or simply donate money. Each and every one of you can help drive change.
The Carolina Hurricanes hit the Jersey Shore last week, and went from a Category 5 storm taking out the likes of Tampa Bay and Ottawa; to just a simple shower in a matter of days. The opening two games were tight, one going into overtime as the teams split the first two games. However, it went downhill quickly as the Hurricanes could only muster two goals in the last three games, while the Devils scored eleven.
The Wild got a taste of the bright lights of LA, and the rest of the series they were just deer in headlights. Outscored 20-3, LA dominated Minnesota from start to finish. Some would say that’s what happens when you get the top team in the Central going up against the top team in the Pacific. Minnesota is not a bad team, LA is just that much better.
Let’s look at the Stanley Cup Final Match-up:
There are a few story lines in this one, least these are the ones I know off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more. You have xTarasenko91_ in the Final again, last season he was on Winnipeg and they lost to Snake and Philadelphia in the final. As I said in previous articles, NJ and Philly opened up against each other again this season just as they did last season. I was curious to see if the winner of that series would go on to win the Stanley Cup, guess we will see.
Last season LA lost to Winnipeg and xTarasenk91_ which cost them a chance at the Final. A familiar name stands in there way again, will the name change and team change, change the result this time around? Or will it be more of the same?
Last season, we had an owner who I predicted would retire after winning the Cup. This season, if what I heard is true, AAli-21 will be stepping down after the conclusion of the Final. Will he go out on top just like Snake did?
In net for LA, you have chadkillz134. Why am I mentioning him? He is returning to the Cup Final again, he took home the Championship with Philadelphia, can he help LA shut down xTarasenko91_? These guys switched conference but still managed to meet in the Final again. Should be a solid match-up.
It’s no surprise both these teams are in the final. Statistically, they score a lot of goals, over 50 for each team, and they give up the least; both only allowing 25. LA likes to shoot, averaging almost 18 shots a game. NJ likes to hit, averaging 15 hits a game. Both teams don’t take a lot of penalties, however, LA draws the most having 56 power play chances this post season. Of the two teams, NJ has the better power play, clicking at nearly 30% and the better penalty kill at 86%.
New Jersey is running three forwards, xTarasenko91_, HyperDeezNutz and AAli-21. Each of these guys are averaging over 2 points per game. All three are pretty balanced goals and assists, with HyperDeezNutz leading the way with 18 goals. These three forwards account for 86% of New Jersey’s scoring. Hyper and xTarasenko have their names in the Conn Smythe hat, this series will determine who wins it.
On Defense, the main pair on the blue line is xIBrokeTheDam and FranchiseMatty. Both of these guys play well in both zones, xIBrokeTheDam with 12 points and FranchiseMatty with 9 points. Nick_x_98 and AAli both fill in on defense when needed, Nick averaging 1.33 points per game not bad for a backup.
In net, there are some questions. Is TheDoooooogstar’s availability bad? Of the 17 games played, he has only played 6 of them. Compared to Floweri30i who has played nearly half. Of the two, TheDoooooogstar has more shutouts and a better save percentage. Who is the starter? When you play on a team that doesn’t allow a lot of shots, you have to stop the ones that make it. Of the two, I’d pick TheDoooooogstar as my starter. Why X? You’re crazy to think that. This guy came over from Washington where he was on a losing team, facing nearly 18 shots a game and still had a .837 save percentage. This is a goalie who doesn’t need to rely on his defense to win. I don’t see LA just sitting back and not shooting, and if I were to choose the guy in net, it would be TheDoooooogstar all the way.
LA is still running a pretty balance lineup. Up front they have 5 guys averaging over 2 points per game. They are led by rV_Clutchz and Tmills, it’s no secret that Tmills is the setup guy, with 16 assists and Clutchz is the goal scorer with 23 goals, accounting for 41% of the scoring in LA. Joining these two is a committee of three guys, with GAMINGHAMZ getting the most starts at 8. The Owner, Rollerpig647 has 15 points in 6 games and everyone’s favorite utility man FFRantic_ has the same, 15 points in 6 games. Clutchz is another guy with his name in the Conn Smythe discussion.
On Defense, you have Rbcressor leading the way with 16 points in 14 games, averaging 1.14 points per game. BakonBlitz would round out the top defensive pair based on games played. He is the more defense of the two with 5 points in 8 games. A familiar name fills in nicely, FFrantic_ with 6 points in 5 games, having not lost a game while on defense this playoff season. Kwhiss613 is similar to NJ’s Nick_x having 5 points in 3 games, averaging 1.67 points per game. Another reliable back up.
Finally in net, I mentioned him before but the man for LA is chadkillz134. He has 4 shut outs, in 11 games played, with a 1.52 goals against and a .854 save percentage. The backup xEKANE_9x has similar numbers 1.69 goals against with a .848 save percentage. The difference between these guys and NJ, is they are stopping the puck while only facing about 10 shots a game.
These two teams are eerily similar. Something will have to give shot wise; both teams don’t give up a lot of shots but take a bunch. You could very well see some shootout games. LA has good balance throughout the lineup. NJ has a strong special teams. The winner will be determined based on the type of game played. If it’s a shoot out, lots of shots and goals, I’d lean toward LA. If the trap works, and keeps the shot totals low, the game will favor NJ. My gut says the narrative will be the same as last season. NJ in 6, AAli goes out on top.