By Gabriel Ramos |Contributing Writer|
The time has come for the National Hockey League (NHL) regular season to wrap up and for playoffs to get underway to see who will be this year’s winner of the Stanley Cup.
Of the 30 teams in the NHL, only 16 will get the chance to battle through four playoff rounds to be crowned champions.
April 12 kicked off the NHL playoffs with five games being played throughout the league. The first round will take place through at least April 19 but could last until April 26 if necessary.
Although playoffs have already begun, the Stanley Cup will not be won until sometime in June as the date will be determined depending on the timing of the first three rounds.
The Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets while the Montreal Canadiens hosted the New York Rangers. The Boston Bruins paid a visit to the Ottawa Senators and the St. Louis Blues went over to Minnesota to take on the Wild. Last but not least the San Jose Sharks flew to Canada to take on the Edmonton Oilers.
The Anaheim Ducks have qualified for the playoffs for the fifth straight year but are still in the hunt for their first Stanley Cup Title since the ’06-’07 season.
The Ducks finished the regular season with a four-game win streak, with two of them coming against their first-round opponent, the Calgary Flames.
With the first-round loss to the Nashville Predators last season, they look to push past their opponents as the odds are in their favor.
They are predicted to win four games to one over the Predators, according to Rob Goldberg of Bleacher Report. Although odds are in their favor for the first and second rounds they are predicted to lose the conference final to the St. Louis Blues by one game (4-3 overall).
After speaking to a couple of students on campus and asking them about their thoughts on the playoffs very few said they even watched the NHL or had very little interest in the subject.
However, one student stood out in her Anaheim Ducks jersey.
“I’ve been a Ducks fan for as long as I can remember and I’m growing impatient waiting for our next title, but I believe we have a chance this year,” said Tephanie Martinez.
The LA Kings failed to make it to the playoffs for the second time in the last three years after winning the Stanley Cup twice in the last six. They’ll sit out and watch the playoffs from home as they wait for another opportunity next season.
The Ducks and the Kings are fan favorites in Southern California, with a strong rivalry between the two both on the ice and in the stands.
The Montreal Canadiens made the playoffs this year after falling short last season. They lead all the franchises with23 Stanley Cups but are predicted to lose in the first round against the New York Rangers.
Montreal has quite a bit of history behind them as they’ve been around for over 100 years and continue to fight their way into postseason play.
The Canadiens had an astonishing run between the 1950’s and 1970’s where they were able to rack up 16 of their 23 Stanley Cups. Since then they’ve won only two cups which came in 1986 and 1993. They’ve been on a long drought since then and are looking to defeat the odds and claim back that throne that they once conquered.
The Washington Capitals have made the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons, but have not been able to get past the second round.
They are predicted to beat the Boston Bruins who last won the Stanley cup in 2011. They are also predicted to win the Stanley Cup Finals over the St. Louis Blues.
“The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series, the Cleveland Cavaliers have won an NBA title and Sergio Garcia has won a major. Why can’t the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup?” said Goldberg.
The Washington Capitals are believed to be the best team in every aspect of the game this year so all odds are in their favor and they could very well soon be rewarded with their very first Stanley Cup.