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Quest for the Cup - 2019

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#1
The slog known as the regular season is now over, and the Quest for Lord Stanley's Cup begins in earnest.

Here are the matchups, starting in the East:
Lightning v. Blue Jackets (TB 3-0-0): The Lightning are built for the playoffs, with tremendous forward depth and solid defense. The big question is will Andrei Vasilievskiy finally shed the knack for disappearing in the playoffs. The Blue Jackets have never won a playoff series, and though this run down the stretch might have saved John Tortorella's job, it will not be near enough to stop the Bolts. Lightning in 5
Capitals v. Hurricanes (WSH 4-0-0)
: Credit to the Hurricanes, they played very well down the stretch just to get into the tournament. Their prize? A date with the defending Champs, who (last night not withstanding against NYI) were on a tear of their own coming down the stretch. Two hot teams, but to be the man you gotta beat the man. Carolina does not have the horses to do it, barring some miracle from the goaltending tandem of Mrazek and McIlhenny. I simply don't see it. Capitals in 5
Bruins v. Maple Leafs (BOS 3-1-0)
: The Leafs kind of backed into the playoffs and just don't seem right, besides imagine the Toronto media if the Leafs were to melt down. It's better than New York! Give me the Bruins. Bruins in 6
Islanders v. Penguins (Tied 2-1-1)
: The Isles were arguably the story of the year in the East, not expected to make the playoffs after losing John Tavares in free agency. Big props to Barry Trotz for transforming that defense into one of the league's best units, backstopped by Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner. They have a good group of young forwards and will be calling on the ghosts of champions past, playing the first round in Nassau Coliseum (incidentally, their 103 points were the most since their last Finals season of 1984-85). The Penguins were up and down, but getting Malkin back will give them an instant jolt. Plus. never count out Crosby and his ability to carry a team. Besides, everyone probably wants to see PIT/WSH volume 12. This has the makings of a long series, and I'm taking the more seasoned opponent here. Penguins in 7

Will do the West later, when I have a little time. Discuss.
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#2
Now for the West:

Flames v. Avalanche (CGY 3-0-0): The Flames combine a solid goaltending tandem and a high-octane offense, becoming one of the most entertaining teams to watch. The Avalanche are similarly free-wheeling, so this could turn out to be a very high scoring series. Going with the Flames here. Flames in 6

Predators v. Stars (NSH 3-2-0): The Preds were not as dominant this season as last, but are still pretty formidable. The Stars were a good story this year, with solid defense and goaltending, but I don't think Dallas has the offensive horses to match up if Seguin/Benn/Radulov go silent, the depth is not there. The Stars' defense will keep them in it, but the Preds take this one. Preds in 7

Sharks v. Golden Knights (Tied 2-2, OT Win for SJ): The Sharks staggered into the playoffs losing, 8 of 10 in regulation down the stretch. I have always stated that goaltending will be the Sharks' undoing...and it appears I will be right again, combined with injury concerns to Erik Karlsson. Martin Jones has been terrible. The Knights should win this one easily. Knights in 5

Jets v. Blues (WPG 4-0-0): On the surface, when a team sweeps a season series if usually lends itself to picking that team to advance in a playoff round. One important thing to remember is that all four of the Jets' wins were prior to January, when the Blues were still floundering with the worst record in the NHL. Enter rookie goalie Jordan Binnington, who is likely to be a Calder Trophy finalist and was instrumental in resurrecting the season, ranking among the league leaders in GAA and save percentage. The Jets were a little tight coming down the stretch, and I usually don't like staking on a rookie between the pipes, but I'm calling upset on this one. Blues in 6
 

SDRay

FU Spanos and Dundon
Staff member
Administrator
Podcaster
#3
The slog known as the regular season is now over, and the Quest for Lord Stanley's Cup begins in earnest.

Here are the matchups, starting in the East:
Lightning v. Blue Jackets (TB 3-0-0): The Lightning are built for the playoffs, with tremendous forward depth and solid defense. The big question is will Andrei Vasilievskiy finally shed the knack for disappearing in the playoffs. The Blue Jackets have never won a playoff series, and though this run down the stretch might have saved John Tortorella's job, it will not be near enough to stop the Bolts. Lightning in 5
Capitals v. Hurricanes (WSH 4-0-0)
: Credit to the Hurricanes, they played very well down the stretch just to get into the tournament. Their prize? A date with the defending Champs, who (last night not withstanding against NYI) were on a tear of their own coming down the stretch. Two hot teams, but to be the man you gotta beat the man. Carolina does not have the horses to do it, barring some miracle from the goaltending tandem of Mrazek and McIlhenny. I simply don't see it. Capitals in 5
Bruins v. Maple Leafs (BOS 3-1-0)
: The Leafs kind of backed into the playoffs and just don't seem right, besides imagine the Toronto media if the Leafs were to melt down. It's better than New York! Give me the Bruins. Bruins in 6
Islanders v. Penguins (Tied 2-1-1)
: The Isles were arguably the story of the year in the East, not expected to make the playoffs after losing John Tavares in free agency. Big props to Barry Trotz for transforming that defense into one of the league's best units, backstopped by Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner. They have a good group of young forwards and will be calling on the ghosts of champions past, playing the first round in Nassau Coliseum (incidentally, their 103 points were the most since their last Finals season of 1984-85). The Penguins were up and down, but getting Malkin back will give them an instant jolt. Plus. never count out Crosby and his ability to carry a team. Besides, everyone probably wants to see PIT/WSH volume 12. This has the makings of a long series, and I'm taking the more seasoned opponent here. Penguins in 7

Will do the West later, when I have a little time. Discuss.

I like Tampa, Washington (Rooting For Tom Dundon's team to get swept), Boston, and Pittsburgh.
 

SDRay

FU Spanos and Dundon
Staff member
Administrator
Podcaster
#4
Now for the West:

Flames v. Avalanche (CGY 3-0-0): The Flames combine a solid goaltending tandem and a high-octane offense, becoming one of the most entertaining teams to watch. The Avalanche are similarly free-wheeling, so this could turn out to be a very high scoring series. Going with the Flames here. Flames in 6

Predators v. Stars (NSH 3-2-0): The Preds were not as dominant this season as last, but are still pretty formidable. The Stars were a good story this year, with solid defense and goaltending, but I don't think Dallas has the offensive horses to match up if Seguin/Benn/Radulov go silent, the depth is not there. The Stars' defense will keep them in it, but the Preds take this one. Preds in 7

Sharks v. Golden Knights (Tied 2-2, OT Win for SJ): The Sharks staggered into the playoffs losing, 8 of 10 in regulation down the stretch. I have always stated that goaltending will be the Sharks' undoing...and it appears I will be right again, combined with injury concerns to Erik Karlsson. Martin Jones has been terrible. The Knights should win this one easily. Knights in 5

Jets v. Blues (WPG 4-0-0): On the surface, when a team sweeps a season series if usually lends itself to picking that team to advance in a playoff round. One important thing to remember is that all four of the Jets' wins were prior to January, when the Blues were still floundering with the worst record in the NHL. Enter rookie goalie Jordan Binnington, who is likely to be a Calder Trophy finalist and was instrumental in resurrecting the season, ranking among the league leaders in GAA and save percentage. The Jets were a little tight coming down the stretch, and I usually don't like staking on a rookie between the pipes, but I'm calling upset on this one. Blues in 6

Calgary, Nashville, Vegas, Winnipeg
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#8
We might be about to say goodnight to Pittsburgh and Tampa. If so, that probably clears the East for Washington.
 
#9
We might be about to say goodnight to Pittsburgh and Tampa. If so, that probably clears the East for Washington.
"It ain't over till it's over"......but I'm having a hard time figuring out the Tampa Bay Lightning! I thought of them as the first sure bet since Secretariat in the Belmont!

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are a grind, and imho, the most grueling challenge in Pro Sports. While I agree that the Caps (should they survive) would benefit from an early exit by the Pens and/or Bolts, I see several others who also emerge as serious contenders in the East....Of course I'm partial to the LEAFS, but after decades of mismanagement and Spanosian ineptitude, the Leafs have a solid front office and coaching staff, and a core of high draft picks that were developed internally through a very strong minor league system and are now ready to compete. Boston Bruins have been Toronto's kryptonite for longer than I care to remember, but IF they can get past Boston (1-1 going back to TO), the Leafs might be a team that can gain momentum as the Playoffs move forward.
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#14
So did the Pens. The Islanders made that look a little too easy.

Sharks are probably next, don't see the Knights blowing this.
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#15
The Flames are now down 3-1, after losing in OT at Colorado last night.

If they go, that will be both conference #1s losing to WC2's, first time under the current format that this would have occurred.

Boston would then get home ice as long as they are alive, followed by Washington and the Islanders.
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#16
Looks like the Hurricanes woke the sleeping giant...Caps slapped them stupid last night and made it look easy.

Congrats to the Blues as well. Last place in the league in January, waiting for the winner of the Stars/Preds this morning.
 
#17
Looks like the Hurricanes woke the sleeping giant...Caps slapped them stupid last night and made it look easy.

Congrats to the Blues as well. Last place in the league in January, waiting for the winner of the Stars/Preds this morning.
******* Predators are looking terrible, getting absolutely spanked by the Stars. Stars actually used to be "my team" when they were the Minnesota North Stars - perhaps becoming a Predz fan was a terrible mistake.

All the last/lowest ranked teams are taking out all the top ranked teams - bizarre year.
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#19
The officials have now directly affected the outcomes of two games in the last two nights. This is pathetic.

Ovechkin's goal in Game 6 would have tied the game at 3. with 9 minutes to go A *very* quick whistle nullifies it. The rule is that the whistle should blow only when (a) the goaltender has complete control of the puck or (b) the referee loses sight of the puck in a goalmouth scramble. Neither of those occurred, and as a goaltender myself I would have had no reason to expect a whistle that quick, hence why Mrazek did nor argue...he probably knew he did not have it.

Last night's, though, was far worse. Eakin's cross check warranted no more than a 2 minute penalty. A major is absurd. Jonathan Marchessault's quote that the NHL should be embarrassed is completely on point. I think after this, majors need to be reviewable, much like the college targeting rule. That call directly sent the Knights home.

Pathetic.
 

SDRay

FU Spanos and Dundon
Staff member
Administrator
Podcaster
#20
The officials have now directly affected the outcomes of two games in the last two nights. This is pathetic.

Ovechkin's goal in Game 6 would have tied the game at 3. with 9 minutes to go A *very* quick whistle nullifies it. The rule is that the whistle should blow only when (a) the goaltender has complete control of the puck or (b) the referee loses sight of the puck in a goalmouth scramble. Neither of those occurred, and as a goaltender myself I would have had no reason to expect a whistle that quick, hence why Mrazek did nor argue...he probably knew he did not have it.

Last night's, though, was far worse. Eakin's cross check warranted no more than a 2 minute penalty. A major is absurd. Jonathan Marchessault's quote that the NHL should be embarrassed is completely on point. I think after this, majors need to be reviewable, much like the college targeting rule. That call directly sent the Knights home.

Pathetic.
Agree...but the Sharks still had to score those goals. Selfishly, I'm glad that the Sharks won so that they can't send reinforcements down to help the Barracudas. Caps should take care of business at home against team Dundon. Go CAPS!
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#21
Agree...but the Sharks still had to score those goals. Selfishly, I'm glad that the Sharks won so that they can't send reinforcements down to help the Barracudas. Caps should take care of business at home against team Dundon. Go CAPS!
True, but had a minor been called instead of a major - which IMO would have been the correct call -- they have to get the other three goals at 5-on-5. Not to say they couldn't have anyway, but it is a much, much tougher ask.

Go Caps!
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#23
Turns out the NHL agreed with me. The major was an error and they apologized to the Knights.

Knights should tell the league office to take their apology and stick it. That call cost them a game and a series.
 

SDRay

FU Spanos and Dundon
Staff member
Administrator
Podcaster
#25
Turns out the NHL agreed with me. The major was an error and they apologized to the Knights.

Knights should tell the league office to take their apology and stick it. That call cost them a game and a series.
Wouldn't say it cost them the series as the Sharks still needed to score. If anything blame the crappy Vegas PK line. They were atrocious allowing 4 goals.
 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#26
Wouldn't say it cost them the series as the Sharks still needed to score. If anything blame the crappy Vegas PK line. They were atrocious allowing 4 goals.
Fleury did not help himself either. A couple of those were softies.

Lost in the shuffle is the fact the Knights blew a 3-1 series lead. That's the real failing here. Should have never come down to a Game 7 let alone a late bad call.
 

SDRay

FU Spanos and Dundon
Staff member
Administrator
Podcaster
#27
What a BS non-call last night on the Sharks. Still rooting for the Blues to win and looking forward to the Tom Dundon Canes to get swept by the Bruins.

 

RamAirVA

Curse and Damn You Spanos!
#29
What a BS non-call last night on the Sharks. Still rooting for the Blues to win and looking forward to the Tom Dundon Canes to get swept by the Bruins.

Horrendous missed call. Replay rules are going to have to change for this BS we are seeing in the playoffs this year.

This officiating has been the worst I can ever recall in my 40-plus years of watching and playing the game.
 
#30
Bruins will represent the East...how the f*ck did the Canes get that far? They were pathetic in that series.
I know you're a Caps fan, which is why I stayed quiet...but the Canes were dead in the water when Ovi decided to drop the gloves and pound the 19 year old Svechnikov in to concussion. If you watched the Brind'Amour's reaction to the fight, you could point to that moment as the pivotal event to resurrect the Canes in that series and they fed off of that energy to sweep the Isles.
Watching the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals, I can't help but to think what could've been if the Leafs could've finally figured out a way to beat Boston in a game 7. Having both the Raptors and the Leafs go deep into the Playoffs and perhaps winning it all, is what every Torontonian dreams of, and this could've been the year with no LeBron in the Eastern Playoffs, and TB, WASH, & PIT all out in the first round!
 

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