Vegas Golden Knights keep momentum going
As we have seen the entire season, the Golden Knights (4-0-0) keep shocking the world and breaking records. Vegas came into the Stanley Cup playoffs as the first seed in the Pacific Division with an impressive record of 51 wins, 24 losses and 109 points, which is the most points a team has tallied in its inaugural season. The Knights faced the LA Kings (0-4-0), who entered the playoffs in a Wild Card spot. The Kings have a history of winning in the playoffs with two cups in six years, but history didn’t save them this year. Vegas shot out and swept Los Angeles, scoring seven goals in four games. A different player made each goal for the Golden Knights. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stood on his head, allowing less than a goal per game on average. He blocked 127 of 130 shots and accumulated a save percentage of .997. Needless to say, Vegas knows how to play hockey. It will face the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins have chance of 3-peat
The past two Stanley Cups belong to the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-0), and with no surprise, they are a favorite to win it for the third time in a row. The Penguins, who were a two seed, clashed with their state-sharing partner, the Philadelphia Flyers (2-4-0), a three seed. Pittsburgh rolled past Philadelphia, scoring 28 goals in its six games and allowing 15 goals against it. Penguins star forward Sidney Crosby and youngster Jake Guentzel had mirror performances with six goals and seven assists each, and they show no signs of slowing down. Pittsburgh has depth with forwards Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist. They also have top defensemen in Kris Letang, Justin Schultz and Brian Dumoulin. If Matt Murray works out the kinks to play consistently between the pipes, there is no doubt the Penguins can slide a third straight ring on their fingers. For the third straight year, the Penguins will take on the Washington Capitals (4-2-0) in the second round.
Underdogs show promising futures
After finishing last in the league last year, most people didn’t expect the Colorado Avalanche (2-4-0) to win more than a game in the playoffs. Although a stacked Nashville Predators (4-2-0) team won the series in six games, Colorado shows signs of a bright future with star forward Nathan MacKinnon leading the way. The Winnipeg Jets (4-1-0) rocketed into the playoffs as a top team, almost sweeping the Minnesota Wild (1-4-0), but it was no surprise for the first round with the way they capped off the regular season. The Jets won their first playoff game in team history. With the young talent of forward Patrick Laine, Winnipeg will be a scary opponent for the Predators in the second round. Columbus (2-4-0) displayed its capability despite its series loss to Washington. Blue Jacket players Seth Jones, Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson are the shining stars the Jackets have been searching for to succeed. They are a team that will appear on the must-watch list in the future.
The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on Thursday with Pittsburgh against Washington at 6 p.m. and Vegas against San Jose at 9 p.m. Both games are airing on NBC Sports Network.