The Official Playoff Preview

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The Official Playoff Preview

Post by GigantorTheGoalie » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:17 am

(None of this list is in particular order)

The Cup Contenders

St. Louis Blues
Top 3 Scorers: Tarasenko (114PTS), Steen (98), Schwartz(85)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester
Starting Goalie: Jake Allen
X-Factor: Sam Gagner
Injuries: Paul Stastny(2 weeks)
Finished: 1st in League, 1st in West, 1st in Central

The President Trophy winners and the team with the top two scorers of the WHL. They have a top notch offense and defense. Only “weakness” is in net but Jake Allen doesn’t have to be elite for the Blues to win games, just good. They are slated to go far in the West. One hiccup could be the loss of center Paul Stastny for 2 weeks. However the Blues are deep at center with Sam Gagner finally getting the chance to show off his stuff in the playoffs.

Montreal Canadiens
Top 3 Scorers: Semin(68PTS), Fleischmann(67PTS), Galchenyuk(65PTS)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): PK Subban and Jeff Petry
Starting Goalie: Carey Price
X-Factor: Max Pacioretty
Injuries: None
Finished: 2nd in League, 1st in East, 1st in Atlantic

Home of the Vezina winning Carey Price who is slated to win another Vezina. He leads a deep offense Canadiens team who saw a break out season in Alex Galchenyuk. Habs also saw huge contributions from their 3rd line as Alex Semin and Thomas Fleichmann lead the team in scoring. In a low scoring environment like the playoffs this is the Montreal Canadiens bread and butter. One player to watch out for is Max Pacioretty who has lost time to injury but will be healthy and ready for a long playoff run.

New York Rangers
Top 3 Scorers: Krieder(64), Zuccarello (59), McDonagh(55)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Ryan McDonagh and Keith Yandle
Starting Goalie: Henrik Lundqvist
X-Factor: Rick Nash
Injuries: None
Finished: 4th in League, 2nd in East, 1st in Metro

Possibly the quietest team in the Eastern Conference or even the WHL. Although the Metro division is the weakest in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers are not to be taken lightly in the playoffs. Chris Krieder is breaking out and Henrik Lundqvist is at the top of his game right now. Even Ryan McDonagh is having a huge year finishing 4th in defensive scoring. Rick Nash though is the player to watch for as he can score goals at will.

Chicago Blackhawks
Top 3 Scorers: Toews(75), Kane (70), Keith(66)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook
Starting Goalie: Corey Crawford
X-Factor: Marian Hossa
Injuries: None
Finished: 9th in League, 4th in West, 3rd in Central

Based on regular season performance the Blackhawks should not be a Stanley Cup contender. However the Blackhawks can sleepwalk through the season and still make a mess in the playoffs. A Cup proven core of players who has the best defender in the game right now, Duncan Keith. If Marian Hossa can find a 2nd wind, this Hawks team will be tough to beat.

Los Angeles Kings
Top 3 Scorers: Carter (72), Kopitar(71), Gaborik(55)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez
Starting Goalie: Jonathan Quick
X-Factor: Jake Muzzin
Injuries: None
Finished: 6th in League, 2nd in West, 1st in Pacific

Pretty much the Chicago Blackhawks 2.0 with a better regular season. Drew Doughty is a playoff monster along with Jonathan Quick. There really isn’t much to say about the Kings that hasn’t already been said. Right now they are a Cup Contender until they aren’t.

The Dark Horses

Florida Panthers
Top 3 Scorers: Barkov(69), Ekblad(60), Wolski(57)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Aaron Ekblad and Brian Campbell
Starting Goalie: Roberto Loungo
X-Factor: Patrick Sharp
Injuries: None
Finished: 3rd in League, 3rd in East, 2nd in Atlantic

Surprise team of the season based on popular opinion. With such a young team and a complete rookie of a GM the Panthers are a complete wild card. With more playoff experience they could be a playoff contender but right now they are currently looking at a hard slog to the Stanley Cup Final being stuck in toughest division in the whole WHL.

Boston Bruins
Top 3 Scorers: Krejci(74), Eriksson(61), Pastarnak(55)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara
Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask
X-Factor: Torey Krug
Injuries: None
Finished: 5th in League, 4th in East, 3rd in Atlantic

One of the hottest 2nd half teams in the WHL. They have cooled off a little bit of late but are going into playoffs with a veteran laden team with lots of Cup experience on the team. With Tuukka Rask in net and Torey Krug quarterbacking the Power Play the Bruins are definitely a threat in the East.

Nashville Predators
Top 3 Scorers: Neal(58), Thornton(53), Ribeiro(52)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Shea Weber and Roman Josi
Starting Goalie: Pekka Rinne
X-Factor: Dmitrij Jaskin
Injuries: None
Finished: 8th in League, 3rd in West, 2nd in Central

They are in a similar position as the Florida Panthers. A team that faced a lot of turnover and came back from a losing skid in the middle of the season to take 2nd place in the Central. Right now they are not a Cup Contender until they prove it. Watch out for Jaskin though as he’s looking to break out and the playoffs might be the stage to do so.

The Heart Attack Teams

Arizona Coyotes
Top 3 Scorers: Bodker(74), Ennis(68), Domi(66)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Oliver-Ekman Larsson and Cam Fowler
Starting Goalie: Brian Elliott
X-Factor: Jason Spezza
Injuries: Anthony Duclair(1 month)
Finished: 12th in League, 6th in West, 3rd in Pacific

A great defense and a potentially high end offense, the Coyotes are a team that can win but sometimes have trouble doing so. Their goaltending isn’t that high end though so unless Brian Elliott has another gear, the Coyotes could find themselves struggling.

Washington Capitals
Top 3 Scorers: Ovechkin(93), Backstrom(72), Johansson(69)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): John Carlson and Mark Stuart
Starting Goalie: Braden Holtby
X-Factor: TJ Oshie
Injuries: None
Finished: 7th in League, 5th in East, 2nd in Metro

The best winger in the game with a supporting cast that could use some work. The Washington Capitals could be primed as a team to make some upsets. However that defense leaves much to be desired. Any time Mark Stuart is one of your top minute crunchers on defense it does not bode well for your chances.

Columbus Blue Jackets
Top 3 Scorers: Saad(66), Wennberg(66), Jenner(47)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Jack Johnson and David Savard
Starting Goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky
X-Factor: Nick Foligno
Injuries: Ryan Johansen(3 weeks), Mike Fisher(3 weeks)
Finished: 10th in League, 6th in East, 3rd in Metro

Affectionately known as the little engine that could team. They put hard work over skill and teamwork first. Even though Ryan Johansen can play again, the question is can he make an impact? The Jackets will have a very tough road ahead at all times as they don’t have high end skill that can make a difference game in and out.

Edmonton Oilers
Top 3 Scorers: Hall(84), Eberle(76), McDavid(67)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Dion Phaneuf and Andrej Sekera
Starting Goalie: Cam Talbot
X-Factor: Anton Slepyshev
Injuries: None
Finished: 11th in League, 5th in West, 2nd in Pacific

Possibly the worst goaltending out of the 16 teams in playoffs. However the Oilers have a very high end offense that is led by winger Taylor Hall. Dion Phaneuf has stepped into his role nicely with the Edmonton Oilers and is hoping to make the impact in playoffs he’s been preparing for since 2013. Definitely keep an eye on the Russian Rookie Anton Slepyshev who has been nothing but impressive in his time in the WHL.

The Cinderella Teams

Detroit Red Wings
Top 3 Scorers: Gustav Nyquist(79), Pavel Datsyuk(67), Teemu Pulkkinen(53)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Danny Dekeyser and Niklas Kronwall
Starting Goalie: Petr Mrazek
X-Factor: Mike Green
Injuries: Riley Sheahan(5 months), Henrik Zetterberg(2 months),
Finished: 13th in League, 7th in East, 4th in Atlantic

There’s many reasons why this team is considered a Cinderella team. First off the injuries certainly do not help. A future HHoFer on the IR won’t help out any team. The Red Wings had to go on a late season run just to make it into playoffs as well. Petr Mrazek is also the typical young goalie. One moment he is at the top of his game, the next minute he is having a bad stretch.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Top 3 Scorers: Hedman(63), Johnson(61), Drouin(53)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman
Starting Goalie: Ben Bishop
X-Factor: Claude Giroux
Injuries: None
Finished: 15th in League, 8th in East, 5th in Atlantic

This team went on a tear to finish off the season making the playoffs in the last week of the season. It was a great come back. However the team is completely stacked but seemingly incapable of scoring. Vaunted star Claude Giroux is struggling but if he turns it around it could be the push that Tampa needs to make the 1st round interesting.

Minnesota Wild
Top 3 Scorers: Parise(66), Pominville(52), Niederreiter(51)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin
Starting Goalie: Devan Dubnyk
X-Factor: Mikko Koivu
Injuries: None
Finished: 14th in League, 7th in West, 4th in Central

Without their GM the Wild have solidified themselves in a playoff spot. There are still a lot of holes in the team however. Other then Zach Parise the team lacks any offensive power. And let’s be honest, Devan Dubnyk isn’t the 1st goalie anyone would pick their team to the Stanley Cup Final.

Anaheim Ducks
Top 3 Scorers: Getzlaf(59), Perry(58), Moulson(57)
Top 2 Defenders(ATOI): Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen
Starting Goalie: Frederick Andersen
X-Factor: Radim Vrbata
Injuries: Michael Latta(2 months)
Finished: 17th in League, 8th in West, 4th in Pacific

The least likely team in the league to win the Stanley Cup and finishing 17th in the league certainly hasn’t helped their reputation. No 60 point scorers on the team either. Any defensive depth that the team did have left with Cam Fowler. Now their defense is led by two young players in Lindholm and Vatanen. If one of them does go down though the Ducks will be in huge trouble.

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