With the NHL regular season complete, it’s now time to see which teams will excel in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. At first glance, it’s hard to see any team defeating the Boston Bruins.
But within this preview, I will name-check some players to watch out for and any possible upsets that I believe may occur.
Boston vs. Detroit
I think this series will be one of the most exciting match-ups of all. Both these teams have plenty of experience throughout their lineups. Some players to watch out for on Detroit include: Pavel Datsyuk, Gustov Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Niklas Kronwall. Each of these players has accumulated 30 points or more this season.
Some players to watch out for on Boston include: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara. This team has considerable size, and they’ve used their physical presence successfully all season long. Each of these players has accumulated 40 points or more this season.
I believe the deciding factor in this series comes down to goaltending. And at present, I think Tukka Rask has been playing far better than Jimmy Howard throughout the year.
Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
Canada’s hopes of claiming a Stanley Cup rest on just one team, the Montreal Canadians. Montreal faces off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. And they’ll have to do so on the road as well.
The Lightning stole home ice advantage from the Canadians with a 1-0 victory over the Capitals on the weekend. Some players to watch out for on Montreal include: PK Subban, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Vanek and Brendan Gallagher. Each of these players accumulated 40 points or more this season.
Some players that will heavily impact the Lightning include: Steven Stamkos, Valtterri Filppula and Ondrej Palat. These three guys are the heart and soul of this team. They have a combined total of 157 points this season. That’s pretty impressive considering Stamkos’s injury and the departure of long time Lightning forward Martin St. Louis.
I believe the only way the Lightning will have a chance in this series is if they stay out of the penalty box. The powerplay units the Montreal Canadians have available will eliminate the Lightning very quickly if they're given too many chances.
Also, I think Carey Price has a considerable advantage over Ben Bishop. Price has way more experience and overall skill in my opinion. But the fact that Tampa Bay has the home ice advantage may lead to an upset in this series.
However, I don’t believe the Lightning have enough depth in their roster to be able to match the Montreal Canadians.
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