In the NHL playoffs, there was an incredible situation. Boston, which broke every conceivable and unimaginable record in the regular season, the reigning champion Colorado, the star Rangers, Toronto and Edmonton, the seemingly eternal Tampa – all these teams have already taken off. Playoff veterans like St. Louis, Washington, and Pittsburgh usually flew by, and those who never became champions or won, but for a long time, stay in the game.
For the eighth consecutive year, the Russian will win the Stanley Cup
Victory tradition! For the eighth year in a row, the Russian will definitely become the NHL champion
In reality, for the four conference finalists, a total of just two Stanley Cups will be typified. These are Dallas 1999, which then starred Modano, Nieuvendyk, Zubov, Lehtinen, Hull and Belfort, and Carolina 2006, headed by the youngsters Eric Staal, Justin Williams and Cam Ward, whose star only rose in that play-off. Notably, current Hurricanes coach Rod Brindamore was then the team’s captain.
But the cup drought does not mean that the teams are inexperienced. For Florida alone, the conference finals are virtually uncharted territory, the last time they went there when many of the team’s current players walked under the table or weren’t even born yet. But when you hit the jackpot by landing Matthew Tkachuk, and Sergei Bobrovsky is experiencing a second youth, you can move mountains.
Dallas, on the other hand, heroically reached the finals in 2020, losing only to the future Tampa dynasty. Carolina reached the conference finals with the same backbone a year earlier, in the first season under Brindamore’s leadership, and in principle they are considered permanent contenders for the title. Vegas has been a frequenter of the third rounds since birth, this is his fourth outing in six years of existence. By the way, the Knights also have the most champions: here are Phil Kessel (two Cups with Pittsburgh) and the former Kings, two-time Jonathan Quick (MVP of the 2012 playoffs) with the author of the “golden” goals. – 2014 by Alec Martinez and Alex Pietrangelo with Ivan Barbashev, who won with St. Louis, and Chandler Stevenson, who took the title with Washington.
We present the pairs of the third round, which will begin on the night of May 19, Moscow time.
Russians in the series: Pyotr Kochetkov – Sergei Bobrovsky Regular season meetings: 0:3, 4:0, 6:4
Carolina seems impossible to kill. Even in the regular season, she lost two key attackers due to injuries, the third left during the playoffs, and the team runs and runs, seeing no obstacles in front of her. The Islanders didn’t even have to score much in the first round, and in the New Jersey series, Carolina had a good ride on the opponent’s mistakes, being the first to qualify for the next stage. Slavin – Burns – perhaps the best defensive pair left in the playoffs, Frederik Andersen returned from injury in great shape, and Sebastian Aho no longer has to lead the attack alone – in the second round they began to mark all the links .
But “Florida” is not a bastard. This year’s premier dark horse jumped into the top eight at the last moment and already knocked out not only regular-season winner Boston, who was targeting last season’s Old Guard Cup campaign, but also star-studded Toronto. The Panthers have grown accustomed to the role of an outsider who delights in destroying other people’s dreams and goes after his own. Yes, in the second round, Ilya Samsonov’s injury played in his favor, but after all, Sergei Bobrovsky, having lost the competition to the third goalkeeper at the end of the regular season, now shows brilliant hockey and won seven of the nine games. Will the daring “Florida” run out of gas in the “Carolina” or will Bobrovsky continue to drag, and the fuse be enough to send another favorite on vacation?
Forecast: It’s hard to predict, but let’s bet it’s 4-3 in favor of the Panthers.
And who is your favourite?
Who will win the 2023 Stanley Cup?
Russians in the series: Ivan Barbashev – Evgeny Dadonov Regular season meetings: 0:4, 2:3B, 1:2B
The second round was fun for both teams. Vegas eliminated Edmonton in six games, alternating good and bad games, but in the end it sent two of the best players in the world on vacation. The team has everything that brings success in the playoffs: solid defenders, leaders who do not serve a number, but to lead (Jack Eichel is cut in the playoffs for the first time in his career, and he seemed born to him ), decent depth. The only weak point can be called the position of the goalkeeper: the main goalkeepers are sitting on an injury, Brossois’s third neck was injured at the beginning of the second round, but the fourth, Edin Hill, was thrown into the thick of cup battles. , is still doing an excellent job.
However, Dallas seems a bit, but still stronger in all aspects. Depths galore, leadership – through the roof. Roope Hinz is one point away from leading the scoring race, old Joe Pavelski is playing like it’s his last chance to win anything (which isn’t far from the truth), Tyler Seguin has the best playoffs of his career, Evgeniy Dadonov plays very good. And Jason Robertson has yet to include full turns (but does it have to happen at some point?). There is nothing to say about defense, Miro Heiskanen is just a machine, and old-timers and youngsters play very decently – the seventh game with Seattle is confirmation of this. But the main trump card of the “stars” is Jake Ettinger. He was shaky in the second round, but he always bounced back after the losses, and in the decisive games he becomes a key factor for victory.
Forecast: it will reach seven games, but Dallas will go further – 4-3.