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The Lightning Will Win the Stanley Cup

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Jackman Chiu

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Marcus Roberts, Head Writer

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In National Hockey League hockey, each team plays eighty-two regular season games to decide which teams will make the playoffs in April. According to team location, each hockey city is categorized into one of two conferences: Eastern or Western. Each conference has two divisions: Central and Pacific in the west and Atlantic/Metropolitan in the east. 

Every year, each division sends its three highest winning teams to the Stanley Cup Playoffs; each conference also sends two wildcard teams (ranked seventh and eighth in their conference) to the playoffs.  

It’s only a month and a half into the season, but I can say for certain which teams will make the playoffs and why. Let’s start in the Eastern Conference. 

Atlantic Division 

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs – The Leafs are currently ranked second in the division behind the Lightning, but their roster will continue to prove how consistent they are throughout the season. 
  1. Tampa Bay Lightning – They will win the Stanley Cup this year because it is their time. I predict, since this team has been just as disappointing as the Capitals in recent years, they are due for a championship. 
  1. Boston Bruins – Boston is a team for the future. They have exceptional young talent in Charlie McAvoy, Danton Heinen, and Jake DeBrusk; they will comfortably win a playoff spot. 

Metropolitan Division 

  1. Washington Capitals – Capitals fans and players are still fired up from their Stanley Cup championship last year. It’s no secret they want another. 
  1. Pittsburgh Penguins – As it stands right now, the Penguins will not make the playoffs this year. However, they have just the right players to finish the season on a winning streak.  
  1. Columbus Blue Jackets – Another year of hard work, and this time it might pay off; don’t be surprised to see them make a deep playoff run.  

Wild Card 

  1. Buffalo Sabres – Buffalo has been very hot as of late but expect them to hit a mid-season slump; It is a stretch for me to include them in the playoffs. 
  1. New York Islanders – Like Buffalo, the Islanders have the rest of the season to run into their usual wall. I don’t think this is a playoff team, but I don’t know who else to put here.  

I don’t have any faith in the Metropolitan division this year, but complete trust in the Atlantic. This conference’s imbalance will be on full display when the Lightning sweep the Capitals in the conference finals.  

Western Conference 

Central Division 

  1. Nashville Predators – Nothing new this year. Top spot for the conference’s top team.  
  1. Colorado Avalanche – From what I’ve seen so far this season, the Avs scare me the most. They’ll be challenging the predators for the conference if they continue to play like they have been. 
  1. Winnepeg Jets – The Columbus Blue Jackets/under-the-radar team of the West, the Jets will make it to the playoffs… you have my word. 

Pacific Division 

  1. San Jose Sharks – The Sharks are overrated. But, the addition of the best defenseman in the league will provide some serious statistics. 
  1. Edmonton Oilers – I’m still sort of waiting for this team to be unbeatable in the middle of a season, and I think it’s going to happen… eventually. 
  1. Las Vegas Golden Knights – Can’t count them out either; they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in their very first season last year. Vegas, do your thing. 

Wild Card 

  1. Calgary Flames – The Flames are first in their division right now… It’s not that I think they will be that bad throughout the rest of the season, but the other Pacific teams will be hungrier. 
  1. Vancouver Canuck– This may not be a great prediction to include the Canucks in the playoffs. In fact, I don’t think it will happen… I just hope it does. 

This conference is easy to predict if the Avalanche don’t fall apart, or the Golden Knights somehow make magic again. The winner of Nashville/Colorado in the finals will be ripped apart by the Lightning in six games.

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