Stanley Cup Playoffs Continue to Be Unpredictable
By Patrick Hoffman
One thing I love about the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs is that they are unpredictable.
Year in and year out, it seems that different teams surprise everyone and exceed expectations. There also seems to be a lot more upsets than in any other sport.
That brings us to today (May 9). Raise your hand if you had the Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks, and St. Louis Blues as the four teams in the Conference Finals.
Not surprising that I don't see any hands raised. Sure, maybe you could make a case for having a good feeling about the Bruins and Sharks, but definitely not the Blues and the Canes.
When it comes to the Blues, they were the worst team in the league at one point. They had trouble scoring, keeping the puck out of their net, and appeared to be heading towards missing the postseason for the second straight year.
That changed in a big way as the Blues were one of, if not the best team in the league in the second half of the season. Everything that plagued them in the beginning of the year was no longer an issue, mainly because rookie netminder Jordan Binnington came in, stood on his head, and won a lot of games.
In these playoffs, they knocked out a true Cup contender in the Winnipeg Jets in six games. In the second round against the Dallas Stars, they won Game 6 on the road and then won Game 7 in double overtime.That's two great teams that they beat.
In terms of the Hurricanes, no one really knew what to expect. The team had a new head coach in Rod Brind'Amour, had traded away Jeff Skinner, and their goaltending looked like it could end up being inconsistent all season long.
Clearly, the doom and gloom places on the Hurricanes prior to the start of the season was unnecessary. Brind'Amour did an absolutely outstanding job this year as his team worked hard every single night, played the game the right way, and showed that they could compete with anyone.
The Hurricanes have certainly shown that in these playoffs so far. They upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals in seven games and then blew by the New York Islanders in a sweep. That's two Cup contenders they beat in a total of 11 games.
Both of these teams still have a hill to climb against two great hockey teams. With that said, when it comes to the playoffs, it's time for hockey fans to expect the unexpected.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.