Lord Stanley Takes Centre Stage

Playoff hockey takes centre stage this time of the year with the level of play and intensity escalating in each game or series we happen to tune in, which at times often relates to channel surfing.

While many Canadians continue to wonder why this is allowed to happen, it show the diverse level of play and talent level in the league, but having said that we still enjoyed the recent World Junior Hockey.

Photo D. Laird Allan/Sportswave

Canadian fans should know that the last Canadian team to hoist the Cup was in 1993-94 when it was held high by the Canadiens marking 26 years of drought on Canadian soil!!

In addition the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals got an early booking on the golf course after being knocked by 7th place Carolina Hurricanes in what many considered a rough and tumble tough 7 game series.

The President Cup Trophy winners, Tampa Bay Lightning were also eliminated by the Columbus Blue Jackets in four straight having the odds makers pondering how bets are placed and counting their losses.

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The second place Bruins knocked off the 5th place Maple Leafs for the third time in three years advance to semi-finals that went to another 7 game series in another Eastern Conference upset.

The Islanders finished the season (48-27-7) with 103 points, one shy of Eastern Conference Capitals (48-28-8) with 104 under former Caps bench-boss Barry Trotz following his departure last season Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals.  

Trotz and crew shocked the hockey world by eliminating the Penguins in four straight advancing them to the semi-finals now facing off against Carolina who had an impressive season (46-29-7) with 99 points through the 82 game season.

The Western Conference Calgary Flames fell victim to the 8th ranked Colorado Avalanche in five game’s (4-1) that saw the Flames win the series opener advancing them to the semi-final round.

For the Flames the rest of the series was like skating on the Bow River in spring. but after that the Av’s took four straight from Calgary to advance to semi-finals .

Second place San Jose survived a scare against the defending Western Conference Champion Vegas Knights managing to rebound from a 3-1 deficit winning three straight games.

The series shocked many in the betting world of Los Vegas managing to go the distance (7 games) and was not without controversy surrounding a questionable Major penalty off a face-off in the Knights zone that had the league offer an official apology to the Vegas Knights.

The stars of tomorrow are currently on display throughout Canada with the fans coming out to catch the action and it’ll be anyone guess who is selected in the upcoming 2019 NHL Entry Draft held in Vancouver this June

Nashville finished in third (47-29-6) with 100 points on the season faced-off against the #6 ranked Dallas Stars after the teams split the first four games (2-2) but the Stars eventually finished the series taking both game 5 and 6 clinch their ticket to semifinals.

The battle between the fourth place Winnipeg Jets face-off against fifth place St.Louis Blues in a series that some considered to be the one to watch having both that teams split the first four games.

The Blues stepped up their plan of attack managing to take both game 5 and 6 in dramatic fashion clinching win in the late stages scoring with 15 seconds left in regulation time advancing them to the semi finals.

The second round match-ups in the West has the Sharks face the Avalanche, while  the Blues will face the Dallas stars that at press time has both the Sharks and the Blues up 1-0 in the series.

Not only do the teams advance some of the Officials make it to the second round as well, but given the controversy this might have been an easy choice for the supervisors this year?