The Stanley Cup playoffs are well underway and the championships are within sight. Only four teams remain as the battle for the Stanley Cup comes to a head.
In the Eastern Conference Final, defending East Champions the Tampa Bay Lightning will face the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both teams have dominated their opponents throughout the two prior playoff series.
The Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Islanders in five games, while the Penguins defeated the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals in five and six games, respectively.
The Lightning have a young but experienced team led by Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop went down in game one with a lower body injury but is expected to return soon. In the meantime, Andrei Vasilevskiy is a talented backup.
On the opposing side, Matt Murray is holding strong for the Penguins as goalie through this playoff run. Additionally, Pittsburgh has been on a hot streak since the end of the regular season, led by star captain Sidney Crosby.
The Lightning are determined to make it back to the championship for another chance at winning the cup. However, the Penguins are on fire and seem to have broken their playoff curse. With such great momentum, it looks like the Penguins will take this series in seven games.
The other two teams fighting it out for a spot to compete for the cup are the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues. The Blues beat out defending champion the Chicago Blackhawks in a tough seven games in the first round followed by another tough obstacle of seven more games against the Dallas Stars. The Sharks got through the first round, defeating the LA Kings in four games, went on to face the Nashville Predators in seven in the second round.
The Sharks have the offensive power to match up with the Blues. They’re led by Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns who have combined for over 45 points in the postseason. The Blues look to have a slight advantage over the Sharks and may be able to win the series in seven games just as they have done in the past two rounds.
These next couple weeks are sure to be thrilling as the players look to leave it all on the ice, the coaches strategize for victory, and the fans cheer their favorite teams on to a Stanley Cup title.