And then there were four. Four teams that will remain in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s cup. Four groups of players who dream about doing ridiculous things with the trophy. Last round, we saw the defending champs go down, a Cinderella story continue, a divisional grudge match get settled and arguably the most entertaining second round matchup in years! Here’s who I have moving on in this round.
Who Will Win The 2018 Conference Finals?
Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning
On paper, the Lightning have all of the momentum and haven’t been as tested as the Caps. They should be more rested and favored, right? Wrong. The Capitals being tested means that they have stared down their demons and have finally come out on the other side. To me, this series boils down to two things – goaltending and hunger. I believe that Washington has the edge in both categories. Braden Holtby has regained his swagger that he had last season. He’s gotten better and better as the postseason has moved along.
Meanwhile, Caps players have shown a downright desperation to move forward. John Carlson has had the best offensive playoff season by a defenseman in many years. Give me Washington in six games. The high scorer in this series will be Evgeni Kuznetsov of the Capitals.
Winnipeg Jets vs Vegas Golden Knights
The Knights are the story of the sports world in 2018. It’s unfathomable to think of what they have accomplished. While the Sharks offered their toughest test to date, Vegas persevered and have been resting, waiting for the Preds. If it weren’t for the Knights the Jets would be the feel good story of the postseason. They’re a team that has struggled for years before finally making it and moving on to the Conference final. I believe that we’re looking at a high-scoring series, with the Jets forcing Vegas to score than they’ve had to thus far. It’ll come down to whether or not Winnipeg’s defense is good enough to withstand the speed game of the Knights.
I see the Winnipeg’s offense as the antidote to the vaunted speed and forecheck attack of the Knights. The Jets are simply too deep up front to not be able to counter-punch Vegas, even in Sin City, where the Knights have been so good. Give me the Jets in another seven-game series gem. The high scorer in this series will be Mark Scheifele of the Jets.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He’s also a contributor to ESPN 101.3 Plattsburgh/Burlington. Follow him @MatthewWords.