Eight teams have been reduced to four. The battle for the conference victories in the 2016 Stanley Cup play offs have started! On the west side we find St. Louis Blues facing the San Jose Sharks. Both teams won the quarter finals in game seven; this says something about exactly how tough the Western Conference is. On the east side we have Tampa Bay Lightning facing the Pittsburgh Penguins. They got a bit of an easier ride, Lightning eliminating New York Islanders 4 games to 1, and Penguins the Capitals 4 games to 2.
Stanley Cup Conference Finals 2016
St Louis Blues – San Jose Sharks
Blues have never won a Stanley Cup. 2016 might be their year. Their ride in the play offs so far has been far from smooth though, with two game seven wins. In the round of 16 they managed to eliminate the 2015 champions Chicago Blackhawks and in the quarterfinal they defeated Dallas Stars in the last game of the series. San Jose Sharks got a great start of the play offs, eliminating Los Angeles Kings 4 games to 1. In the quarterfinal they defeated Nashville Predators in game seven.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Pittsburgh Penguins
Tampa Bay Lightning have two straight 4 to 1 games victories in the play offs; against Detroit Red Wings in the round of 16 and against New York Islanders in the quarterfinal. Pittsburgh eliminated New York Rangers 4-1 in the first playoff round and then, the favourites, Washington Capitals, 4-2 in the second run. This meant another early defeat for the Caps during the ten year long Alexander Ovechkin-era.
Since we predicted a final between St Louis and Washington before the quarterfinals, we now have to adjust our guess a bit; how about a final between St Louis and Penguins? Will Sidney Crosby lead his team to a second Stanley Cup Victory? In 2009 he became the youngest captain in the NHL to win the trophy when Pittsburgh won the final series against Detroit.