After an exciting seven game series between Winnipeg and Nashville wrapped up yesterday we can finally talk about round three matchups! None of the four teams remaining were in the final four last year so it is a new, fresh start for the Conference finals this season. In the west, Winnipeg and Vegas will battle it out in what should be a high skilled and fast paced series. In the east, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will look to make it to the cup finals against Tampa bay. This is how I see each series playing out.
Winnipeg Vs Vegas: Jets win the series 4-2
I know I have bet against Vegas all season and especially all playoffs long but this is their time. For sure this time. Winnipeg is so deep on offence and the back end and Connor Hellebuyck is playing like a deserving Vezina candidate. I just don’t see where the Golden Knights match up positively against Winnipeg except in goal where I think Marc-Andre Fleury has the slight advantage. I could see Vegas winning game one on the road because of their long break and Winnipeg having just finished up a long emotional series but I don’t think this matchup goes past six games. I believe Winnipeg is the best team remaining and will represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final.
Washington Vs Tampa Bay: Capitals win the series 4-3
For This one I am going on a gut feeling. On paper I think Tampa could win this one in six but I just feel like this is Washington’s year. The Caps will need Nicklas Backstrom to come back sooner than later if they have a shot. Lars Eller played well in game seven in the second line roll but I don’t think it is sustainable. The key to beating Tampa is to slow down Brayden Point and the second line. Point has played great hockey all playoffs long and has been Tampa’s best player. This is the first time Ovechkin has been in the third round and I don’t think he or his teammates are going to let this opportunity slip away but they will have to play nearly flawless hockey for seven straight games.
We have been treated to some great hockey this playoffs and it is refreshing to see some new blood in round three. Either series really comes down to a coin flip at this point in the playoffs but it is always fun to take a guess. I think Winnipeg’s depth and Washington’s will to win will be the key to seeing an all W matchup in the Stanley Cup Final. Thanks for reading!