The Blue and Gold

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018

Matthew Rich, Author

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Earning the Stanley Cup is every hockey player’s dream, the greatest achievement, besides being admitted into Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame. To obtain this iconic trophy, teams must progress through and win the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Stanley Cup Playoffs start with 16 teams, the top three teams from each division (Atlantic, Central, Metropolitan, Pacific) and two wild card teams from both divisions (Eastern and Western). These teams battle through the three rounds leading up to the Final Game. Unlike other sports, where teams get into playoffs based on their win count, playoff spots are based on the amount of goals each team makes. While this means a team could make it to the playoffs with zero wins, there is usually a strong positive association between number of goals and wins.

During the playoffs, teams from each division play a best-of-seven style game through the first round, the second round, the semi-finals, and the finals. The teams that placed higher in the season play the first two games at their stadium, giving them a huge home-ice advantage.

The San Jose Sharks have swept the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday 4/18 with a four game win streak. The Sharks won the first game 3-0 with left winger Evander Kane scoring two points in the 2nd period, along with forward Brent Burns’ goal. In the second game of the series, the Sharks won 3-2, thanks to center Logan Couture’s goal and assist. In the most recent game, the Sharks destroyed the Ducks, winning 8-1 with a four point second period and merciless three point third period. In this performance, both Couture and Kane were big helps, Couture having one goal, two assists, and Kane with one goal, one assist. In the final game of the series, the Sharks won 2-1. The Sharks scored an early goal and until the 3rd period, no other goals were made. In the 3rd, the Ducks tied up the game 1-1, but the Sharks came around to clinch the game with a 2-1 win. They are now moving up to the next round where they will face the Las Vegas Golden Knights, looking for another sweep.

The Sharks series with the Golden Knights is over, losing 4-2 in the series, eliminated for the playoffs. In the Sharks first win, both Brent Burns and Logan Couture scored two goals for a 4-3 win over the Knights. In their second win, goalie Martin Jones had 34 saves to shut out the Golden Knights 4-0, along with Logan Couture’s and Brenden Dillon’s two assists each, tying the series. Losing the series may be because of Evander Kane’s suspension after 2 cross-checking calls against him. Unfortunately, the Sharks have fallen and no longer have a chance at the cup until next year.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to defend their title and win the playoffs for the third year in a row, while the Las Vegas Golden Knights are looking to go all the way and win it their inaugural season. The Sharks were looking to beat the Penguins as revenge for the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals.

While the Penguins are expected to be taking the cup home, anything could happen. Stay tuned for news relating to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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