Rhys Patterson’s Stanley Cup predictions


Rhys Patterson, Sports Editor

Only three teams remain in the Stanley Cup playoffs with the same goal, bringing home the Cup. The Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, and Florida Panthers aren’t the typical markets expected to be playing this far into May, but it doesn’t mean that this final stretch of hockey will be any less exciting. 

The Stars vs Golden Knights is a series that features two of the best teams in the Western Conference. Although the play on the ice thus far has shown very little gap in talent between the two clubs, Vegas does currently hold a 3-0 series lead after winning the first two games in overtime and the third in Dallas. Stars goalie Jake Oettinger will need to turn his game to another level if the Stars have any chance of making a comeback in this series.

The southern markets in the NHL have had plenty to be thrilled about this season as the Hurricanes and Panthers battled things out in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Panthers are giving off team-of-destiny vibes after overcoming a 3-1 series deficit in the first round over the record-setting Bruins. The club has only lost one game in the playoffs since the start of round two. For Carolina, they faced loads of adversity being down 2-0 and losing both games at home in overtime. The Canes are used to facing tough situations after losing All-Star Andrei Svechnikov with a torn ACL midway through the season and an elite scorer in Max Pacioretty to a torn Achilles. If any team could fight back and make this a series, it would be the Hurricanes.

The Panthers ended up completing the four-game sweep of the Canes Wednesday after a late game-winner from Tkachuk. Each of the four games was decided by just a single goal. 

Looking ahead at an actual prediction for the Cup this year, you have to currently take the two teams with controlling series leads to come out of their conference. A series between the Golden Knights and Panthers would be interesting because Florida would most likely once again be the heavy underdog. I truly believe that the Panthers are a team of destiny this season, so I would pick them to take home the cup in six hard-fought games.