Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Wild West

            There's something special brewing for all four teams in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. There's a hope that maybe this is their year to bring home the Cup. After all, the Stanley Cup has been won by a Western Conference team the past four seasons and five of the last six seasons. All four teams combine for just one Stanley Cup with the Stars winning the sole Stanley Cup. Here's a look at what these four teams can do going into their Game 7s.

  • Dallas Stars: The Stars are loaded with players who can score. Players like Hart trophy finalist Jamie Benn (41 goals, 48 assists), Tyler Seguin (33 goals, 40 assists), and Jason Spezza (33 goals) make Dallas a legitimate threat near the net. With their goaltending not being the best (Kari Lehtonen has a 2.58 GAA this postseason), the Stars hope to outscore the opposition in the playoffs.
  • Nashville Predators: Colin Wilson has done a lot for Nashville this postseason, leading the team in points (13), goals (five), and assists (eight). Timely goals by Mike Fisher and Viktor Arvidsson have kept the Predators afloat against the Sharks.
  • San Jose Sharks: Armed with the 4th-best scoring attack (2.9 goals per game) and the 3rd-best power play in the NHL (22.5%), this might be the best team the Sharks have fielded in quite a long time. Brent Burns is an up-and-coming star guided by the veteran presence of both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
  • St. Louis Blues: Goalie Brian Elliot had three shutouts during the Blues' four-game shutout streak in the regular season. He can shut down teams mostly on his own, although that hasn't often been the case in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Rising star Vladimir Tarasenko has six goals in the playoffs and center David Backes has five goals. All these players are key for the Blues to finally bring St. Louis a Stanley Cup.

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