Over the past two weeks, NHL fans have been treated to nightly spectacles of ice hockey, in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s hard to imagine the intensity of the Playoffs getting any hotter, but thanks to the league’s new re-alignment, that is precisely what happened.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are always an exciting affair, from the emotion, to the physicality, and the miracles that seemingly become commonplace. However, each year, fans are left wondering just what would have happened if two specific teams met that season.
Some may call it luck, but in 2014, it seems that everyone got their wish.
In California, it’s the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, the same match-up that brought us a dramatic seven-game series the year before. Out in the Central Division, the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues squared off in the Playoffs for the 11th time, but the first in over 10 years. All the way East, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins are set to have another classic battle in the second-round.
The teams may have changed, but the game itself hasn’t. Although we have seen some of the most physical series’ to date, the miracle comeback by the Columbus Blue Jackets, marathon triple-overtime by Blues and Blackhawks, controversial win by the Kings, and miraculous goal by Mikael Granlund are all things us hockey fans have the pleasure of seeing each season.
Although the re-alignment might sting for teams like the Winnipeg Jets, who are on the outside looking in at a tough Central Division, it seems that the future will be just as good, if not better, when teams begin to settle in to their respective divisions.
The most exciting round of playoff hockey I have ever witnessed culminates tonight with a bang: three Game Sevens. The Kings have the opportunity for the “reverse sweep”, the Colorado Avalanche will try to fend off the hungry Minnesota Wild, and the New York Rangers will battle with the Philadelphia Flyers just 24 hours after their last game.
With Montreal/Boston yet to come, and the possibility of a Flyers/Penguins re-match, or a Blackhawks/Avalanche battle, the volume may be decreasing, but the action is just heating up. There are 12 games to go before one team will take home the ultimate prize in hockey, and for an avid NHL fan, that couldn’t sound better.
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You can interact with Skylar on Twitter @Millly17.