The Stanley Cup at the Lightning

The Stanley Cup at the Lightning

The trade deadline is now a thing of the past and we are now one month away from the start of the playoffs.

I feel like having fun predicting which team will win the Stanley Cup next June.

My choice: the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With good reason, many favor the Panthers and the Avalanche and also some see the Penguins, Rangers, Bruins, Flames or even the Hurricanes making a good start. And it’s hard to say otherwise since these are teams that have enormous potential.

But, me, I like the Lightning. In fact, I like this team since the beginning of the season, because it was also my prediction even before the first games.

In my opinion, the Lightning have the most accomplished defenseman for this series in Victor Hedman, who won the Conn-Smythe Trophy in 2020, and the team especially relies on the best goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy, winner of the same trophy last year. last year. The Russian can win games on his own when his attack is handcuffed.

Speaking of the attack, the offensive punch remains the same with the Stamkos, Point, Kucherov, Palat, Cirelli and Killorn. They have lived and these players have shown that they can stand out in close matches.

Also, the acquisitions of Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul came, in my opinion, to fill a need within Jon Cooper’s training. With Ross Colton, Hagel and Paul will have the mission of recreating the successes and energy of the Gourde-Coleman-Goodrow trio which played a major role in the conquests of 2020 and 2021.

And don’t forget that the Lightning signed Corey Perry last summer for his experience and success in the playoffs. He is capable of great things.

On defense, in addition to Hedman, the Lightning have very reliable defensemen like Ryan McDonagh, Jan Rutta and Erik Cernak in their ranks.

Currently, the team is having some trouble with only four wins in the last ten games. However, this segment of the schedule was grueling as the Lightning had to play nine of 10 road games in four different time zones. Plus, the team did it in just 20 days.

However, it will not be a cakewalk since the Lightning will face either the Panthers, the Maple Leafs or the Bruins in the first round of playoffs.

The Panthers have the best offense, but in the playoffs defensive play often makes the difference and that’s my main question mark. In fact, Florida is second to last in the NHL in turnovers. Only Canadians do worse. And besides, my level of confidence in goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is not very high in the playoffs. His past proves it.

I’m wary of the Bruins finishing the season strong, but I think the Lightning’s depth and advantage in net (Swayman vs. Vasilevskiy) will favor the Lightning. As for the Maple Leafs, I think there is too much instability in front of the net to let me think they will have a chance.

Anyway, I like to think that the Lightning will become the first team since the New York Islanders of the 80s to win the Stanley Cup three times in a row.

But the Lightning must stay healthy.

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