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The Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Stanley Cup Playoffs have come to an end.  Congratulations to the Washington Capitols on winning their first championship in their 43-year history.

The first round was an uncertain one for almost every team, but mostly for this year's expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights. They were the first expansion team in NHL history to make it to the playoffs. They shattered records across the board and ending up winning their division.

Locally, the talk of the city was our very own, Winnipeg Jets. Only for the second time since relocating to Winnipeg, the Jets were back in the playoffs. The Winnipeg Jets franchise has never once won a playoff game, not one, so this year they had to make a great run to make their fans happy.

The teams that made it out of the first round were the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks, and the Vegas Golden Knights for the Western Conference. The teams who came out of the East were the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitols, Boston Bruins, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After the Golden Knights shocked the world by winning the first round series with a clean sweep, it was time to play another who just also came off a sweep in their series. Vegas did it again, they won the series in 6 games and advanced to the Western Conference finals and waited for the winner of the Jets and Predators series. That series went the distance and the Jets ended up taking the win by defeating the predators 5-1 in game 7. 

So, the conference finals for the West would be the Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights. For the East it would be the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitols.

The hometown Jets finished higher in the regular season standings so they had home ice advantage.   They came out strong; taking game one but that did not really matter as the Golden knights rolled right by the Jets in five games. This left Jets fans heart broken, but optimistic for this young team.

In the East this series went the distance. The Capitols pulled away in game 7, winning 4-0. For Alex Ovechkin, the Capitols captain this would be his first trip the Stanley cup final.

It all comes down to this the Stanley cup final between the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitols. The Knights thrilled their fans in the T-Mobile arena taking the first game in a thriller, winning 6-4.  Things were looking good for them but Washington would storm back for game 2, winning 3-2 and going back home with the series tided 1-1. In game 3 there would be much of the same.  The Caps took the game 3-1 and lead the series 2-1. Vegas told the media they would be a different team for game 4 and win the game, but they got even worse, losing 6-2. Now on the brink of elimination, Vegas could see the Stanley Cup slipping away from them.

Now back at home after losing both of the games in Washington, it was a must win situation for Vegas or their dream season would be over.  On the other side, it could be an historic day for not only the Washington franchise, but for Alex Ovechkin. Having scored over 600 goals in his career, giving him the title of one of the best goal scorers of all time, he could complete his legacy by winning the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. After the second period it was looking like the series was going to go at least one more game, but forward Devonte Smith-Pelly scores an amazing goal to tie it up at 3 to add the drama of the game. With 7:37 left in the game Lars Eller scores perhaps the biggest goal in this teams history.  The Knights couldn't find the key to get another one past Braden Holtby and the Capitols took game 5 by a score of 4-3, winning the Stanley Cup.  Alex Ovechkin, added another title to his resume, being named the MVP for the playoffs.

Before the season started people wrote the Golden Knights off because they didn't think they had the talent to go far but they were wrong.  People had trouble figuring out why, but I think it was because this was a fresh start for all of the players and they did not have much pressure on them.  They got to meet and play with new people and make new chemistry with them. Just like at the Tec Voc Hockey Academy where you will meet new faces and friends. Getting to play the sport you love with people you connect with makes for success. This is why the Knights were the dark horse who rose to the top. 



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