The Calgary Flames managed to climb to the top this season in the Western Conference, while the Colorado Avalanche nearly missed qualification when it came to the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. So to see who will win the series, we decided to break it down for you.

How Each Team Arrived Here

The Calgary Flames didn’t make the playoffs in the previous season after making the playoffs during the 2016/17 season for one important reason, offence. The Flames had a goal per game average of 2.63, placing them 27th in the NHL. Therefore, Brad Treliving, the General Manager of the Flames, decided to go to work. He decided to fire Glen Gulutzan as a coach and hired Bill Peters from Carolina. He also made significant trades, moving Michael Ferland and Dougie Hamilton for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. He also signed James Neal and Derek Ryan. These changes, along with Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau, assisted the Flames to be the third-best in the league when it came to offence.

The Colorado Avalanche had a far more complicated route to the playoffs where they clinched the wild-card spot within the last few days of the NHL regular season. They achieved it with Philipp Grubauer as their goalie who they acquired from the Capitals last summer. Although depth is not something that can be associated with the Avalanche team, they did impress with one of the best lines in the league when they are healthy and working together. However, do they have enough to eliminate the Flames when they face each other?

Defence

There’s no denying that Giordano is among the favourite to take home the Norris Trophy after a phenomenal season that saw him score a total of 17 goals, accumulates 74 points, and provides a plus-39 rating. He is currently paired with T.J Brodie. Hanifin and Travis Hamonic is essentially the other duo. However, then things start getting a little thin with Dalton Prout, Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson, and Oscar Fantenberg in the mix. The Colorado Avalanche boast with Tyson Barrie, accumulating 59 points in only 78 matches during the NHL regular season. He is coupled with Nikita Zadorov impressing with a plus-19 regular season. Erik Johnson is regarded as the leader when it comes to ice time, skating with Samuel Girard, while Patrik Nemeth and Ian Cole make up the rest of the group.

Health

Since 21 March, Rantanen has been skating for the team in a non-contact team jersey this week. However, it seems like he will be answering the bell for the first game this week. The Colorado Flames are extremely healthy. Therefore, the advantage is given to them if Rantanen makes his return.

Prediction

The Avalanche remain in it with Grubauer. However, the offence of the Flames will prove too much to control in the game. Thankfully, Cale Makar as the number 1 prospect when it comes to hockey, along with the lottery pick in Ottawa means that they will go for a loaded season next year.

The Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks will face each other in a match that will undoubtedly go down as one of the best games in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. The only question is, who is going to win the match? Let’s take a more in-depth look at the upcoming game.

How Did these Two Teams Get Here?

The San Jose Sharks didn’t achieve it until September, landing the NHL offseason prize in Erik Karlsson, providing them with two elite offensive blueliners in the league as well as Brent Burns. The 34-year-old defenseman joined an experienced team that were built to reach the playoffs this season, thanks to players like Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Evander Kane, and Joe Pavelski. During the trade deadline, the team also acquired Gustav Nyquist, allowing the Sharks to finish in second place for the season. The only problem is that the Sharks were considered the worst team when it came to saving percentage, and in-team, the defence were ranked 21st.

The Vegas Golden Knights were directly behind the Sharks who were considered the expansion darlings last season which managed to be defeated in the Stanley Cup final. The Golden Knights made a few significant upgrades during the offseason when they obtained Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Paul Stastny. However, due to accidental injuries to vital players, expected regression, and inconsistent play, the Vegas Golden Knights, were left in 3rd place within the Pacific Division.

Depth

The Vegas Golden Knights will return with most of the players that assisted them during the postseason, including Cody Eakin, Ryan Reaves, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Alex Touch. The San Jose Sharks boast with players like Melker Karlsson, Barclay Goodrow, Joe Thornton, Kevin Labanc, and Marcus Sorensen. This will make the advantage a tie.

Defence

Burns was considered the best offensive defenseman in the league, producing 300 goal shots and skating for more than 25 minutes a game for the Sharks. He will be going up against none other than Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Karlsson will skate with Justin Bruan, Joakim Ryan, and Brenden Dillion. The Vegas Golden Knights will return with the same group as the previous season, including Nick Holden, Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb, Deryk Engelland, Colin Miller, and Nate Schmidt. This will give the Sharks the advantage.

Health

San Jose will be at full strength for the match once Meier returns. However, there’s going to be concerned regarding the effectiveness of injured players, such as Pavelski and Karlsson. The Knights are also going to be at full strength for the game without Erik Haula. This will be another advantage for the Sharks in the game.

Prediction

This is going to be one hell of a match. Both teams have managed to make a few significant upgrades to their teams and its highly possible that the series will be determined by whoever wins this match. It’s going to be a perfect match game with plenty up for a stake at the end.

The numbers of the Tampa Bay Lightning team during the 2018/19 regular season tells an exciting story. The points and wins in the standings bring them into the conversation as the best team in the history of the NHL. The statistics for the offensive team makes them a juggernaut. The accomplishments on an individual level will provide tons of NHL Awards during the summer. However, the most significant number is undoubtedly the salary cap at $79.5 million which the franchise has managed to construct underneath the name for several seasons. With that in mind, let’s take a look at other surprising numbers for Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Standings

With a total of 62 victories, Tampa Bay is currently tied with the Red Wings from the 1995/96 season for the team with the most regular season wins in the history of the NHL. Their incredible 30 road victories are second in the NHL of all time, placing them behind the Detroit Red Wings during the 2005/06 season with 31.

With a .780 in points percentage, Tampa Bay has the second highest rate for a regular season, placing them just behind the Detroit Red Wings during the 1995/96 season with .799. This makes it the 5th-best in the history of the NHL for a team that has played at least 80 matches.

Tampa Bay is also 21 points ahead of Calgary Flames who are currently in second place. This is considered the widest gap between second and first place teams since the Red Wings from the 1995/96 season who managed to finish 27 points ahead of the second place team, Colorado Avalanche.

Tampa Bay Lightning is only the second team in the history of the NHL to post four different winning streaks of 7 matches or more during a single regular season.

The Team

Tampa Bay managed to finish with a plus-103 goal differential which is the second-highest in the last two decades. The Senators during the 2005/06 season is the only NHL team with a higher rate. Tampa Bay’s 3.96 goals per match are the highest in the National Hockey League since 1996.

There is a total of 37 matches this season where Tampa Bay managed to score 5 or more goals. This is considered the most goals by an NHL team since Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1995/96 season with 41.

There is a total of 19 matches this season where Tampa Bay has managed to score 6 or more goals. This is considered the most goals by an NHL team since Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1995/96 season with 26.

Tampa Bay had trailed behind when they entered the third period a total of 21 times during the regular season which is the fewest in the National Hockey League and the fewest since the Boston Bruins during the 2008/09 season with 17.

This gives you a better perspective of just how sensational Tampa Bay Lightning has been in recent years.

Don’t tell Gerard Gallant, the head coach for the Vegas Golden Knights, that the rest of the NHL regular season is pointless. Even though the Vegas Golden Knights already managed to become the 7th NHL team to reach the playoffs in each of their first two seasons, Gegard Gallant insisted that the last three matches mean loads to them as a team. This certainly showed when they played on Monday evening.

Vegas Golden Knights vs Edmonton Oilers

Jonathan Marchessault managed to score his 6th game-winning goal, allowing the Vegas Golden Knights to earn a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

“This evening provided a perfect game for myself and my team,” Gallant stated. “Going down the stretch, these games don’t mean much when it comes to standings. However, it keeps my guys going, and it keeps them going well. It’s for this reason that I thought my team played a solid, good game this evening.”

With an incredible third position in the Pacific Division, along with a first-round date for the playoffs with San Jose already in the works, the Vegas Golden Knights managed to end their 5-game losing streak. The Vegas Golden Knights managed to win the season series 3-1 where they outscored the Edmonton Oilers 15-9.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Cody Eakin also managed to score for the Vegas Golden Knights, which is 11-4-2 since the deadline for trades. Malcolm Subban stopped 18 shots and made his 9th consecutive start after replacing Marc-Andre Fleury. Subban led to end a 0-3-2 skid since he earned his first career shootout on 21 March and boasts with a 2.67 goals-against average across the nine-match span.

“It’s a remarkable win, for sure, and an incredible team victory,” Subban stated. “We always attempt to score the first goal to get in front which helps a great deal during the game. It makes it a lot easier as well.”

Eakin managed to give the Vegas Golden Knights an early 1-0 lead during the first period when he obtained the puck outside of the blue line and skated to the right circle where he produced a phenomenal wrist shot to get the puck past Mikko Koskinen.

“Every match is important to us this time of year, and we always want to establish some good habits. This evening was an incredible start, and we would like to continue down this path, Eakin stated. “I believe we are well aware of how we can be successful. I believe we had some great habits this evening to get back to form a winning streak.”

Edmonton Oilers

Marchessault’s game-winning goal occurred in 51 seconds during the second. Meanwhile, the Oilers began the match with playoff hopes. However, they were soon eliminated halfway through the game when Colorado managed to earn a point against St. Louis.

“We are unfortunately out this time around. Regardless of how many points you make, eight are in, and eight are out,” Ken Hitchcock stated after the match.

Some trades within the NHL trade deadline paid off handsomely on 25 February 2019, while others didn’t. We are here to identify the worst and best so far and what will be next for the teams and players in the NHL.

Carl Hagelin – Washington Capitals

For years, fans of the Washington Capitals loathed Carl Hagelin while he was playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers as a tenacious and speedy forward. Now? They are in love with the guy after he was acquired by the Washington Capitals from Los Angeles on 21 February 2019 for a 3rd-rounder during this season and a 6th-rounder in 2020.

Hagelin has as many points in 11 matches with the Capitals as he had in 22 matches with the Kings where he scored two goals and assisted with three more. His shot attempts of 57.76% at 5-on5 merely is incredible, and he has been a valuable addition to the third line with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller.

Ryan Donato – Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild team continue to fight for a playoff spot this season and the guy that can take them there is assisting them at the moment to make this a reality. Ryan Donato has accumulated 13 points in a total of 13 matches since he joined the Minnesota Wild team in a trade that saw Charlie Coyle go to Boston. Since he arrived, Donato has been the scoring leader for the team, and while he only has four goals so far.

Donato is currently second in the team with shots behind Jason Zucker who is the most natural goal-scorer for the team. Donato is now playing more than 16 minutes per match, giving him the opportunity to be a key player during huge situations. There’s still a long way to go before this trade will play out, but at the moment he makes a positive impact which Minnesota Wild certainly needs.

Mark Stone – Vegas Golden Knights

If you are looking for the most positive impact in a team, you don’t have to look further than Mark Stone. Just because he is considered a natural choice doesn’t make it less accurate. The Vegas Golden Knights have managed to accumulate a league-best of 18 points from the potential 20 since the trade took place, outscoring their opponents by a staggering 41-22 margin since it occurred.

Even though the four assists and four goals Mark Stone has produced in these matches aren’t as jaw-dropping as other players in the NHL. He has completely changed the game in various ways for the Vegas Golden Knights since he arrived.

During the 135 minutes Stone has played, the Vegas Golden Knights are controlling an astonishing 65.9% of unblocked shot attempts, 71.9% of high-danger looks, and 64.8% of shots on goal. The combination of Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty, and Mark Stone takes the pressure off the top line and gives the opposing defence a difficult time.

Like most of us, Bruce Boudreau, the coach for Minnesota Wild, was in complete awe when he witnessed Tampa Bay Lightning. A squad that already managed to clinch a playoff spot while they continue to threaten the record in the NHL for most points scored by a team during a regular season of 82 games. They currently boast with 108 points in only 69 games.

Tampa Bay Lightning is undoubtedly a juggernaut with most online sports betting sites. Setting their odds at 5-2 to win the Stanley Cup this year, while other teams only received odds of 9-1. Most agree that their quest for the Stanley Cup is an inevitability. This shows you how dominant that indeed is at the moment.

On occasion, however, the supernatural Tampa Bay Lightning team can look mortal. Minnesota Wild managed to shut them out with a glorious 3-0 victory. It is becoming the second team this year to win against Tampa Bay Lightning. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Tampa Bay Lightning squad can be destroyed going forward.

Offence Gets Quieter the Deeper a Series Goes

Jon Cooper acknowledged earlier this season that one of his goals is to get his team to win championships with a better defence. He wants his team to win matches 1-2, instead of 5-4. Perhaps he is just a realist, cause Tampa Bay is not a 5-4 team. In both postseason appearances, Tampa Bay has managed to roll through the first two rounds. However, in both years they managed to fall in the conference finals. Therefore, once the postseason is on the line, Tampa Bay struggles to deliver their best.

Slow Down The Pace

We witnessed how the Capitals produced a master class on how to slow down a game when they played against the Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Penguins en route to the Stanley Cup. They stopped some of the quickest attacks in the league by grinding down the game to a complete halt within the neutral zone thanks to their vaunted 1-1-3 trap. If this can be achieved against Tampa Bay, they might be stopped in their tracks to score as much as they are doing now.

Limit Power Plays

Tampa Bay Lightning has the most incredible power play conversion rate in more than three decades. Regardless of how their opponents attempt to stop them, they will eventually find a perfect path to score. All their opponents can do is find a way to make it difficult for them. This can be achieved by limiting their opportunities and space, but its easier said than done. Tampa Bay’s top scorers are so frightening with the puck that they force their defenders into compromised positions, limiting them to pick between conceding a goal or a penalty. The power play from Tampa Bay Lightning is such a problem that the only solution for defending it is not to provide the opportunity for it in the first place.

Kieran Hanrahan wore a New York Islanders jersey to a home game where the New York Islanders were playing. It still gave him the impression that he was sitting in enemy territory.

“I was quite concerned coming in,” Kieran Hanrahan stated as he stood in the Nassau Coliseum concourse.

Homecoming for John Tavares

This is because Kieran Hanrahan was probably the only Islanders fan in the crowd who had the guts to wear a jersey with John Tavares written on the back. Any defacement or desecration to the game on Thursday night, which was Tavares’s first match on Long Island as a Toronto Maple Leafs member. There was no overwriting on the nameplate with creative editings, such as traitor, which thousands of hostile fans of the New York Islanders have done that evening. Kieran Hanrahan was wearing the number 91 jersey with the C on it as captain with absolute pride.

“We are mostly here to support him. There’s no doubt that he is a die-hard fan. Kieran Hanrahan stated as he motioned to his son who was also wearing a Tavares jersey during the game.

Tavares decided to leave the Islanders last summer to join the Maple Leafs, a native from Ontario who was heading back home on a 7-year contract. “It was difficult to watch him go,” Kieran Hanrahan stated. “However, my sons participate in travel hockey. Therefore, I believe if my son were from Long Island, he would want to play for the New York Islanders and that’s something that you cannot argue with.”

Well, that’s up for debate as most fans of the Islanders savaged Tavares during, before, and after the match. The fans who managed to take it personally when John Tavares confessed his dedicated to the New York Islanders and his desire to re-sign with the team. Only to change his mind for an opportunity to play with his childhood dream team, felt the indignity when he dismissed the franchise the first time around.

Bitter Long Islands Fans

Before the start of the match, the parking lot was filled with fans that managed to express their displeasure with John Tavares. The nameplates on jerseys were made up of electrical tape that showcased “Judas” and “Liar”. There was also towels and signs that called him a traitor along with rubber snakes as a symbol of his recent treachery. Even the Tavares jersey was laid out on the road for people to drive over it with their cars. If someone missed it with their vehicle, fans would ask them to stop to have another go. There were also fans that burned their Tavares jerseys into ash.

Inside the Coliseum, John Tavares was taunted more than any other player in the history of the NFL. This all started long before the warm-up took place where fans were yelling “we don’t need you, Tavares”. Fans are not happy with Tavares at the moment, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon either.

The Boston Bruins and Charlie McAvoy made one last push during the third period, and it worked beautifully. McAvoy managed to score with only 1:13 remaining on the clock, and the Boston Bruins defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 this weekend for their 5th successive win.

McAvoy managed to score a goal from a backhand after Iafallo tied the match for Los Angeles Kings 15:37 during the third period. An insurance goal was added by Patrice Bergeron at 19:23.

“You need to win in loads of different ways if you wish to become a great hockey club. It’s for this reason that tonight, it wasn’t that we were far behind, but it certainly looked like the match was getting away from us. Thankfully, a quick turn of events managed to assist us to win the game at the end,” Bruce Cassidy stated in a recent interview, who is the head coach for the Boston Bruins.

Boston Bruins’ NHL Season

The Boston Bruins managed to improve their record to 7-0-3 in the last ten matches. Jake DeBrusk managed to score for the third successive match, Brad Marchand scored his 23rd goal for the season, and Tuukka Rask managed to make 23 saves.

Ilya Kovalchuk produced a power-play goal for the Los Angeles Kings, who have now lost a total of 4 consecutive games. Jack Campbell managed to make a total of 20 saves. Campbell was a surprise starter in the game with Jonathan Quick who is currently out due to illness.

The Los Angeles Kings seemed like they had the momentum in the game. This came following Rask’s save on a goal shot by Paul LaDue that ended up behind the goalie for his twelve goal of the NHL season. Brad Merchand was sent to the box due to a hooking penalty on Jeff Carter. However, it did little to help as the Boston Bruins didn’t allow a single shot during power play by the Los Angeles Kings.

“I am extremely proud of how we played during the third period,” stated Rask, who managed to win his fifth consecutive start. “Although they managed to tie the match with only a few minutes left, we received a penalty and did a fantastic job when it came to the penalty kill. This essentially shows everyone in the league how resilient we can be.”

Los Angeles Kings Get Frustrated

Anze Kopitar, the captain for the Los Angeles Kings, shattered his hockey stick on his own crossbar following the goal by McAvoy, which he later attributed to frustration and anger over his team’s inability to control the game and for his team not leading the game when they had a man advantage.

“With only four minutes left in the match, and having power play in a game that is tied, we needed to find a way to score,” stated Kopitar. “We never even got into the zone which is quite embarrassing.” The Kings are in desperate need of a win after losing against the Bruins. Let’s see what they can produce in the next matchup.


High-sticking is one of the most literal penalties when it comes to ice hockey. Roughing can be considered several things. The interference definition can be nebulous. However, high-sticking is essentially self-explanatory where a player’s stick hits an opponent due to the fact that the stick was too high. It’s really self-explanatory, unless you are a Spanish-speaking ice hockey announcer where there isn’t a verbatim for the term “high-sticking”.

Spanish Ice Hockey Announcers

“It would suck to say high-sticking literally. It sounds awful,” stated Francisco X. Rivera, who translates Los Angeles Kings matches in Spanish. Rivera, who is one of three Spanish broadcasters within the NHL, utilizes the term “baston” which means “cane”. Hector Lozano also uses the term, who translates Chicago Blackhawks matches in Spanish. “When it comes to high-sticking, we usually say ‘baston alto’ which roughly translates to “high cane”, Lozano stated. “It’s just something about the sport where there’s no translation for quite a few terms. So you essentially need to work with whatever you have. We also have tons of terminology that is broadcasted in English as oppose to Spanish. Icing is extremely difficult. However, offsides is quite easy as we simply say ‘fuera de juego.’”

What is even more difficult for Spanish translators is when there’s a scrum for the puck between numerous players in the corner. “I was unable to determine how I would say the puck is in the middle of several skates while players were trying to obtain it. So I simply said that they were chopping tomatoes, cilantro, or onions just to give fans a reference as to what it actually looked like when they attempted to obtain the puck in a corner,” Jesus Lopez stated who translates Vegas Golden Knights matches.

English-speaking fans of hockey take this for granted when they listen to a game. Even a fundamental concept in a match like a body check doesn’t seem to have a literal Spanish term.
“When one player smashes another player into a wall, I would yell, “Someone received a ham sandwich! Checking is something that I struggle to translate,” Rivera stated. “Therefore, I utilize ‘get close to someone,’ which is used to describe a girlfriend or boyfriend. Why not make it more entertaining? Respecting both the players on the ice as well as the people who are new to the sport is something that hasn’t been done in a sport before,” Lopez stated.

Sports essentially paints a picture of what is occurring during the match, from the action to the atmosphere. Spanish translators cater to a wide variety of listeners who don’t have a clue of what that painting should actually look like. Therefore, they utilize a smaller palette when compared to their French- and English-speaking counterparts. It can still be considered art. Spanish translators in the NHL are not changing the language of ice hockey, but are actually broadening the appeal of the game to an underserved market.


Miro Heiskanen was unaware what Texas would be like before he decided to relocate from Finland during the summer. He was, however, aware of the Dallas Stars, long before they managed to draft him in 2017 as third overall due to Jere Lehtinen playing 14 years for the team and winning an Stanley Cup. He was also aware of the barbecue, which he tasted and stated that it tastes as good as what he receives. Lastly, he was also aware of the climate.

“I understood that is was extremely hot in Texas and a lot more different when compared to Finland. However, I enjoy hot weather and it’s really not that bad to get used to,” Heiskanen stated to reporters earlier this week. The heat comes in different flavors in Texas. Sometimes, the sun sings against every surface in the summer and sometimes the media declares that this rookie has the ability to break or make a team in the NHL this season which is far more hotter than Dallas during mid-July

The NHL Season for the Dallas Stars

“The season for the Dallas Stars boils down to one teenager who has never managed to play a single game in the NHL.” This was the headline taken from one of the online NHL posts and Heiskanen has certainly seen it but hasn’t allowed it to create more pressure for the young rookie. “I avoid thinking too much what everyone else says. I merely attempt to do my own thing,” Heiskanen stated.

What exactly are people stating about Heiskanen? Well, quite a lot to be honest. In a total of 30 games, Heiskanen accumulated 15 points and is playing 23 minutes in every game he is included which is considered the highest when compared to first-year players and is regarded as the third-highest in the Dallas Stars. Heiskanen is currently skating with Esa Lindell, a fellow defenseman from Finland and has been a remarkably unfazed and poised freshman. Rasmus Dahlin from the Buffalo Sabres might boast as the first overall pick during the 2018 draft, but there’s no denying that Heiskanen is more impressive during the current campaign which is also how he got noticed in the NHL.

“ He is only 19 years of age. That’s what blows my mind,” Craig Button stated. “ He understand the game on a completely unique level. He gives the impression that he is working on his masters or Ph.D.” The word cerebral was even used to describe Heiskanen recently and despite the acumen, he’s ice team was an even bigger surprise to him during his initial season in the NHL. Since as early as 2006, only 6 NHL players managed to average 23 minutes for each match or more. Names like Duncan Keith, Tyler Myers, and Draw Doughty are on the list. Now, its up to this sensational rookie, and the Dallas Stars, to see if they can achieve glory in the current NGHL season.