NHL Recap: Conference Finals

Jason Darling, Sports Editor

Over the past few weeks the National Hockey League playoffs have been in full swing. 16 teams all competing for the coveted Stanley Cup. As of right now there are only four left, The hometown Washington Capitals, The Tampa Bay Lightning, the Winnipeg Jets, and the Las Vegas Golden Knights, are all competing for the cup, but what did their roads to this point look like?

The Washington Capitals started their playoff run down 0-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. They then rallied and won four straight games to win the series. They then moved on to play the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. The Penguins had beaten the Caps in the second round the past two years, but the Caps were determined to end that streak. They did just that on a game six overtime winner to beat the Penguins 4-2 in the series. This is the first time that the Capitals have been to the conference finals in 19 years.

The Lightning  started their playoff run beating the New Jersey Devils 4-1 in their series. They then faced off Against the Boston Bruins. They beat the Bruins in another 4-1 series to return to the Easter Conference Finals, the last time they made it this far was in 2016.

In the Western Conference, the Winnipeg Jets started their playoff run against the Minnesota Wild, whom they beat 4-1. They then moved on to play the Nashville Predators, who went to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. The series went to seven games, but the Jets managed to beat Nashville in game seven to win the series 4-3. This is Winnipeg’s first time ever being in the conference finals

The Las Vegas Golden Knights are the NHL’s biggest surprise this season. It is their first season as a team, and after their expansion draft, they weren’t even expected to make the playoffs. They proved everyone wrong by finishing with one of the best records in the league. They continued to surprise when they beat the Los Angeles Kings in a clean sweep, 4-0. They then played the San Jose Sharks in the second round, and beat them with a series score of 4-2. They are the only expansion team to make it to the conference finals in their inaugural season.

Those are the four contenders for the Stanley Cup, who takes it home is anyone’s guess.