May 31 2022
And then there were only four teams, two Conference Finals, and one Stanley Cup winner left. The puck will drop tonight to kick-off the WCF, and the ECF will start on the next day!
It's exciting to see both teams — Colorado and Edmonton — advancing to the Western Conference Finals after fairly long droughts. Edmonton reached the 3rd round last time in 2006, when they eventually lost the Finals. On the other side of the rink, Colorado lost their previous Conference Finals in 2002 (after winning the Cup in the previous season). Edmonton's latest Stanley Cup winning season is from over three decades ago, 1990.
In the East, we have familiar faces from the Tampa Bay, who dominantly sweeped the President Trophy winning Panthers. In contrast, Rangers required all 7 games to defeat Carolina in a very tight series that featured six home team wins (except for the dramatic game seven). I have to mention the fatique factor here: Rangers will have only two days of rest before the game 1, while Tampa has been loading their "lightning fast" batteries for over a week!
|Colorado Avalanche||51.04 %||1.96|
|Edmonton Oilers||48.96 %||2.04|
|New York Rangers||49.43 %||2.02|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||50.57 %||1.98|
When looking things league-wide, it's interesting how Colorado has been the Cup favorite for the past two rounds, while they were ranked 4th at the beginning of 2022 playoffs. If they advance to the Finals, they have the material for beating the East favorite Tampa, who are looking for a "threepeat". I have to say, even though the third round is yet to be played, Tampa looked scaringly solid against the Panthers, and Vasilevsky has an amazing goals-against record in his past seven elimination games: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0. So be it Colorado or Edmonton who makes their way to the final, they will meet the toughest opponent of the playoffs there.