Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

For Whom the Cup Tolls: NHL Conference Final Wrap Up

The Stanley Cup Final is just around the corner as NHL fans prepare for the most exciting stretch of the hockey season.

In the Western Conference, the Las Vegas Golden Knights made quick work of the opposing Winnipeg Jets, winning the series convincingly four games to one and advancing to the Cup Final.

The Jets were no easy out, as they boasted the NHL’s second best record and were just as determined to reach their first Cup Final in team history. Still, after a loss in game one, Vegas largely dominated the following games.

The Golden Knights’ season trajectory has been something pulled from a storybook. The franchise is heading to the championship series in its inaugural season, a feat that has not been accomplished since the St. Louis Blues expansion team in 1968.

The Golden Knights were a complete afterthought when the league approved an expansion team in Sin City, as the heart of the scorching Nevada desert seems like the least likely place for hockey to flourish. In spite of no real expectations, however, the the Golden Knights have greatly overperformed and garnered the support of a raucous local fanbase.

In the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning are tied at three games a piece heading into a pivotal game seven on Wednesday.

Alex Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals, was able take a huge proverbial step forward in his career by earning a conference final berth for the first time in 13 seasons. Not to mention that this victory came at the hands of the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that has acted as a thorn in his side for years. The Capitals were 1-9 all-time in series against the Penguins up until their recent series victory.

It was only fitting that Ovechkin defeat his long-standing rival to reach the next stage of competition.

But the conference round has not come without its own adversity. After securing a commanding 2-0 lead on the road with Ovechkin contributing two goals and two assists, the Caps dropped the next three games. With their backs against the wall, it seemed that the Capitals would endure another disappointing end to a promising postseason.

That was simply not the case, as the Capitals stormed back to beat the Lightning in a 3-0 victory to force a decisive game seven in Tampa.

Ovechkin has the ultimate chance to rewrite his own legacy. After repeated postseason shortcomings, reaching the Stanley Cup Final under heavy pressure would help solidify Ovechkin—one of the game’s best talents—as a legitimate playoff performer.

The championship stage will finally be set this wednesday. A young Vegas squad competing against Washington’s hungry veteran superstar would make for a storyline ripe with drama and intrigue.

Game one of the Stanley Cup Final starts May 28.

Jordan may be reached at
[email protected]

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