Being a fan of a Minnesota sports franchise has not been the easiest as of late. The Twins have not made the playoffs in seven years, the Vikings have made many people want to believe only to break their hearts in the end, and the Wild have been a surprising early playoff exit the past couple years. Even with the Wild eliminated from the NHL playoffs, there are still plenty of storylines that should keep you glued to the TV for the coming weeks.
Plenty of superstars still alive
The best player in hockey, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, the best scorer in the game, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, and the new superstar on the block in the New York Islanders’ Connor McDavid should provide plenty of fireworks and highlights for the remainder of the playoffs. Crosby is coming off a season in which he captured his second cup. A third cup would cement his legacy as one of the best to ever play the game. Ovechkin has always been a highly entertaining player to watch on the ice. Many have been putting more pressure on him lately however as he has never made it out of the second round of the playoffs in his career. 20-year-old McDavid is in only his second year of professional hockey and has taken the league by storm. Leading the league in points with 100, the next closest player finished with 89 which was a tie between Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Crosby.
Plenty of series to keep our interest
The one series that many cannot wait to get started is the Capitals/Penguins series. This series has plenty of intrigue for multiple reasons. First, two of the best in the NHL get to go head-to-head as Sidney Crosby will try to hush the critics that say he is no longer the best in the league and Alex Ovechkin will be trying to make it out of the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his illustrious and storied career. Not every year do you get to see the two best go after it for potentially seven-straight games.
Another matchup that is flying under the radar and not getting talked about as much is the Nashville/St. Louis series. St. Louis has been playing tremendous hockey the past couple months, thanks to a more aggressive offense and a hot-handed goaltender in Jake Allen. Allen saved 98% of the shots fired at him during the first round against the Minnesota Wild. Do not take Nashville lightly, however, as that is what appears to have happened in the first round. The heavily-favored Chicago Blackhawks got swept against the Nashville Predators in a way that nobody saw coming, including a 5—0 dismantling in game two.
Round two of the NHL playoffs begin on Wednesday as the Blues battle the Predators and the Oilers take on the Ducks.