Course to the Cup

By Lauren Printz


On May 2, 2022, the first games of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs began. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, the top 16 teams in the National Hockey League face off in a battle to name the best of the league. Each round has the potential to see seven games; the first team to win four games advances.


The Eastern Conference of the NHL hosts teams from the Metropolitan and the Atlantic Divisions. This year, the Carolina Hurricanes, the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins are the teams representing the Metropolitan Division. Representing the Atlantic Division are the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leaves, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers.


Reproduced with permission from Wikimedia Commons

The Stanley Cup sits on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame; a new engraving of the winning team is put on each year.


The Western Conference consists of teams from the Central and Pacific Divisions. The Colorado Avalanche, the Minnesota Wild, the St. Louis Blues, the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators are the 2022 Playoff teams from the Central Division. From the Pacific Division, there are the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings. The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff Pool is uniquely competitive with teams like the Vegas Golden Knights and the New York Islanders missing the playoffs by a matter of points.


“Out of all the sports to watch, hockey is one of my favorites. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are one of the finals where anything can happen during those seven games," senior Stephanie Ragusa said. "The Rangers are in the playoffs which, as an Islanders fan, hurts, but it is great to see New York teams playing strong games and making it to the playoffs. The Islanders made it last year, and the Rangers made it this year."


Like with other sports, fans, sports analysts and players attempt to make their best guesses about what will happen. According to predictions by NHL.com staff writers, the Colorado Avalanche and the Calgary Flames are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Although the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup the past two seasons, many sports analysts did not pick them as favorites to win this year. In addition to the experts, fans like to make their own predictions through the NHL Stanley Cup Bracket Challenge or by simply making their own verbal predictions.


“The Stanley Cup Playoffs are the best and most entertaining of the sports because it is non-stop action, and it seems like almost every series, every year, is very close and down to the wire," math teacher Mr. Brusca said. "Unless it is your team playing, then it is just stressful! Let’s Go Rangers!”


As of June 1, 2022, the eliminations from the West include the Predators, Wild, Blues, Flames, Stars and the Kings. The other group of eliminations include the Panthers, Capitals, Maple Leafs, Hurricane, Bruins and the Penguins from the East, with the Panthers and the Flames as the major upsets. The favorite, the Flames, saw a quick exit from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they were eliminated in the second round by the Oilers, a team that has not seen much playoff success in a while.


The remaining teams are determined and preparing for the third round which decides who makes it to the final match-up. Fans are anxiously waiting to see who will make it to the cup: the Avalanche, Oilers, Rangers or the Lightning.