It is that time of the year, for many Americans and local San Jose Sharks supporters, to get behind their favorite hockey squad as the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing.
The Sharks are looking strong after their first win at home against Los Angeles. The Western Conference has won three of the last four Stanley Cup Finals, and with that, the odds for the Sharks to perhaps pull off a strong run could be in reach. But with such a high number of strong teams this year, Anaheim and Colorado to name a few, it seems nearly unreachable.
Los Angeles has the stingiest defense, as they have allowed only 174 goals during the regular season, which tops the league; but in the playoffs, anything is possible as stats are wiped away and a whole new season begins.
Who knows what exactly will happen because it has seemed that every season, except last, that the winning team is obvious, but what this year’s postseason has in stored for us could quite possibly be electrifying.
San Jose and Los Angeles are facing off in the opening round, with huge stakes as Los Angeles usually handles the Sharks pretty much anywhere they play, but the Sharks don’t look like previous teams, they seem determined and driven in a way that has yet to be seen.
How determined? Well, perhaps the fact that they are extremely experienced at every position, including at goalie, could prove that huge success is on the way led by Patrick Marleau and the Joes, Pavelski and Thornton.
The St. Louis Blues had a remarkable season but they will have a difficult time against all these experienced squads, including Chicago, despite missing Jonathan Toews.
Now, I will not reveal who my favorite squad is because I must write objectively, however, I will state that my team is in the postseason and I could not be happier because that in my mind is already a successful season.
Anaheim seems to me to be the Peyton Manning of hockey, as they own the regular season but when the postseason rolls around, they crumble and crash under pressure.
On the Eastern side of things, much like last season, I will pick the Boston Bruins, yes, Boston to win it all. They had disappointment last year even as strong as they were, it just seemed like the Blackhawks wanted it more.
The only competition for the Bruins will be the Pittsburgh Penguins, second in the conference and led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who just returned from an injury.
Detroit could make a splash, but don’t be surprised if Philadelphia challenges Boston.
Goalies Tuuka Rask and Chad Johnson, alongside the defense led by Zdeno Chara, have been superb this year for Boston, allowing the second least amount of goals during the regular season (177) and topped out the NHL in points (117), one ahead of Anaheim. They are playing with a chip on their shoulders after last year.
No matter who you root for, be sure to catch some hockey action. Detroit is playing Boston at noon Sunday and Los Angeles takes on San Jose at 7 a.m. Sunday.