Takeaways From the Stanley Cup Playoffs This Past Weekend

Reinhold Matay/AP

Takeaways From the Stanley Cup Playoffs This Past Weekend

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Takeaways From the Stanley Cup Playoffs This Past Weekend

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Reinhold Matay/AP

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are still going strong, and we are in the midst of the semi-finals currently. Only eight teams remain in the hunt for the cup and these playoffs have been extremely fascinating this far. The first round produced some of the better matchups and series in recent memory, with multiple game sevens that led to thrilling and high-quality hockey being played. As the second round continues, there has already been some intriguing storylines to follow. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from this past weekends slate of playoff games:

Will the Presidential Trophy curse live on?

-The curse of the Presidential Trophy winners is something that the hockey world is all too familiar with of late. The award goes to the team with the most points throughout the season but over the last six seasons, the team who has won the award has failed to get past the second round in the postseason. The current winners, the Florida Panthers, find themselves in a three to nothing hole against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It all but looks like the curse will continue on for another season and nobody can explain why this happens. Sometimes it actually may pay off to not be the best during the regular season.

Tampa Bay is still legit contenders

-Throughout the year and even into the postseason, many believed that the Bolts would fade at some point. The two-time defending champions have played a ton of games over the last few seasons but that hasn’t slowed them down at all. They staved off elimination twice against Toronto in the first round, including winning a game seven on the road. Now they find themselves just one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals once again. They have put the beatdown on the Florida Panthers in the Battle of Florida and don’t seem to be looking back. Andrei Vasilevskiy is showing that he is the best goaltender in the entire NHL and the Lightning keeps striking for this team. They will be a tough out no matter who they face.

Rangers show some life

-Behind strong goaltending, the New York Rangers were able to get back into their series against the Carolina Hurricanes. After dropping the first two games in Carolina, New York returned home, and the home cooking sure worked. They looked as if they had more energy and wanted no part of a three to nothing series deficit. Going into game four, the Rangers will need to make sure they keep that physical style of play as the Hurricanes can strike at any moment. If New York drops game four at home, they’ll be forced to head back to Carolina down three to one, with an elimination game in a building that the Hurricanes have yet to lose in during these playoffs. Game four will show the hockey world, just how good the Rangers are.

Jordan Binnington sings the blues

-The Blues netminder will now be out for the rest of the series with an injury that he sustained in game three. He wasn’t the starter that St. Louis used going into the playoffs but has looked better than his counterpart throughout the postseason. The former Stanley Cup winning goalie had a collision with Avalanche center Nazem Kadri early in game three and will now be out. The key for the Blues is to use this as motivation going forward because the loss of Binnington could play a huge role in the outcome of the series. Much like the Rangers, the Blues are at home for game four as they try to tie the series, but it could be a tall task going up against the powerhouse Avalanche without their experienced goalie.

Edmonton means business

-After dropping the high scoring affair in game one in the Battle of Alberta, the Edmonton Oilers have put together two straight strong efforts to take a series lead against the Flames. Against a strong Flames attack, the Oilers have used strong defense, physicality, and timely goalie play to give them the advantage. In game four, winger Evander Kane scored a natural hat trick for the Oilers to help break the game open for Edmonton. It was an impressive showing for the Oilers, and they now have a chance to go up three games to one on their rivals, with game four being back in the comfort of their home building. The key here will be to see how Calgary responds in this next game. Head coach Darryl Sutter will surely have his guys ready to go, with game four being one of the more crucial games for this franchise in their recent memory.

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