Granite High World

2017-18 NHL Playoffs

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Alec Krueger

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The 2017-18 NHL regular season is officially over, and the playoffs have begun. This has been an incredibly exciting year for hockey, with a crowded playoff race and bitter rivalries intensifying throughout the course of the season. There have been some really good stories this year. The Vegas Golden Knights, who are the newest expansion team, have made the postseason in their first season of play with a unique blend of balance and skill. Teams like the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins made the playoffs being massive favorites for a Stanley Cup run as the regular season concluded, while some surprise teams made the playoffs as well, like the Colorado Avalanche and the New Jersey Devils. And there were several players who had an absolutely amazing season. Connor McDavid, Claude Giroux, Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon, Taylor Hall, Anze Kopitar, Evgeni Malkin, to name only a few. Hockey is a sport that consistently has so much competition and there is never a truly clear prediction on who will hoist the Stanley Cup to end the season.

Mr. Bruce Frank, teacher here at GCHS, said “this NHL season has certainly been interesting.”

“This NHL season has certainly been entertaining””

— Bruce Frank

“I am disappointed the Blues did not make the playoffs. However, I really didn’t think they would make it that far if the team were to make it to the postseason. Maybe missing the playoffs this year will bring necessary changes, especially on offense, so that the team can get back into playoff action, and hopefully soon.”

“Since the Blues are out of the playoffs, I will cheer for Nashville. I went to a game a few years back and I really enjoyed it. They are a really deep and talented team” he also stated.

“ As for the MVP of the league, there isn’t a clear cut winner for me” said Frank. “But I would like to see Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes win Rookie of the Year because he is from St. Louis and he has had an excellent first season in the league, scoring 65 points and leading his team in scoring.”

My personal pick for MVP would probably be Taylor Hall. He carried a relatively average Devils team to the playoffs and he was a monster on the offensive end, scoring 93 points (39 goals and 54 assists) in 76 games played. He displayed real leadership qualities, and at the young age of 26, he hasn’t even reached his full potential yet.

There really is nothing quite like playoff hockey! Sitting at the edge of your seat, watching and waiting to see what happens next. It can go from simple zone play into major scoring chances one right after another. The changes in pace, the crazy, eye-popping goals, the brutal physicality, the last-minute saves, and overtime magic are all spectacular things to take in. Up to this point, many of the matchups have been impressive displays of skill and to-the-wire competition. For example, the series between Washington and Columbus started off with three straight overtime games and Game 5 went into overtime as well. Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh had many high-scoring games. Toronto and Boston have had several physical and intense bouts and are now playing a game seven. Two series sweeps have also happened in round 1, with Las Vegas beating Los Angeles for their first playoff series victory and San Jose quickly sweeping Anaheim. The second round also had some serious thrillers, with Washington finally making the conference finals for the first time in almost 20 years after eliminating the defending champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Vegas also knocked out San Jose and is a serious threat to go to the Stanley Cup finals. And I can’t leave out the Nashville vs. Winnipeg series going to seven games.

The finalists for the awards at the end of the season look stacked too. I can’t wait to see the winners of each award and who eventually brings home the Stanley Cup.

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2017-18 NHL Playoffs