Posted April 6, 2o15
We may see the defending Stanley Cup champs bounced out of a playoff spot, no 90-point scorer, and a goalie take home the Hart Trophy as league MVP come season’s end.
Favorites out of each conference heading into the playoffs should be the Rangers in the East and the Ducks in the West. The Rangers are a complete, skilled and motivated team, having lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Kings last year. What they have on the other powerhouse East teams, the Canadiens and the Lightning, is all these three components put together. Meanwhile, the Ducks, having disappointed in the playoffs in recent years, will be focused to make a Cup run and their roster is as deep as they come. Look for the Ducks to pull away from the Blues and Predators as the best in the West.
What might be most surprising is if both the Bruins and Kings are bumped out of a playoff spot, the Bruins being the defending Presidents Trophy winners and the Kings being defending Cup champions. This has never happened in NHL history.
Another looming first in the NHL– Sidney Crosby is on pace to lead the league with 84 points. Crosby leading the league in points is nothing new, but in a full 82 game season this would be lowest point total ever. Currently the record belongs to Stan Mikita, who led the league with a mere 87 points in 1967-68. Cue another dead puck era?
And finally, amidst all the miraculous runs put on by goalies this season, none have done it better or more consistently than Carey Price. Price leads the league in all major goalie statistics and is doing so on a Canadiens team that was first to 100 points and has no captain. Only seven times in league history has a goalie won the Hart Trophy as league MVP, but it’s fairly easy to see why skeptics think Carey Price could pull it off this season.
Also seen in April’s edition of LINK Magazine (page 26).