The Highlander

NHL Playoffs Heat Up

Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final, as Lightning and Caps battle it out

Sean Senft, Reporter

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Three teams are left in an entertaining National Hockey League (NHL) playoff season. The Las Vegas Golden Knights clinched their berth into the Stanley Cup Finals after knocking off the Winnipeg Jets in dominating fashion, as they ended the series by winning four straight games to win the series 4-1.

There has been no bigger surprise to the 2018 NHL season than the Golden knights. This is a Golden Knights team that are in their first season as a franchise, as they were added as an extension team this season. The Golden Knights had one of the worst odds to go all the way given just a 500-1 chance to win the Stanley Cup and many experts thought it would be a longshot just for them to make the playoffs.

The experts had doubts because the Golden Knights had to acquire players from other NHL teams, but each team had a certain numbers that could keep Las Vegas picking sub par and not as well known players. The Golden Knights were even given a high draft picks in the upcoming drafts for compensation for this disadvantage.  This showed that even the NHL believed the Golden Knights were set up for failure in their first season. However, they have been able to put the right players together to make an impressive Stanley Cup run.

Over in the Eastern conference bracket the Tampa Bay Lightning team are in a fierce battle with the Washington Capitals. The Lightning are on a three game winning streak and lead the series 3-2. The Capitals have been led by Hall of Fame bound, superstar, Alex Ovechkin and a strong supporting cast. A strong regular season for the Capitals was no surprise, as they have made the postseason playoffs each of the past four seasons. However, getting to the Eastern Conference Finals was a surprise, as they have not accomplished that feat since 1998.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have relied heavily on a high power offense led by Nikita Kucherov to get them to the point where there are currently. Kucherov has helped the Lightning average an NHL best 3.5 goals per game during the regular season and 3.3 goals in the playoffs, which has been key in their 3-2 lead on the caps.

Game 6 of the Caps and Lightning series is set to be played on Monday, May 21, in Washington D.C. as the Caps look to even the series up at 3-3, and the Lightning look to clinch their bid to the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. Whatever the result may be in this series, it is all set up to what will be a thrilling Stanley Cup Finals that should not be missed.

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