A few of Full Press Coverage’s NHL Writers decided they would skate pass the full NHL season and the drama-packed playoffs and arrive here: Which team earns that shimmering, Cup-raising moment? Here are the Stanley Cup predictions by the hockey writers at Full Press Coverage:
My picks for this year’s Stanley Cup finalists are the Winnipeg Jets and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Jets have something to prove after falling short to the Vegas Golden Knights last year. They get past the now-stacked San Jose Sharks in seven games and meet Tampa Bay.
The Lightning have to go through strong teams like the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, or the seemingly destined Toronto Maple Leafs. The Lighting beat the Capitals in six games to meet the Jets in the Stanley Cup finals.
Zach Predicts: The Jets beat Tampa in seven games and finally take the Stanley Cup back to the Western Conference.
There’s a long journey to the Stanley Cup finals, but intuition tells me that the Washington Capitals are just getting started and return to the finals as representatives of the Eastern Conference.
The surprise team making the playoffs in the East are the Ottawa Senators. Somebody help Billy Morrison; I think he fainted.
It’s a mess in the West, however, with several strong teams–Minnesota, Winnipeg, San Jose and Vegas–competing to come out of the conference. The Wild will finally make it out of the second round but that’s where it ends. San Jose breaks Minnesota’s heart and represents the Western Conference against the Capitals.
Roger Says: The 2018-19 Stanley Cup champions are the Washington Capitals.
For the first time since 1989, I am predicting an All-Canada Stanley Cup final.
Paul Predicts: Winnipeg beats Toronto and wins the Cup.
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The Eastern Conference in the NHL is loaded. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers all have teams that could represent the conference in the 2018-2019 Stanley Cup Finals. The fact that the Lightning have been set up by now parting general manager Steve Yzerman make them the favorites to feast on the bottom feeder teams in the division (Buffalo and Detroit). They also return most of their roster from the previous season. Expect to see Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup finals come June. But who will they face?
The Las Vegas Golden Knights made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first season of play. They were able to draft one player from all of the other teams in the NHL. These unwanted-by-other-teams cast offs came together and played the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals. This is unlikely to be replicated in the coming season as they are not likely to sneak up on any teams like they did during their first season. The Winnipeg Jets will represent the Western Conference in the 2018-19 Stanley Cup Finals given the experience they gained during their run to the Conference Finals last season and the fact that they have a rock solid defense, offense led by Patrik Laine and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
Walsh’s Winner? Tampa Bay Lightning
In the East, I see Tampa Bay and Toronto playing for the conference championship with Tampa returning to the Cup finals.
In the West, the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks reach the finals, with the Blues advancing.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are built to win. Up front, they have incredibly deep offense, talent, and grit. On the blue line, they have a strong mix of offensive and shut-down defensemen on every pairing. In the crease, they have a rising star goaltender. Tampa will also be motivated to go all the way this year after falling short of expectations last year to their divisional rivals in the Eastern Conference finals.
Billy’s Bet: Tampa Bay is poised to electrify the league this year and the Stanley Cup lightning will finally strike.
Between the Lightning, Bruins, Penguins, Maple Leafs, and Capitals there are several contenders in the Eastern Conference. And all are good enough to make a deep run this season. We know that well with the Caps, who won the Stanley Cup last season and put a beating on the Bruins (7-0) on opening night.
Out of the West the Jets, Predators, and Sharks are the front runners. But let it be known there are several teams who can come in and claim the spot this year out of the West. Including the defending Western Conference Champions, the Vegas Golden Knights.
And finally, as far as the Stanley Cup finals is concerned, I see that matchup being Tampa Bay versus San Jose. Both teams are loaded with talent and they are the most complete teams in their respective conferences.
Gesterling’s Guess: The next Stanley Cup winners are the San Jose Sharks.
Jack Woods expects the Predators to outlast the Sharks in the Western Conference finals. In the Eastern Conference finals, Jack likes Toronto to skate past Pittsburgh. The Predators and the Maple Leafs. Who is it going to be?
Woods’ Wish: Nashville wins the Stanley Cup in 2019.
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