The regular season of the National Hockey League (NHL) 2015-16 is finished and, as usual, it means that 16 teams have made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs. In this post you will get information about match ups, together with predictions.
Stanley Cup 2016, Round of 16
Washington Capitals – Philadelphia Flyers
Comment: Caps, led by Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Bäckstrom has performed well in the series, as usual. But now it’s time for the playoffs, where they have not been able to match their regular season in the recent years. Chances are that “the Philly Flu” will reach the capital before this series is over.
Florida Panthers – New York Islanders
Comment: One of the most interesting match ups beforehand. Two teams that have been struggling for the past years, but have raised their game lately. Islanders have something good going on and the Panthers, led by Czech icon Jaromir Jagr, have showed that there are room for two hockey teams in sunny Florida. At the same time it is one of the more difficult sereis to predict, it could go either way. Jagr scores the decider in game seven overtime? 🙂
Tampa Bay Lightning – Detroit Red Wings
Comment: Detroit barely reached their 25th straight playoff barely. They got some help from Ottawa who unexpectedly defeated Boston Bruins, even though they had nothing to play for, while Bruins were chasing a playoff spot. The Red Wings have not played convincingly this year and is not the same team as it used to be. However, they have a lot of routine in players like Kronwall, Zetterberg and Datsuyk. Tampa was in the final last year and would normally count as a clear favorite in this series. However, they are plagued by injuries on some of their key players.
Pittsburgh Penguins – New York Rangers
Comment: A prestigious and classic match up. Last year, Swedish forward Carl Hagelin sent home penguins to lethargy in a deciding game. This year, Hagelin will try to do the same for the Penguins who have played a good game at the end of the regular season. If they retain the shape in the playoffs, then Rangers might not advance to the quarter finals this year.
Dallas Stars – Minnesota Wild
Comment: Dallas has as usual done a great job in the regular season, but just as with the Capitals, they often have difficulties to follow it up with equally robust efforts in the playoffs. It will be necessary in order to defeat Minnesota Wild.
Anaheim Ducks – Nashville Predators
Comment: Anaheim Ducks began the season in the worst possible way, but then managed to raise their game. They are a team made for playoffs with robusness, subtlety and some malice. Chances are, in 2016, the Predators will not be at the top of the food chain.
St. Louis Blues – Chicago Blackhawks
Comment: Another team that performed well in the regular season against a classic playoff team. Blues have never won the Stanley Cup and the risk is that they will not advance from the round of 16 against the modern dynasty and current champions Chicago, who always manage to find ways to win important matches.
Los Angeles Kings – San Jose Sharks
Comment: Can the Sharks led by Joe Thornton manages shake of their playoff ghost? The resistance is the toughest possible, with the Kings who are eager for revenge since they, as reigning champions, missed last year’s playoffs. An interesting and difficult series to predict, but it might end with King’s eating shark fin soup in the quarterfinals.