Stanley Cup Playoffs: An Overview

Hockey’s most exciting time comes with the Stanley Cup playoffs which started on April 17th, running through June. 16 teams of the four divisions (Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific) face off for the coveted Stanley Cup and the honor to have their names engraved on North America’s oldest sports trophy.

Round 1

Round 1 saw one of the biggest upsets of the NHL, with the league’s best team ever, Boston Bruins, beaten by the Florida Panthers. The New Jersey Devils defeat the more seasoned New York Rangers. The Toronto Maple Leafs broke a 19 year curse of not qualifying for Round 2, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders in five. In the West, the biggest upset was the Seattle Kraken’s victory over reigning champs the Colorado Avalanche, as well as the Dallas Stars over the Minnesota Wild, the Edmonton Oilers eliminating the LA Kings, and the Vegas Golden Knights doing the same to the Winnipeg Jets.

Round 2

The Florida Panthers continue their impressive run with a dominant win over the Toronto Maple Leafs with a goal by Nick Cousins in overtime of Game 5 to advance his team and 50 saves by Sergei Bobrovsky. The New Jersey Devils’ lack of goaltending experience contributed to a loss against the Carolina Hurricanes, who would win in overtime Game 5. In a tight series, the Dallas Stars beat the Seattle Kraken, unable to break through the Stars’ top line and the absolute brick wall that was Jake Oettinger so far in the playoffs. Finally, the Vegas Golden Knights managed to contain the star talent of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. Nevertheless, credit to those two, who are perhaps the greatest duo in the game right now despite the team behind them unable to harness their power effectively enough.

Conference Finals

Four teams are now only one step away from all the glory: the Florida Panthers vs the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference, and the Dallas Stars vs the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference.

Current standings of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs –


Eastern Conference

Florida has dominated the series, leading 3-0 going into Game 4. Game 1 saw the sixth longest game in NHL history, with four overtime periods before Matthew Tkachuk would score the game winning goal. He would do it again in overtime the following game, Game 2, where once again, the Florida Panthers’ captain would casually stroll off the ice much to the amusement of fans and announcers. Florida would win Game 3, shutting out the Panthers in a 1-0 win.

Star Players: It goes without saying that Matthew Tkachuk wins the prize on this one, and, in my not so humble opinion, is the most valuable player in the entire playoffs left. The man will not quit. Sergei Bobrovsky has only allowed three goals to be scored against him in the 14 periods of play this series so far, which is no small feat considering the Canes’ offense.

Predictions: I’ve said from the start of the playoffs, if Florida beats Boston, they’re going all the way to the cup. Carolina’s stars in Aho and Necas have not been doing much against Florida’s defense, putting Carolina in an extremely dire situation going into Game 4, therefore many predict Florida will earn the win.


Western Conference

The Vegas Golden Knights lead the series 3-0  after wins in games 1. 2, and 3. Games 1 and 2 saw overtime wins by Vegas; forward Brett Howden scored in a 4-3 win in Game 1, and center Chandler Stephenson gave Vegas a 3-2 win in Game 2. Game 3 saw a huge 3-0 lead by the Golden Knights by the first period, going on to shut out Dallas in a 4-0 win.

Star Players: For the leading Golden Knights, captain Mark Stone carries 15 points for his team, with two assists and a goal by the third game of the series. Chandler Stephenson follows close behind, with a game winning goal in Game 2 and an assist for the game winning goal in Game 1. An additional honorable mention to Brett Howden for the first overtime game winning goal as well.

Prediction: Bolstered by solid defense and aggressive offense, the Golden Knights seem posed to take the series. Despite the obvious star power the Dallas Stars possess in Jason Roberston and Roope Hintz, so far they have been unable to stand up to the energy of the playoffs. With captain Jamie Benn ejected from Game 3 for high sticking Vegas’ captain Mark Stone, the Stars are slowly seeming to lose their grip on what has otherwise been an electric season for them.