What do the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche all have in common?
They’ve all busted my bracket. I know some of you will be saying the same thing, but this year’s bracket is looking especially rough considering only one of the teams I chose to play in either Conference Finals — the New York Islanders — is still in contention.
I was talking to a friend of mine after the Stanley Cup playoffs had just started in early April and now thinking back to that conversation I can’t help but laugh.
“If you picked the Avalanche to beat Calgary, you’re wrong,” my friend said.
Well, five games and four wins later and here they are, safely past the first place Calgary Flames.
Admittedly, I’m writing this the afternoon before game seven of the Washington Capitals vs. the Carolina Hurricanes. Since I do not have the ability to see into the future, I can’t say anything about how that series ended.
Either way, there have already been more than a fair share of surprising moments.
Two sweeps, three game seven finishes (it’s important to mention the Sharks’ stellar overtime win against the Vegas Golden Knights in game seven) and a bundle of upsets.
And that’s only the first round.
We could launch into how the teams that made it through earned their spots in the second round: dominant play, underperformance, lucky bounces, whatever it is you may believe.
In the spirit of completely busted brackets, let’s take a look at the remaining teams and make some new predictions for the second round of this postseason.
Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues
The Blues are frequent flyers in the playoffs, but yet they have still yet to win a cup. They also haven’t made it to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1970.
The Stars, on the other hand, have won the Stanley Cup once, but have made a spotty appearance in the playoffs over the past 10 years, with one first-round exit and one second-round exit to make that a whopping two appearances, not including this season.
Both St. Louis and Dallas defeated tough opponents with 4-2 series wins, but for this matchup I’m going with the Stars. They let up less goals than the Blues and were facing arguably a tougher opponent, so I think they’ll be able to come out on top against St. Louis.
Colorado Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks
Heading into the 2018-2019 season, the San Jose Sharks were projected by many to win the Stanley Cup. As the projected powerhouse of the league, they finished the season in the Pacific Division’s second place spot, right behind the Flames.
An electrifying game seven against Vegas has made the Sharks one of the most recent additions to the second round. The Avalanche, on the other hand, had a 4-1 series win over Calgary.
The Avalanche’s relatively quick and easy win over the first place team came as a shock to many, but if San Jose’s win on Tuesday proved anything, it’s that they have the skill and drive to make a deep run this playoff season. That, combined with the playoff experience this team has gained from previous seasons, will be enough to take them past Colorado.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Boston Bruins
The Columbus-Tampa Bay storyline has taken the hockey world by storm, no pun intended. Their sweep of the Lightning caused major flashbacks to the eighth-seeded LA Kings in 2012 barreling straight through all four of their opponents with one sweep of the Blues, two 4-1 wins against Vancouver and Phoenix and ultimately their 4-2 Stanley Cup victory over New Jersey.
Coming off of a series win like Columbus just had, I’m going to say they’ll top the Bruins, although it will take more than four games to decide.
Although the winner of the Carolina vs. Washington game is unknown at the moment, by the time you’re reading this you will know which team took home the game seven win. Either way, the Islanders will have to prove their 4-0 win against Pittsburgh wasn’t a fluke, and with the amount of rest they’ve had in between their series win and the second round, I’m going to give the second round win to the fresh legs in New York.
CORRECTION: Martin Jones did not score the game-winning goal for the San Jose Sharks, as previously stated in the caption.