The Quest for the Stanley Cup is Underway

Kasey Lynch and Miranda Mauro (K&M) are out to prove that sports aren't just for the male gender. Every week we will be giving you updates on what's going on in the sports world as well as our own perspective on sports-related topics. "Two Girls and Some Sports" is taking the sports column to the next level. And yes, we know what we're talking about.

If you do not know what the middle of April starts, then I am here to inform you that it is the start of the National Hockey League Playoffs! Since a majority of us are from Florida and we all live here, hockey often is not the first sport that comes to mind. It does not help either that Florida State does not have an official NCAA hockey team either. For some reason the association of warm weather and ice hockey is not really a thing. I am here to tell you though that it should be what you are watching for the next couple of months. From mid-April to the beginning of June, 16 teams embark on “the quest for the cup” or “the fight for Lord Stanley.” It is personally one of my favorite times of the year because hockey is on 24/7.

Just to break it down for you a little bit, the NHL consists of 30 teams broken down into two conferences. There are two divisions in each conference, which is a total of four divisions in the league. For the playoffs, 16 teams make it total. The three top teams from each division and two wild card teams from each conference. There are four rounds with a best of seven series in each. This means that a team has to win four games to move on to the next round. The final round is the Stanley Cup Finals and is what every team wants to win obviously. The Stanley Cup aka “Lord Stanley” is one of the most coveted trophies in sports and one of the hardest to achieve.

The first round of playoffs started on April 13th and here is the breakdown thus far:

Dallas Stars v. Minnesota Wilds (Stars lead 2-0)

St. Louis Blues v. Chicago Blackhawks (Blues lead 2-1)

Anaheim Ducks v. Nashville Predators (Predators lead 2-0)

Los Angeles Kings v. San Jose Sharks (Sharks lead 2-0)

Florida Panthers v. New York Islanders (Islanders lead 2-1)

Tampa Bay Lightning v. Detroit Red Wings (Lightning lead 2-1)

Washington Capitals v. Philadelphia Flyers (Capitals lead 2-0)

Pittsburgh Penguins v. New York Rangers (Series tied 1-1)

Courtesy: NHL

Some things you should know about the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. The Chicago Blackhawks are the defending champions. There are two Florida teams in the playoffs, the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, which should be even more reason to watch. This is the first time since the 1969-70 season that no Canadian team has made the playoffs (Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, and Ottawa Senators). Also, this was the first season that the NHL allowed one coach’s review per game. This where the coach can challenge goals based on whether the play was offsides or if there was goalie interference. This coach’s challenge has been introduced into the playoffs as well for the first time.

The NHL Playoffs is where literally anything can happen and nothing is guaranteed. I think it is the most exciting quest for a championship in all of sports because of all the unknowns. I encourage everyone to watch or at least keep up with the highlights.