by Aiden Lindley ’22 & Cael Dolph ’23
The NHL playoffs are just a couple of weeks away, and many teams are making their final push to make the playoffs. A few of the league’s best teams have already punched their ticket including The Colorado Avalanche, The Florida Panthers, the Carolina Hurricanes, the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs, The St. Louis Blues, The Calgary Flames, the Minnesota Wild, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Washington Capitals. As only a few games remain, teams are still competing for a last chance spot to win the great Stanley Cup for their team.
Currently, the Florida Panthers lead the East, and the Colorado Avalanche lead the West. Carolina, Florida, Toronto, New York, Calgary, and Colorado are all fighting to stay in contention for the President’s Trophy, awarded at the end of the regular season to the team that has the most points. Points are awarded to teams after games based on the result as follows: Two points for a win, one point for a loss in overtime/shootout, and zero for a loss in regulation. Right now the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers are neck and neck with each other in points. The Colorado Avalanche have 116 points which is just 2 more points than the Florida Panthers at 114. The only difference is that the Colorado Avalanche have played 76 games whereas the Florida Panthers have played 75 games. It is a close race to the finish for these two teams and they have a few teams following behind them. As the Carolina Hurricanes have 106 points, the Toronto Maple Leafs have 106 as well, the New York Rangers have 103 and the Calgary Flames have 103. It is a close finish to see who ends at the top.
With teams being on top and continuously winning games day in and day out, players do the same thing and step up their play to help bring home wins. One player that is clearly ahead of the rest is center Connor Mcdavid, of the Edmonton Oilers. He has been a powerhouse this year with over 113 points through 76 games played, while linemate Leon Draistl is closely behind with over 106 points. Closely behind these players is quite doubted the most underrated player. Johnathon Hubeardeu has been lights out for the Florida Panthers with 111 points through 76 games. They are looking to make a great run in the playoffs and with the help of Hubeardeu they could go very far. To top off the list Auston Matthews for the Toronto Maple leafs has been the star of his team. Scoring over 58 goals and 44 assists, he has been helping the Toronto Maple leafs win much needed games. He has over 102 points through just 70 games played and his shot is just quite ridiculous. With the help of his linemate Mitch Marner, who has over 95 points in only 68 played games the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to make a run this season throughout the playoffs.
As games are wrapping up and teams are making their final push, several teams are just a few points shy from a playoff spot. The Nashville Predators have 2 games remaining to lock up their playoff spot facing the #1 competitor in the west, the Colorado Avalanche. The Dallas Stars are looking to clinch their playoff berth against the (31-36-14) Anaheim Ducks. High expectations for Dallas coming into these last few games. Teams that are finishing strong are going to have the chance at making the playoffs, so this push is very much needed.