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Analyzing the potential 24 team playoffs: Conference Finals

Today we find out who will play for the Stanley Cup.

Buffalo Sabres v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

If you’ve been following along with this simulation, then you’re in luck! Today is the day where we’ll see who gets to content for the Stanley Cup!

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Eastern Conference Final

#3 Boston vs #2 Philadelphia

The Flyers won a tightly contest opener to the series, 4-3, helped by early goals from Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk. Overall, however, it was Claude Giroux who bossed this game, registering three assists as he was named the first star. Philadelphia would also win Game 2 by a final score of 3-2. Sean Couturier scored the first goal just six minutes into the first period, and the duo of Hayes and van Riemsdyk would score again.

However, Boston would win games 3 and 4, both by a 3-2 scoreline. In both games, they got out to early starts thanks to David Pastrnak (who is really mounting his playoff MVP case) and never looked back as their top line allowed them to scrape by. Well, I wouldn’t say scrape by, they were clearly the better team in those games.

Game 5 saw a four goal first period from the Flyers. Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Travis Konecny, James van Riemsdyk, and Ivan Provorov scored to give the Flyers a lead they wouldn’t surrender, though Boston did score two goals in the second period, followed by two in the third period, but couldn’t tie the score.

With the clinch on the line in Game 6, the Flyers managed to shut out the Bruins 5-0 in a game that, honestly, Boston controlled. The Bruins won the shot battle 35-26, but Carter Hart stopped everything, earning the first star of the game. Even with three power plays, the Bruins couldn’t solve Hart.

Looks like the history of big playoff wins over Boston continues eh. Also, shoutout to commenter averymerrick who predicted a six game win for the Flyers. On the money.

Result: Philadelphia wins 4-2

Western Conference Final

#6 Nashville vs #1 Colorado

Colorado got off to a good start, winning game 1 by a score of 5-3. Matt Calvert scored twice as the Avs won despite getting heavily outshot. It would be a similar, but flipped, story in Game 2, though, as Colorado were 6-1 winners, heavily outshooting the Predators.

Nashville would take game 3, 4-2, though this game would be remembered for the 50 minutes of penalties (for both teams) given out for major brawls which broke out in the third period. No suspensions were given out however. Despite Nashville’s victory, Colorado would come out and take Game 4 in a close 2-1 contest. Craig Smith scored for Nashville in the first period, and the score would remain 1-0 until the third, when Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky scored within a minute of each other early on.

Facing elimination, Nashville would win Games 5 and 6, in both games losing the shot battle, but hitting harder and more often. Game logs suggest they gave gritty performances, rallying around goaltender Pekka Rinne, who made a combined 72 saves in these contests. Therefore, we’d see another Game 7.

There was no scoring in the first period, as penalties were numerous with fighting being the most common offense. Midway through the second period, Vladislav Namestnikov scored to give Colorado the lead, and despite two power plays handed to them in the third period, Nashville couldn’t come up with a goal. Gabriel Landeskog then scored on a breakaway with only two minutes remaining in the game to seal the series for the Avs.

Result: Colorado wins 4-3

Since they are in opposite conferences, this will be the first ever historical meeting between the Avalanche and the Flyers in the playoffs, well, in the case of the Avalanche in this current form. Of course, the Flyers and the former Quebec Nordiques faced each other in two series in the 1980’s, with the Flyers winning both of the series. However, the Avalanche are not the Nordiques, and nobody who played in the 1980’s is still active (well, in the NHL. We can’t forget about this man who’s been an active professional player since 1988).

Will the Flyers win the COVID Stanley Cup, ending the long drought, or will Colorado win their first title since 2001? We’ll find out next time, so stay tuned...