Peak Sports Stanley Cup predictions

Nick Bondi, Sports Editor

Anaheim Ducks vs. Washington Capitals

Winner: Washington Capitals

CMYK-Nick BondiAfter a tough start, Anaheim has certainly turned it around. They lead the league in both power play percentage and penalty kill percentage, and look like they will be the first team since the 1984–1985 New York Islanders to end the season with both distinctions. However, Washington has been a dominant team all throughout the season. At the time of writing, they’ve already clinched the President’s Trophy before any team in the Eastern Conference has clinched a playoff spot. Anaheim will have a tough time coming out of the West, having to face the likes of LA, Chicago, Dallas, and the Sharks to get to the final. They might be a bit tired by then. However, Washington’s path is a bit easier, with no real true Cup contenders other than themselves in the conference. Plus, they finally have a true number two centre in Evgeny Kuznetsov. I firmly believe that Washington will be taking home their first Stanley Cup come June.

MuhammadQasim Dewji, Digital Strategist

Anaheim Ducks vs. Washington Capitals

Winner: Anaheim Ducks

My Stanley Cup pick goes to the Anaheim Ducks. Over the last three seasons, the Ducks have been getting closer to the Finals every year, losing out on a shot at the Cup in the third round last season. With the additions of Kevin Bieksa on the back end and John Gibson coming into form, the Ducks are a well-rounded, competitive team this year. Their early season struggles brought them together, making them a strong cohesive unit and a formidable opponent. They are first in both power play and penalty kill percentage, and have the depth needed to make a real push in the playoffs. The biggest problem Anaheim will face against the Capitals is containing Ovechkin, and they have the right man for the job, Ryan Kesler, a true shutdown centre who can get under people’s skin and even put points up on the board.

Nathan Ross, Associate News Editor

Nashville Predators vs. Washington Capitals

Winner: Washington Capitals

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.19.54 PMNashville is my dark horse for the Western representative for the Stanley Cup final, as they’re going to sneak by as the wild-card team in the Pacific division while the Central tears itself apart. With Pekka Rinne rounding into above-average form (not elite) and Ryan Johansen finally settled into Peter Laviolette’s system, their incredible blue line will be enough to push their middling offence into the final. However, once they’re there, they’re going to get steamrolled by the Capitals. This isn’t the Washington Capitals of old, who relied on Ovechkin, Backstrom, and the now-departed Mike Green to carry the load. This team is incredibly deep, and that’s not even mentioning Braden Holtby quietly going about setting the record for most wins in a single season by a goalie. As long as the team doesn’t run into any key injuries, this is their Stanley Cup to lose.

Austin Cozicar, Peak Associate

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Florida Panthers

Winner: Chicago Blackhawks

CMYK-AustinNormally, I’d go with the homer option, and say inexplicably, against all odds, that the Canucks will win it. Fortunately for my chances of being right, the Canucks are out of the playoffs. Barring any massive rule changes, this just isn’t their year. Instead, this year I predict the cup winner will be one of two teams — you guessed it: Chicago or LA. The pattern is on LA’s side this year, but Chicago just seems so good. Anaheim is looking like a good choice too, but I think they will find a way to mess it up second round or sooner. Ditto with St. Louis. The obvious choice in the East is Washington, but it’s not too often that the best teams from both conferences make the finals. The rest of the East is wide open, so why not Florida? They’re as good as anyone in the East, except for maybe Washington — but they’re certainly not as good as anyone in the West, so I believe Chicago will win it all for the second year in a row.

Erik Pinto, SFU Student

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals

Winner: Washington Capitals

The reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks are looking like promising contenders once again. Patrick Kane has taken his game to another level and the addition of Andrew Ladd gives me every reason to suspect they are going to make it back to the Stanley Cup finals once again. However, the Washington Capitals look to be unstoppable this year. Alexander Ovechkin leads the league in goals, Holtby in wins amongst goaltenders, and the fire power of Kuznetsov and Backstrom have combined for a total of more than 80 assists. They have absolutely dominated this season and I don’t see why their success won’t transfer over into the playoffs and into an eventual Stanley Cup.

Bartosz Wysocki, Peak Associate

Dallas Stars vs. Florida Panthers

Winner: Florida Panthers

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 8.34.28 PMWhen it comes to historic NHL powerhouses, the Dallas Stars and the Florida Panthers are not teams that immediately spring to one’s mind. They only have one Stanley Cup between which Dallas won way back in 1999. However, 2016 has definitely been a defining year for both of these teams. In the west, the Jamie Benn-led Stars have been ruthless, and I’ll make the bold prediction that they won’t lose more than three games in the first three rounds. In the east, Florida has had a resurgent year, led by two absolute legends of the game, Jaromir Jagr up front and Roberto Luongo in net. In the Finals, the Stars will choke under pressure and the veterans in Florida will take the wheel, winning the series 4–2.