NHL Week in Review (April 1-7)

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The playoff race has been an interesting one as the NHL prepares for the most exciting time of the year.

There are teams at the top of the standings that have had seasons that are unbelievable and for them, the pressure is on from here on out.

Teams like Washington and Vegas are being watched very closely because they didn’t just win they were able to clinch their divisions early on in the race.

Both teams will head into the playoffs as two teams that have shown the most promise this year.

Finishing at the top of the division will always put pressure on the team because they will essentially have the easiest path to the Stanley Cup, at least that is the way the playoffs are built.

It doesn’t mean they will get there but the expectations are set for the division winners in the playoffs.

There are no higher expectations right now than the ones that the Nashville Predators will have as they head into the playoffs.

The Preds are only a year removed from losing to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final but they took that as motivation for the new season.

They sit on top of the league right now and are heading into the playoffs as the President’s Trophy winners.

That is an interesting place to be in though as the President’s Trophy winner has never really been an automatic Stanley Cup winner.

Since the 1986 season, only 8 teams have won both the Presidents Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season.

Out of the 31 teams that have won the Presidents Trophy, there really is only a fraction that have actually proven to be the best team in the league.

Six more teams have lost in the first round of the playoffs and so many more have failed to take the championship.

There is a bit of a legend surrounding the trophy as it can be considered a curse with the best teams often falling short.

Being the best team in the regular season can take a lot and it doesn’t mean that they are a team that can step up when the playoffs begin.

The two seasons are very different as the regular season is long and games don’t really matter until you add all of them up.

It is a long road and one that rarely gets very tense until something is truly on the line and that can make things easier for teams.hockey-sidebar

During the regular season, there is always time to make a comeback and rebound from a bad game.

The playoffs are different as everything is more pronounced and every game means a lot more.

Although a team can rise to the top for their ability to stay steady in the regular season when the playoffs begin the pressure is different.

One shift can make a massive difference and one bad game can sink a team’s chances of hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Everything becomes a lot more important this time of year and as a result, teams that are great in the regular season can falter when things get tighter.

That is what the Predators will face as they head into the playoffs with a clear target on their backs.

They have been one of the best teams throughout the year but have been particularly great at the end of the season.

It is when they began playing a different level of hockey and when they began to run away with the fight for the top spot in the league.

As the playoffs begin they are entering the second season as the best team in the league and an early favourite to win the Cup.

With the experience of a long run already behind them, they will enter the playoffs with the experience that a team needs.

They are also heading into the playoffs with a great run at the end of the season giving them the momentum they might need to run towards hoisting the Cup.

It is always a challenge and there are plenty of teams that have a shot at the Cup and anything can happen.

Although the division leaders will be the ones to watch and more the Predators who are expected to win it all after their Presidents Trophy win.

Overtime

Tragedy in Saskatchewan

The hockey world was struck with tragedy this week when a minor league team from Saskatchewan was involved in a crash. A bus transporting the Humboldt Broncos minor hockey team collided with a tractor-trailer in a horrific crash. The crash resulted in 15 fatalities including the coach while 14 others were injured. It was a sad day for the community in Saskatchewan and the entire hockey world.

A fitting Goodbye

Henrik and Daniel Sedin have been one of the most unique cases in the NHL as the Swedish twins came into the league together and were allowed to stick together. Both were drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in one of the more unique drafts that allowed both to get their wish of playing with each other. As they became leaders in Vancouver it was clear that they were going to stick together for a while with every trade rumour or free agency year coming with the conversation about taking both or neither. This week they announced that they were going to walk away together as well announcing their retirement from the NHL.

A New Top Prospect

The Vancouver Canucks were likely always happy about the pick of Adam Gaudette during the 2015 draft especially with the fact that they got him in the fifth round. That excitement has only been growing for the team as Gaudette has developed into a great prospect. This year he decided to leave the NCAA and sign a deal with the Canucks to begin his pro career and his parting gift was the NCAA’s Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey.

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