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Stanley Cup Daily 5/11: Smashed

The NHL’s final four is set, and it includes some unfamiliar teams. Total combined Stanley Cups among the four finalists: one.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Winnipeg Jets at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Each day during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you game times and broadcast information.

Thursday’s Recap

Winnipeg Jets v Nashville Predators - Game Seven Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Winnipeg Jets 5, Nashville Predators 1 (WPG wins series 4-3)

Like so many games in this series, game seven was a one-sided affair. And, yet again, it was the road team who prevailed. The Jets went into Nashville and left with a 5-1 win, securing a series victory in game seven.

While the Predators are the veteran team, the Jets looked like they had been there and done it many times before. They charged out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, thanks to goals from Tyler Myers and Paul Stastny, but the home team made things interesting thanks to yet another big goal from P.K. Subban. After the opening frame, though, it was all Winnipeg. They scored two unanswered from Mark Scheifele and Stastny in the second and third made it a 4-1 game before Scheifele put the game away with a late empty net goal.

For their troubles, the Jets will now get to face the red hot (and rested) Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final. The winner of that series will face either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final.

It was a great series between the Jets and Preds, but the better team came out it, at least in my estimation. When Hellebuyck is on his game, that Jets team can flat out dominate. Lucky for them, the Vezina finalist has been on his game far more often than not. They’ll have a tough time against Vegas in round three, though. That should be yet another must-watch Western Conference series. - Brett Finger

Friday’s Preview

NHL: Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(M1) Washington Capitals at (A1) Tampa Bay Lightning

8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Over the hump, only halfway there: So the Washington Capitals did it! They slayed the two-time defending champions, and perennial nemesis, the Pittsburgh Penguins! a new reality sets in. They are only halfway to their true goal, winning a Stanley Cup. While exhilarating for the team and its fans, flaming out just one series later against an uber-talented Tampa Bay Lightning team would depress the sense of joy currently felt in the nation’s capital. Can they find a way to recharge for another tough fight?
  2. Will the Lightning Machine keep rolling? Along with the Vegas Golden Knights, the Lightning have looked the most ready to seize their Stanley Cup destiny thus far in the playoffs. After dropping Game 1 to the Boston Bruins, the Bolts blitzed by the B’s, winning four straight en route to a 4-1 series win against their division rival. Nikita Kucherov continues to look every bit the leading contender for the Conn Smythe at this point (although, he is Russian, and has two Canadian teammates in Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos performing at nearly the same clip; take that however you like), and the offensive lineup has produced 3.5 goals a game in the playoffs. Keep that pace up, and they should be lifting a fairly heavy piece of silver in about three weeks.
  3. Which goalie can take over this series? The Caps’ Braden Holtby and Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy have posted very similar lines thus far, with .926 and .927 save percentages respectively. Both have been key parts of their team’s success, but which player is most likely to elevate their game still higher to perhaps swing this series? Vasilevskiy had the superior season, so the smart money might be on him to come up biggest, but Holtby has had his moments in previous seasons (and postseasons) where he was the man that dragged his teammates as far as they could possibly go. Both teams are dynamic offensively. Whoever plays best in net will have a substantial advantage in the series. - Andy House