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Playoff Round Up: Hello, Conference Finals

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Let’s go anyone-but-Vegas!

May 11, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70), center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) and left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) hug as they congratulate each other as they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning of game one of the Eastern Conference Fi Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Round two of the playoffs came to a close this week with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning their series against the Boston Bruins 4-1. The final game started out strong for Boston, but taking too many penalties was their weakness. They lost their final game 3-1, leaving the Bolts to advance. As we are all too familiar with, the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Sharks, sending them to their first Conference Final.

The Conference Final matchups came down to the final games between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets. Washington and San Jose have a lot in common: extremely talented franchise players with no Stanley Cups to their name, who struggle to push past the second round. This season, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals’ luck shifted. With a 2-1 victory over the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, they were headed to the Eastern Conference Final.

Things weren’t so easily finished for the Predators and Jets. Winnipeg had a 3-2 series lead over the Predators going into Game 6. Nashville brought the heat, shutting out the Jets while scoring four goals. They got another chance with a Game 7. The Jets came back strong, winning that game 5-1. Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Vegas Golden Knights is this evening at 4:00 PST.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final took place yesterday against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals. Washington continues to break their curse, winning game one 4-2. They scored two goals in the opening period, one by Michal Kempny and a power play goal scored by Alex Ovechkin. The second period was all about Washington, as well. Jay Beagle and Lars Eller had a goal each. The third period was a comeback attempt by Tampa. Steven Stamkos scored a power play goal, while Ondrej Palat had an even-strength goal. The fight was there for Tampa, but they just couldn’t pull this one off.

Game 2 is on Sunday, with a 5:00 PST puck drop.

Which teams do you think we’ll see face off in the Stanley Cup Final? Be sure to leave your predictions in the comments below!