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2024 Division Finals Preview

Previewing the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 2 months ago • 5 min read

We have now arrived in the second round if this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Elite Eight. The Division Finals. The first round of any playoffs is always special, especially that very first game, because...well...that makes it real. The second round is amazing, because it's usually the last stop before things get really serious. The winners play for their respective conferences, with each series winner representing their respective divisions. This year's first round didn't give us any true upsets, as all of the Wild Cards were ousted, while only one third place team advanced.

With all of that said, here are the four Division Final matchups:

Atlantic Division Final

The Florida Panthers defeated the Boston Bruins in the first round last year

So here we are, two of the biggest frauds in the NHL are running into each other for Atlantic Division supremacy. The Florida Panthers and the Boston Bruins needed Game 82 to decide who would finish first in the Atlantic, and it was the Panthers who ended up with that sweet spot in the end. For Florida, Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksandar Barkov are doing their thing as usual, though Sam Reinhart enters this series with only three points--though they all went in the net. Picking up the slack is Carter Verhaeghe, who has nine points (similar to Tkachuk)--with five of them being goals!

As for the Bruins, the numbers haven't really been strong. David Pastrnak's overtime series clincher in Game Seven against the Toronto Maple Leafs made up for the fact that his postseason hasn't been going well. Pasta has five points (3 G/2 A) in seven games, while his partner in crime, Brad Marchand, has been leading the way with eight points. While Boston needed to play a full series, the Panthers only needed five games to oust their in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Metropolitan Division Final

The Rangers ousted the Hurricanes in the 2022 Metropolitan Final

I am aware that thanks to some strange scheduling, this series actually started before the first round officially ended. Even so, this meeting between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers should be a good one. These two teams last met two years ago in the second round, and as we recall, it was a series that saw the home team win every game, until Game Seven. The Rangers went to Raleigh and blasted the Canes in the deciding game that year.

Regarding this year, the Rangers are coming off a first round disappointment, while Carolina had their best chance to win it, but couldn't exorcise their third round demons. If this year's matchup is anything like last year, it'll an absolute dogfight. The Rangers swept the Washington Capitals to each this point, while the Hurricanes ousted the New York Islanders.

Central Division Final

This is the sixth playoff meeting between the Stars and the Avalanche

We now go from the first of the four series to be locked in, to the last of the four. The opening round ended with the Dallas Stars eliminating the then-defending champion Vegas Golden Knights in a seven game thriller, receiving payback for their Western Conference Final loss last year. This was quite the effort, and it came despite some key names not having a good series. Matt Duchene only had two points in the series, Roope Hintz only had a goal, and Joe Pavelski (who tore it up last year) is not on the scoresheet. Wyatt Johnston and Jason Robertson are doing their thing, and Jake Oettinger racked up a sub-2.00 GAA, but they'll need more than that against the Colorado Avalanche.

What can I say about the Avs that hasn't already been said? It looked like all appeared to be lost when Alexandar Georgiev got shelled in Game One, but the side consolation was that the offense exploded for six goals. Since then, the offense continue to explode, while Georgiev's game vastly improved. The Avs have 28 goals in five games, which was how long our series against the Winnipeg Jets lasted. The scary part? Only six of those goals came from the combined effort of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar. Valeri Nichushkin had seven goals in the series against Winnipeg. And this was all done without Jonathan Drouin in the lineup, and he should be back for Round 2! Oh man!

Pacific Division Final

The Canucks and OIlers are meeting for the first time since 1992

If the last four decades have taught us hockey fans anything, it's this: it is always fun when Canadian teams run into each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This was commonplace back in the old days when the Adams and Smythe Divisions existed, as the Adams often saw the Nordiques and Canadiens clash, while the Smythe had four Canadian teams and the Los Angeles Kings bunched up together. We don't really see it that much anymore since the divisional playoff format ended 30 years ago, but when we do see two Canadian teams battle each other in a best-of-seven series, it's special. The last time was two years ago, and it was the Battle of Alberta on playoff display.

This year, the final in the Pacific Division will feature the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers facing off for the first time since the Smythe Division Final in 1992. The Oilers, as usual, have the duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl dominating; McDavid is the overall playoff leader with 12 points (G/11 A), while Draisaitl has 10 points (five of each). The Canucks had been survivors so far; losing Thatcher Demko for the first round led to Casey DeSmith and Arturs Silovs stepping it up, and boy did they. Demko won Game One against the Nashville Predators prior to the injury, DeSmith won Game Three, and Silovs won Games Four and Six--the latter being a shutout victory. While Vancouver needed six games, the Oilers only needed five to oust the Los Angeles Kings.

The second round is here! Regarding telecasts, the U.S. regional sports networks are done for the season, it's all national broadcasts from this point on. ESPN and the Turner networks will have the entire second round here in the States, with Max simulcasting Turner's telecasts, while Sportsnet will have the games in Canada. For the second straight year, the second round began without the defending Stanley Cup Champions; in fact, this is the fourth time in the six years that the defending champs ended up ousted in Round 1. In addition, not only is there a 25% chance of a Canadian team winning the Cup, but a Canadian team will advance to the Final Four for the fifth time in eight years. This year's Elite Eight will be amazing, it already got underway, and I sense the rest of Round 2 being quite thrilling!

hockey

About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

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Comments (2)

  • Philip Gipson2 months ago

    This preview is absolutely perfect.

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    A great preview! đź’ś

Clyde E. DawkinsWritten by Clyde E. Dawkins

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