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Stanley Cup Playoff Power Rankings: Halfway there

Jesse Montano Avatar
June 1, 2022

We are officially into Round 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it has been such a fun postseason so far. For the Conference Finals, we’ve got two early-season favorites and two teams that have proved all the doubters wrong (including myself).

Two great matchups featuring four extremely talented teams.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (Round 2 Series Win: 4-0)

1st Round Rank: 1

Any questions that folks had about if this team is still motivated enough to win should be pretty clearly put to bed. What an unbelievable series from the Lightning. 

The Florida Panthers literally spent all year trying to build a team that could knock off their in-state rival. Not only did Tampa Bay win, they dominated. Andre Vasilevsky is back to looking unbeatable, and Nikita Kucherov found his scoring touch. That’s what is so scary about this team, they can be on a downward trend, then in the blink of an eye, they can just bury you. 

This Lighting team has been there, done that. Nothing rattles them, nothing shakes their confidence, and they look like they want a three-peat. 

2. Colorado Avalanche (Round 2 Series Win 4-2)

2nd Round Rank: 2

I said it on the DNVR Avalanche Podcast, you never want to lose games, but that Game 5 loss gave the Avalanche the chance to prove that they had grown and matured from their last two postseason exits. They got punched in the mouth and responded in every way you wanted to see. 

This team has had the talent and the depth to win in the past, but this year it really looks like they have solved the mental side of the game as well. They’ve got their toughest tasks ahead, but you have to like what you’ve seen from them so far. 

3. Edmonton Oilers (Round 2 Series Win 4-1)

2nd Round Rank: 8

Ok, I give. I’m officially done saying that Connor McDavid can’t take this team anywhere by himself, because he just might be good enough to. Credit to the entire Oilers team, they really have played well beyond my expectations, and knocked off the Calgary Flames in impressive fashion. 

McDavid though, he’s on another planet right now. There are two players in these playoffs who are doing things for their teams that you just can’t account for. Vasilevsky of the Lightning, and McDavid for the Oilers. You can be playing a great game against Edmonton, and suddenly McDavid burns you and you’re fishing the puck out of your own net. He’s been the ultimate game-breaker in this postseason, and I honestly don’t know how you stop him. (Leon Draisaitl hasn’t been bad either)

4. New York Rangers (Round 2 Series Win 4-3

2nd Round Rank: 7

With the way Igor Shesterkin was playing in Round 1, you thought there was no way they could beat such a deep Carolina team. While it certainly helps that the Hurricanes didn’t win a single road game this postseason, the Rangers played great and did exactly what they needed to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. 

The Rangers are top-heavy, they have been all year, but when your best players are coming through on a nightly basis, you can get away with it. Easily their toughest challenge is coming against Tampa, but New York has some great mojo going right now, and that can sometimes produce unexpected results. 


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