After which there have been 4.
The convention finals get underway Sunday with the Vegas Golden Knights taking at the Dallas Stars within the West (eight p.m. ET, NBC), whilst the Tampa Bay Lightning will face the New York Islanders on Monday (eight p.m. ET, NBCSN) within the East. Each collection will happen within the Edmonton bubble.
The Islanders have not been this a long way since 1993, although their trainer, Barry Trotz, were given to the 3rd around with the Washington Capitals in 2018, the place they beat the Lightning.
The Golden Knights, the lone ultimate 4 crew with no Stanley Cup identify, reached in 2018 of their first season within the league and the Stars were given this a long way in 2008.
Which two groups will advance to the Stanley Cup Ultimate? USA TODAY Sports activities’ NHL mavens weigh in:
Robin Lehner and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Dallas Stars in a round-robin sport final month. (Photograph: Jeff Vinnick, Getty Photographs)
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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders
Jimmy Hascup: Lightning in six. One of the simplest ways to explain the Lightning because the season resumed is a crew on a project. Tampa Bay has long gone 10-Three, wiping out each playoff collection in 5 video games and doing it with out captain Steven Stamkos. Barry Trotz’s team may just frustrate with its defensive taste, however the Lightning are too deep and proficient – and, maximum essential, now are a extra whole crew that makes combatants earn all 200 toes of ice. They’ve scored greater than 3 targets thrice, whilst giving up greater than two best 4 instances.
Mike Brehm: Lightning in six. Trotz would possibly have bested the Lightning earlier than, however he’s going to have a harder time by contrast model, which added gritty avid gamers and intensity after final season’s surprising first-round sweep by means of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Lightning are pushed by means of that loss. The Islanders will frustrate them with stingy protection and productive forwards, however the Lightning have higher ability up and down the lineup, together with awards finalists in defenseman Victor Hedman and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Jace Evans: Lightning in six. The well being standing of Nikita Kucherov is of a few worry – and who is aware of if Stamkos may even play a sport in those playoffs at this level – however in dispatching the Bruins in 5 video games, Tampa gained one thing that has been briefly provide within the bubble: time without work. That stands to learn the deep Lightning vs. an Islanders crew that needed to play seven video games, with more than one time beyond regulation contests.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars
Hascup: Golden Knights in six video games. The Golden Knights did the whole lot proper towards the Canucks excluding translate sufficient scoring possibilities into targets, which made for an in depth collection. This revel in will lend a hand them now towards a greater general crew protection than Vancouver’s. Their puck ownership, uptempo taste will have to cause them to the Stanley Cup berth, although they’ll wish to create extra closer-ranger possibilities.
Brehm: Golden Knights in six. The Stars have rediscovered their offense, however they’ve given up extra targets than they scored within the postseason. That may be a subject towards the Golden Knights, who can fit the Stars’ offense however have higher defensive numbers. Each groups get offense from their protection, with Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen (21 issues) the highest scorer amongst the ones nonetheless enjoying and Vegas’ Shea Theodore chipping in 16 issues.
Evans: Golden Knights in 5. Do not let their second-round collection idiot you: The best factor that stood between the Golden Knights and every other quick collection used to be a fully superb efficiency in web by means of Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko within the ultimate 3 video games. Differently, Vegas used to be completely dominant, racking up lopsided shot totals whilst Robin Lehner secured 3 shutouts within the collection. Dallas is extra skilled, however Vegas is enjoying the most productive of any crew closing within the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Golden Knights will have to advance to the Ultimate for the second one time in 3 seasons.