The Stanley Cup final is upon us and only two teams remain in the hunt for Lord Stanley. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche will battle for the Stanley Cup starting Wednesday night.
Only one site for National Hockey Now remains with Colorado Hockey Now looking to cover a Cup-winning team in the same way Pittsburgh Hockey Now did in 2017.
Here are three of NHN’s writers’ picks for the Stanley Cup Final as well as our Conn Smythe picks.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW’S STANLEY FINAL PICKS
Colorado Avalanche v. Tampa Bay Lightning
Owen Krepps — Vegas Hockey Now — Avalanche in 7
This series should be fun, and hopefully better than the last two Stanley Cup Finals we have seen in terms of an entertainment factor. These are the two best teams in the league, and they fittingly face off for the ultimate prize and the greatest trophy in all of sports. The Avalanche are going to snap the Tampa Bay dynasty just barely this season in a fight to the death that will require many overtimes.
Corey Perry will lose his third-straight Stanley Cup Final, Pat Maroon’s Stanley Cup streak will end, Brayden Point will struggle in his return from injury, Jack Johnson will score the Game-7 overtime game-winning goal, and Gabriel Landeskog will give Johnson the Cup first similar to Ray Bourque in 2001.
Conn Smythe Prediction: Connor McDavid
Gary Bettman will feel bad that Connor McDavid’s 33 points in 16 games will go to waste and rig the voting for the Conn Smythe so that the Oilers get something for their efforts. The broadcast cameras will then show a live feed of McDavid watching in the stands and catch him holding hands with Bettman.
Stephen Rosner — NYI Hockey Now — Lightning in 6
While both offenses have been electric, the Avalanche have averaged 4.64 goals per game to the Lightning’s 3.06. The New York Rangers allowed Andrei Vasilevskiy to find his game after struggling in the first two contests of that series. He heads into the finals on top of his game.
For the Avalanche, Darcy Kuemper was injured in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals and enters the Cup Final having not played since June 6. The Tampa Bay Lightning know what it takes to win a Stanley Cup, have Vasilevskiy on top of his game, and also will likely welcome Brayden Point back too.
Conn Smythe Prediction: Andrei Vasilevskiy
If the Lightning are going to win their third straight, Vasilevskiy is going to have to be on top of his game, which I think he will be. He will be the difference-maker in this series and win his second-straight Conn Smythe Trophy.