On the off chance that there is a reasonable takeaway from the NHL’s standard season, it’s that very little isolates some of the current year’s playoff groups. Indeed, even the one group that is plainly over the rest ought not be viewed as the well on the way to lift the Stanley Container.
The group everybody will discuss is the Tampa Sound Lightning. Jon Cooper, a surefire Jack Adams Grant finalist as the NHL’s best mentor, guided his group to a 62-16-4 record, procuring it the Presidents’ Trophy and a tie with the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most successes in a season. Its top scorer, forward Nikita Kucherov, an undeniable MVP hopeful, had 128 (41 objectives, 87 helps), the most by any skater since 1995-96. Andrei Vasilevskiy ought to likewise be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, granted to the alliance’s top goaltender.
[NHL grants: Hart Trophy is obvious, however dubious picks could catch Vezina, Norris]
However being the top group doesn’t mean having a simple street to the Stanley Glass finals. Since 2005-06 — the beginning of the pay top period — only two of 13 Presidents’ Trophy champs have raised the Glass. Four groups with the best normal season record have lost in the first round, and four more have lost in the second. Three of those second-round ways out have happened in the previous three years.