Monday, May 30, 2016

NHL Predictions 2015-16: The Stanley Cup Final

So... most so-called experts are saying the San Jose Sharks will win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, usually in six games. I agree on the number of games, but I favour the Pens, who've been there before.

Both Matt Murray and Marc-André Fleury are better than Martin Jones.

Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are better than Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture.

Phil Kessel is better than Patrick Marleau. Kris Letang is a more complete defenseman than Brent Burns, though a tad less effective on the way forward due to Burns' extremely physical game.

The Pens don't have a Marc-Édouard Vlasic, though - then again, no other NHL team does, as he is the most effective defensive defenseman in the league right now. But he can only be on the ice for 25 of every 60 minutes, and the Penguins, depth will take advantage of every single second he's off the white surface to attack relentlessly.

That's where head coach Mike Sullivan's game plan differs the most from his predecessor Mike Johnston - instead of playing to hide Pittsburgh's weaknesses, he gets them to play to their strengths - and when you've got the luxury of having Kessel and Nick Bonino on your third line, that spells nine top-six players, including a world-class elite superstar on each line. It's too much depth to face without a goalie that's in a state of grace.

Again, Pens in 6.

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