SPNHL, Season 36: Stanley Cup Finals Preview + Conference Finals Recap
I’ve saved some of the best for last. This week’s recommendation is one of my own personal favourites: letlive.’s 2010 album “Fake History”. We’re on the brink of a modern civil war, and this eleven year old record provides the perfect soundtrack for it. “Fake History” made many year-end lists and eventually end of decade lists, and with 11 tracks clocking in at just under 45 minutes, there’s a lot of ground to cover here.
This album covers subjects from the band’s personal lives (themes of love, life, and death) and political lives (discussing patriotism, race, class, and sexuality), doing so in a sonically intoxicating fashion. You’ve got your slower and heavier numbers for the hardcore fans in “Enemies [Enemigos]” and “We, the Pros of Con”, the frenetic paced sprints like “Renegade 86” and “Casino Columbus”, and emotionally gripping compositions like “Muther” and “Day 54”. If you’ve been keeping up with these recommendations, you’ll see how everything kind of meshes into this one album.
I will say, it’s kind of nice to not be writing about my team for once this season. It’s a bittersweet feeling, but with that comes the anticipation of the Stanley Cup Finals! Two teams have endured 12 other teams in one of the most competitive seasons of the SPNHL in recent memory. Their two months of hard work are rewarded with this: a chance to play 7 games, and the necessity to win 4 of said seven games in order to hoist the greatest trophy in hockey. Those two aforementioned teams are the Boston Bruins and the Calgary Flames.
The Bruins were expected to dominate from the start and did so this past season, earning 70 points and the President’s Trophy as the league’s best regular season team, as well as the Prince of Wales Trophy as the champions of the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have lost one game in the playoffs, as they defeated the offensively overpowered Detroit Red Wings in the first round and then swept the defensively fortified New Jersey Devils in the second round. Boston has plenty of momentum as they enter this Stanley Cup Final.
The winners of the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl as the champions of the Western Conference, the Flames were notoriously projected to finish sixth in the West at the beginning of the season. As the season progressed, the Flames eventually upgraded their offensive attack to the point where they had (arguably) the best line in the league. That line has propelled them to victory as they swept the Blackhawks in the first round, and then defeated the 35 win (lead the regular season) Predators in 5 games. Calgary has certainly heated up throughout these playoffs, and look to explode in this 7 game championship series.
Let’s take a look at the conference championship series and then preview the Stanley Cup Finals matchup!
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Boston Bruins (1) vs. New Jersey Devils (3)
Season Result: Boston wins 4-0.
Series MVP: DeathClxwn.
The New Jersey Devils were used to overtime, and the first two games of this series were no exception. The Boston Bruins rallied back from deficits in the first two games of this series to force OT, and ended up taking games 1 and 2 by a score of 5-4 in overtime. Those squandered leads were too much for the Devils to overcome, as Boston won the next two games by a combined score of 9-1 and captured the Prince of Wales Trophy. DeathClxwn was an animal for the Bruins in this series, scoring eight goals and adding 11 helpers as the Bruins dismantled the Devils and punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Nashville Predators (1) vs. Calgary Flames (2)
Series Result: Calgary wins 4-1.
Series MVP: Whitetees41.
This looked like it was going to be an incredibly competitive series from the start, and after Nashville took the first game by a score of 2-1, it looked like it would remain that way. However, after a 5-1 blowout in game 2 and a 7-4 shootout in game 3, the tide had turned for the Flames and they were leading 2-1 in the series. A close 4-3 game 4 victory gave way to a 4-1 game 5 victory and the Clarence S. Campbell Trophy. Whitetees41 had 8 goals and 6 assists in 5 games, continuing his torrid scoring pace over the past two months as he and the Flames anticipate their most challenging 7 games this season.
STANLEY CUP FINALS
Boston Bruins (East) vs. Calgary Flames (West)
Playoff Record: 8-1.
Notable Playoff Stats: 5.375 goals per game (1st), 100% penalty kill (1st).
Leading Scorer: DeathClxwn (29 points).
X – Factor: DudNastyy
Playoff Record: 8-1.
Notable Playoff Stats: 2.22 goals against per game (t-1st), 45% powerplay conversion (2nd).
Leading Scorer: Whitetees41 (32 points).
X – Factor: PBM_TroyJ.
Offense: Boston has scored 43 goals throughout these playoffs, while Calgary has scored 39. While the difference in numbers is minimal, both teams have had six goal scorers, with Capitalsfan_08 of the Bruins and Whitetees41 of the Flames sharing the lead at 18 goals a piece. The concentration of the goals in Calgary have come from Tees, Troy, and Fluri37, with that line accounting for 34 of their team’s goals (87%). While Capitalsfan and DeathClxwn have done the majority of scoring in Boston (29 goals), they have iyzcniZi and Pfarrcyde23 who have also been reliable hands on offense and can produce when called upon. While Calgary has had better luck on the powerplay, Boston has been perfect on their penalty kill, so don’t expect special teams to make much of a difference. While Boston has the offensive depth, I believe that Calgary’s nuclear line will give them the offensive edge in this series. Advantage: Calgary.
Defense: looking at Boston’s roster, you have to give them the immediate advantage. Dudnastyy’s move to defense is exactly what the Bruins needed, and he has been outstanding there this post-season with 12 points and no PIMS. Additionally, they have outstanding defensive depth with Graham_scott, Uberpwned_6969, and Servnspike all doing time on defense in these playoffs. With that elite of a defensive core, it’s no surprise to see them only give up 20 goals in these playoffs. However, Calgary has equaled that total and only allowed 2.22 goals against per game with a very underrated group of defenders. Sabres1414 has been noted for his offensive abilities at the point, and NowYoDead has played well at his natural position in these playoffs. Visibility12 has handled himself well at the point (unlike in chat <3), and jasonw1978 has been reliable when called upon. While Calgary has impressed with their defensive performance over the course of this post-season, Boston’s defenders outmatch their Calgary counterparts and will give them the advantage in these Stanley Cup Finals. Advantage: Boston.
Goaltending: let’s talk about Eddie first. Eddie2708_ is a great goaltender who has experienced success at high levels in other leagues, and has backstopped this team to the Stanley Cup Finals. His stats are respectable, stopping 79.37% of shots in this postseason while averaging 2.22 goals against. While his stats may not shine in comparison to others, Eddie has been incredibly reliable in net. Opposing him in net though is the greatest goaltender in SP history: chadkillz134. He wins Vezina trophy season after season for a reason, and enters this playoff series with the same GAA in 2.22, but has stopped 83.05% of shots against him. Chad has been to the Finals for 4 seasons straight now, and has won 2 Cups. His championship pedigree will give him the confidence and capability to outshine his opponent in the crease. Advantage: Boston.
The Verdict: defense wins championships. Boston also has the significant goaltending advantage, and while Calgary has the better offense, it’s not enough to get them the victory. I’ve doubted Calgary all season long, so I might as well keep up the tradition. Boston in 6.
For one team, the end of this week will bring triumph, and the other, tragedy. It will be the seven (six if you factor in my prediction) most important games these teams will play all season and they will need to bring their all if they want to emerge victorious. These teams will need to play gritty offense, getting into the nooks and crannies and winning those puck battles to generate offense. They’ll need to play shutdown defense against a plethora of offensive threats, staying disciplined and structured and putting in their best performances all season. Lastly, goaltenders will need to stay calm and collected, and not let the championship pressure get to them, as they’ll face a myriad of opportunities from some of the most talented players in the league. It’s put up or shut up time for the two best teams in season 36 of the SPNHL.
In the end, only one team can emerge victorious, and whoever does, you’ll hear all about it on the next episode of SPNHL: Off the Ice! Our program has been delivered in some unconventional ways for the past few weeks, but our next episode will recap the entirety of the playoffs and the awards as well! Tune in to hear us talk about you (maybe, definitely not if you ask for it) and hear Pliskin, Fluri, and I discuss all things SPNHL and from real life! Tune into https://twitch.tv/thespnhl_media on Saturday nights to hear us ramble and while you’re there, subscribe!
Also, don’t forget to sign up for season 37, which we hopefully will have some more information regarding it soon!
Good luck to the Bruins and the Flames this week as they vie for the Stanley Cup!