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Our Favourite Stanley Cup Storylines

Saturday night can’t come fast enough.

Can Connor and Leon Win the Big One?

They’ve dominated the league for years, but 2024 marks Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals.  For Connor especially, a legacy as one of the best players of all time is certainly at stake here. If you go down the list of the all-time greats in hockey history, almost all of them have their name on the Cup. With six Art Ross trophies and four MVPs between the two of them, they’ve certainly been the league’s most dominant duo of the last ten years. Unlike other pairs such as Malkin and Crosby or Kane and Toews, however, McDavid and Draisiatl remain ringless. 

Even with all the talent they have, there’s no guarantee they’ll ever make it back to this stage. Connor is currently in his prime at age 27, while Leon turns 29 in a few months. Edmonton is set up well for the future, but the NHL is a very tough league, and their opponents are a very hungry bunch. It’s hard to even predict how this series goes, but one thing is for sure – we can’t wait to watch two of the world’s best battle for the ultimate prize on hockey’s biggest stage. Can 97 and 29 cement their legacies and become Stanley Cup champions?

The Cats are Back

Just a year ago, Florida shocked the hockey world with an incredible run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Although they would eventually come up short against Vegas, the Panthers were immediately regarded as one of the Conference’s top threats for this season given how they rolled in the playoffs. In the 2023/24 campaign, all they’ve done is dominate, and now, they’ve got another chance at Lord Stanley. Led by guys like Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Reinhart, Alex Barkov, Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad, this team is extremely well balanced. The shutdown pair of Ekblad and Gustav Forsling has been arguably the best of the postseason, while Tkachuk and Barkov lead the way offensively. Then, there’s the terrific Sergei Bobrovsky in net. It’s no wonder this team comes into the Stanley Cup Finals as the slight favorite – they’re just good everywhere. 

So, can Florida avenge last year’s loss? They certainly look like a better team coming into the Finals this year, but Edmonton has something that no team they’ve seen yet has. If the Panthers can throw their weight around and stay out of the penalty box, I do think this might be the year they get it done.

Another Chance for Maurice

Despite a long and successful coaching career in the NHL going back to 1995, Paul Maurice has never won a Stanley Cup and has made the finals just twice. In 2002 with Carolina, he lost in five games. Then, of course, last year, his team lost again in five. Among coaches who have never lifted the trophy, he’s fifth in playoff games coached with 130. With all this experience and no ring to show for it, Maurice still seems like the calmest guy in Florida’s room. Sure, he can go off when he needs to, but his press conferences in this postseason have been remarkably laid back.

When you’ve been around the league for as long as he has, I guess you learn to simply take the highs and lows as they come. With his reputation around the league, though, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there were quite a few former players cheering him on to finally get it done this year. 

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