NHL Conference Finals preview


The NHL play-offs have reached the last four with Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning set to fight it out to see who will lift the Stanley Cup.

The current holders Tampa Bay completed a clean 4-0 sweep against the Florida Panthers in their series to reach the Eastern Conference final where they will face the New York Rangers who had to overcome the Carolina Hurricanes in a series that went all the way down to game seven with Rangers winning on the road in Carolina 6-2.

The Western Conference final will be between the Colorado Avalanche who beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 to reach the final and the Edmonton Oilers who needed just five games to get the better of the Calgary Flames 4-1.

Connor McDonald and the Oilers will open the first of the Conference finals tonight Tuesday against Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche, with Lightning starting their quest for a third straight Stanley Cup on Wednesday night against Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The Lightning swept aside the Panthers without key player Brayden Point. They are playing like a group that’s determined to not let slip their grasp on this wonderful trophy.

Andrei Vasilevski is another player who is thriving thus far in the play-offs. Without Point, this will be a tough match up with the Rangers who will have the outstanding Shesterkin in goal.

Lightning managed without Point in Round 2, but against one of the best goal tenders in the league in Shesterkin they will need to have all the fire power available to get past the Russian.

The Oilers go into the Conference finals with the two leading scorers of the play-offs in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, along with outstanding players led by Evander Kane and Zach Hyman who have chipped in with goals in abundance.

Netminder Mike Smith has looked impressive so far for the Oilers, who will need his services to see off the big threat of the Avalanche.

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