Two teams, one cup: Who will win?

The 2013 NHL season is drawing to an end, and two of our staffers predict that the Eastern Conference will dominate in the Stanley Cup finals.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Statistically speaking, the Pittsburgh Penguins will win the Stanley Cup. The odds are in Pittsburgh’s favor, with CBS Sports reporting there is a 7-to-2 chance of the Penguins hoisting the cup for a fourth time. Although professional sports have long proven that one play, a traumatic injury, or a referee’s shaky call can completely invalidate a statistical prediction; the Penguins are prepared to “wow” critics with an impressive playoff run.

The Penguins are constantly plagued with injuries, but the team adapts by stacking the roster with capable players. Pittsburgh has the unique ability to score with any combination of players on the ice. Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, and Pascal DuPuis all lead both the team and the league offensively. Defensively speaking, Kris Letang

The only fatal flaw the Penguins face this postseason is in the goal. Marc-Andre Fleury and his butterfly technique of goaltending often dominate in the regular season; however, he tends to cool down by playoff time. While Fleury has proved to be inconsistent and unpredictable, when he does perform, he becomes the strongest player on the ice. A large part of Pittsburgh’s fate lies on Fleury’s shoulders. If he is unable to perform, backup Tomas Vokoun is more capable of posting stats than the majority of other goalies.

With a stacked roster, strong playoff experience, and a true motivation to win, the Penguins are easily going to take their fourth Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh will likely face Western Conference favorite,  Chicago. The well-rounded Blackhawks could prove to be tough competition for the Penguins, however, Pittsburgh’s offensive line will easily dominate over Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

~Abby Seitz, online/associate editor

Boston Bruins:

With veteran leadership, stern defense, and a roster that is willing to get dirty to win, I predict the Boston Bruins will win their second Stanley Cup championship in three years. Under the calm leadership of center Patrice Bergeron, defenseman Zdeno Chara, and head coach Claude Julien, the Bruins perform extremely well under the pressure of the postseason.

The Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins are the two most well-rounded teams in hockey. The offensive edge would be Pittsburgh, but defensively few teams are better than the Bruins. Moreover the Bruins offense is not one to be trifled with, thanks to a major offensive upgrade mid-way through the season by trading for forward Jaromir Jagr. He leads all current players in career postseason scoring, and plays on the same line as the Bruins’ overall points leader, Brad Marchand.

The Bruins are the most experienced team in the playoffs right now, and they have done it before (for the most part). A whopping 18 players from the Bruins 2010-2011 championship winning club remain on the roster. Along with NHL veteran additions, such as Jagr and defenseman Wade Redden, the Bruins boast an entire roster that has faced postseason play at some point.

The Bruins are currently the third favorite team to win the cup according to Vegas online sportsbooks, with odds of 17/2. I predict that they will defeat the statistically favored Penguins because of their defensive advantage and consistent goaltending. The Bruins will play the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, winning in six games.

~Josh Henry, design editor

Advertisements

Four FHS teams finish first in districts

Senior Zach Chrisinger is a member of the 2013 district champion boys lacrosse team. The team clinched their first district title after defeating Kettle Run.
Senior Zach Chrisinger is a member of the 2013 district champion boys lacrosse team. The team clinched their first district title after defeating Kettle Run.
Senior Brad Smoot delivers a pitch during an early April game. The baseball team finished second in the district, behind Kettle Run. FHS will face off against Warren County on Friday for the first round of postseason district play.

As the regular season winds to a close, four FHS teams have emerged to claim first place in their respective sports. Girls tennis, softball, boys lacrosse, track, and boys tennis have all been crowned district champions for regular season play.

“It was amazing to win for the fourth year in a row,” track runner and junior Scott Gilb said. “We’re ranked fifth in the region, so we have a pretty good chance of advancing. We’ve been working all year for this.”

Girls soccer and girls lacrosse finished second in the district.

“I’m really proud of how the season went,” junior girls lacrosse captain Morgan Ryan said. “We started out rough, but we’ve come together and developed and we’re definitely ready to move on. We even clinched a spot in regionals, which we’re pretty pumped about.”

Boys soccer and baseball finished fourth in the district. All teams advance to the Evergreen District Championships, which will be held over the next two weeks. The top two district teams advance to the Region II tournament. Two teams then advance to the state tournament, held in early to mid June, depending on the sport.

“We’re practicing every day [for regionals and states],” tennis player and junior Megan Magahalaes said. “Usually, we play Western Albemarle, but we’re playing a tougher school this year. We’re still confident. We have a strong team, and we can win.”

~Abby Seitz, online/associate editor