Perhaps you have heard of the Nashville Predators. They were the best team in the league this year.
Last year, they were the last team into the playoffs.
Before you jump on me for comparing last year’s Predators with this year’s Avalanche, I’m just using the example to show that anything can truly happen in the playoffs.
Since the Wild Card was introduced in 2014, here are the teams who represented the West in the finals:
- Los Angeles (third in Pacific)
- Chicago (third in Central)
- San Jose (third in Pacific)
- Nashville (second Wild Card)
Again, this just highlights that anything can happen in the playoffs. Not only has the best team in West not made it to the finals in the past four years, but the top four teams have not made it. Upsets happen all the time in the playoffs, which is the beauty of the NHL.
When expectations are low, it’s easy to play free. The Avalanche should not be in this position. They had 48 points last season. People thought getting to 60 points would be a big improvement. They finished with 95 points.
They are playing with house money right now. If they lose, so what? They are the youngest team in the league, have a lot of cap space heading into the offseason, and now have playoff experience. There is no pressure on them.
You know who there is pressure on? Nashville. They were in the Final last year. They made big moves to improve their team and load up for another run this season. They look like the perfect team.
But Curt Hennig was never world champion. Daniel Bryan was.