The end of the season is coming in the NHL, teams have clinched and it is finally the best time of the year. Playoff Time! 82 games is almost done and most guy’s hips are ready to snap off from the rest of their body. I know mine are after 61. Over the past couple of weeks we have seen Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Vegas, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose punch their ticket to the big dance. With 2-3 games remaining, there is still big games coming in regards to wildcards, seeding and matchups.
In the East we have Columbus, Jersey and Philly all at 80 games and all on point apart, respectively. It looks like those three will make the playoffs in the east, but where? The Panthers put in a valiant effort and aren’t eliminated yet but they face an uphill battle catching the previously named teams. Carolina was really the only other team who was a playoff threat but they sputtered down the stretch and couldn’t keep up with their young roster.
In the West, last night both Anaheim and the Kings clinched a playoff spot but will now play for that 3rd Pacific/WC spot. Colorado (93), and St. Louis (92) battle for the last spot in the playoffs and the Avs have a one point edge. Dallas will fall just short of a playoff spot.
Here are our M4 threats to win the Cup, in no order:
•Winnipeg Jets 50-20-10: Winnipeg possesses everything that a Cup winning team needs. They have 5 20 goal scorers, a possible Vezina candidate in Connor Hellebuyck (He is probably playing Fortnite right now), a 90 point scorer Blake Wheeler, the next Ovechkin in Patrik Laine and a good mix of young and veteran defensemen. They don’t have a ton playoff experience besides Byfuglien and Stastny but Winnipeg might have the most loyal fans in the league and home ice will do them very well in their first round matchup and later rounds. They play the right way, 9-1 in their last 10 and can make a serious run in the west this season; something this franchise could use.
•Nashville Predators 51-18-11: The reigning Western Conference Champs are back and may be deeper than last year. The probable President’s Trophy winners have 13 (13!!!) 10 goal scorers (2 with 9) and 4 lines that can get it done. They could have the best DCore in the NHL and they’re getting Pekka Rinne’s best season of his career. There was something about the 2017 playoff team that you learned to love and that Cup run experience in that electric city will help a great deal in getting those final wins for a ring.
•Boston Bruins 49-18-12: Best team in the east and they have been playing without their full lineup in almost every single game. Always have a key piece missing and find a way to win. The good news? They will be healthy for the playoffs. 5th PP and 4th PK will pay huge dividends for them and Tuukka Rask has been lights out. They have the big 3 who all have 30 goals and Chara, McAvoy and Krug have been great. Their backhalf forwards may not seem intimidating but they know their roles and play them well.
•Tampa Bay Lightning 53-23-4: It almost feels like TB got off to such a good start that they’ve been checked out for a month. They have the most elite talent in the NHL and if Hedman didn’t get hurt they could have swept the awards. Not that the Lightning have stunk but they have not been the same in the second half. Look for Kucherov, Stammer and others to bring out their best and look like a cup contender early and often.
The Hart Race has been incredible. Kucherov, Malkin, Kopitar, Giroux, McDavid, MacKinnon, Marchand, Hall, Karlsson. I would not want to vote but if I had to, I think I go with MacKinnon who missed 10 games and was still good enough to get Colorado to the dance.
In College Hockey, The Frozen Four is this weekend where Ohio State will play Minnesota Duluth and Notre Dame – Michigan will face off for a chance to play for the National Title in Minnesota.
Golden State could be in trouble without Curry. Utah is 26-5 in their past 31. The Sixers could be for real. Houston, Boston, Toronto continues to roll.
In The East: The Raptors and Celtics are the two best “teams” in the east. Been consistent and just keep winning. The Sixers (TRUST IT!!) have clinched a spot, could win 50 games and could be really scary in the playoffs. The Cavs went through a rough patch but Lebron decided to have the best month of his career and they’re obviously a concern for the other 7 teams in the east if he continues to dominate the way he has. The 8 playoff teams are set, it is all seeding now which could get dicey with 6-8 (MIA, WSH, MIL)
In The West: The West is super competitive but Houston is far and away the best team. Health is a key factor as Curry could miss some time. The 7-10 spots are all within two games and will come down to the last game as to who grabs the playoff spot. Utah has been white hot which will help Donovan Mitchell’s ROTY case against Ben Simmons. You can never sleep on San Antonio as they give up under 100PPG and the Trail Blazers should win 50 games and Dame has looked really good lately.
NCAA basketball was insanity! UMBC (16) absolutely smoked No. 1 Virginia which showed us that it’s not impossible! We saw a region have a 5,7,9,11 go to the Sweet 16 and Loyola-Chicago-Sister Jean, an 11 seed earned their spot all the way to the Final Four before blowing a late lead to Michigan. In the end, we saw the best team win it all. It was a very uneventful final to one of the funnest tourneys in recent memory. Villanova/Hot Jay wins their 2nd in 3 seasons and now we look to 2018, where Duke will have the best class ever and will be the favorites to win in 2019
IT’S BACK!! We are a week in and have seen some really great stuff. I bought the MLB package so needless to say I’ve been pretty pathetic lately. Stanton’s first AB in pinstripes he launched a 1,000,000ft Homer to RF. Shohei Ohtani was great in his first start earning a quality start and a win. A few days later he smashed a 3 run homerun for his first ever. Edwin Encarnacion hit an inside the parker, Bryce Harper went 1-1 with 4Ks in a game and the Dodgers are 2-5. You can’t predict baseball!
1. Astros 6-1: Dominance. +21 Run Difference and Altuve is a mini monster.
2. Red Sox 5-1: Quiet but getting it done. Sale strikes everyone out. Noone is safe
3. DBacks 5-1: +12 and Nick Ahmed is the MVP of the world
4. Mets 4-1: +9, only given up 13 runs in 5 games
5. Braves 4-2: Averaging 8 runs a game.
6. Brewers 4-2: New additions Yelich and Cain showing why they’ll be a force
7. Yankees 4-2: Could be higher but that bullpen is ugly. The Bombers are back
8. Angels 5-2: Ohtani has been great so far. Win/2HR
9. Pirates 4-1: Just lost to the Twins to lose their first. Josh Bell could have huge year
10. Blue Jays 4-2: Smoak and Donaldson swinging well, underrated Staff
10B. Nationals 4-2: Harper is a monster, they have lots of talent.
17-11-1 on baseball bets this year.
The Draft is getting closer! All sorts of crazy Mock Drafts coming out. We will have our updated one coming soon. I also heard Brett Favre May come back.
Lots of big moves:
Jets trade up for #3 Pick
Brandin Cooks to Rams for a 1st (Used to get OBJ?)
Kirk Cousins & Sheldon Richardson to the Vikes
Suh to Rams
Pierre-Paul, Curry to Bucs
Honey Badger to the Texans
Crabtree (and RG3) to Ravens
Jordy Nelson to the Raiders
Josh Sitton to the Dolphins
Case Keenum to the Broncs
Jimmy Graham to the Pack
Malcolm Butler to Titans
Jarvis Landry/ Tyrod Taylor to Browns
Thanks to all of our supporters! Don’t forget about The Masters this weekend!!If you are interested in Shirts, Stickers or Koozies, let us know via Twitter, Instagram, DM or email! Major4sports@gmail.com