On the outskirts of Vancouver, Canada, is a large urban park 10 times the size of Central Park.
Its name is Stanley Park.
Now that’s just too perfect for a city sporting a hockey team with the largest goal differential, who scored the most goals and gave up the fewest.
Now, for the elephant in the room: the Chicago Blackhawks.
Yes, the Canucks did just barely squeeze by an eight seed, but this is like if the Spurs were playing the Lakers in the first round in the NBA playoffs.
To be fair, the Lakers would have to lose Pau Gasol and Ron Artest for the comparison to be fair, but you can never doubt the heart of a champion.
The Canucks got through what has to be the most difficult experience a team could go through, blowing a 3-0 series lead to the defending Stanley Cup winners, but they made it.
While the defensively-inclined Nashville Predators may give the Sedin twins some fits in the next round, the Predators will be seeing double soon enough as the Canucks’ feverish pursuit of the puck will wear down the Predators.
After that, who knows who they will face, but all we know is that the Canucks have already been through H-E double hockey sticks.
If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, the Canucks may become invincible.
The three keys to winning championships are: a strong defense, good depth and peaking at the right time.
The Washington Capitals gave up the fourth-fewest goals in the regular season this year. They were second in the league in penalty kill percentage and fourth in goals against.
They showed these stats weren’t flukes by only giving up eight goals in the first round of the playoffs, the fewest given up by any team.
The Capitals have a lot of depth, with every player on their first line scoring over 50 points, and all of their players on their third line scoring over ten goals.
Also, three of their top defensemen have a plus-minus above five. In the net, all three of the Capitals goalies had a 2.45 or below goals against average.
Washington went on a tear to end the season, going 16-3-1 in their last 20 games, defeating the Rangers in five games after going 1-3 against them in the regular season.
On top of all that, the Capitals have the best player in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin was seventh in the league in points, and had three goals and assists in the first round of the playoffs.
In the end, Washington will be carrying the Stanley Cup.