Which NHL Playoff Team Should You Root For?

Panther Parkway Playoff Preview

We’re hours away from puck drop for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and it donned on me (and on all around good guy Jameson Cooper) that there may be thousands and possibly millions of you readers out there who don’t have a vetted interest in a team this year. Your team may have not made it to the post-season, you could be a new fan or you could have amnesia…if that’s the case, thanks for reading and consult a physician immediately after reading this post. Whatever the reason may be, if you need to latch on to a team for the post-season then do I have a piece for you! There are 16 teams in this year’s post season, some are good, some are really good, some are really really really good and some are just OK. Let’s take a look at which team may be a good fit for you.

Anaheim Ducks

Do you like Disney movies about a scrappy gang of youths melded together by the bonds of teamwork, being poor, and national pride? If so then the Ducks could be the team you’re looking for. Don’t be confused by their captain’s lack of hair – he’s amazing at hockey and will not let you down if you’re looking for a deep playoff run. The kicker is 92 year Teemu Selanne, who is retiring at the end of these playoffs, so if you’re into nostalgia and crying then you’re on the right path.

Boston Bruins

Nobody in their right mind should cheer for the Bruins so if you’re not in your right mind you can cheer for them I guess. Also I hate you.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have been the toast of the NHL for a while now. If you’re that person who wants instant gratification then hitch your horse to the wagon and hang on for dear life. If you’re the person who has never seen a Rocky movie, watches Rocky 4 ,and then tells everyone that you love every Rocky movie then cheer for the Blackhawks.

Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche is made up from a group of young players with an excessive amount of high-end dynamic talent. Players like Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene (injured, but still), Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny, will surely make your eyes pop out of your head. They’re also coached by a crazy person. Their playoff hashtag is #whynotus so if you’re into innovative playoff hashtags you might want to look elsewhere for a team to support.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs for the 2nd time in their history. Good for them right? If you like an underdog and or jokes about fellatio then you should fit right in with this fanbase. The Blue Jackets are this year’s working class blue-collar team so if you get a kick out of those Ford F-150 commercials where the announcer is pretty much reading everything on the screen, then go ahead and cheer for the Jackets.

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn, best player by far, has led his Stars to the last playoff spot in the West. I’m sure all of Texas is behind them but if you feel like hootin’ and hollerin’ and ho-downin’ and other Texas slangs then hop right on this chuck wagon!

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit has made the playoffs 23 years in a row. They have won only 4 Stanley Cups in that span, so if you like high winning percentages, then don’t root for the Red Wings. If you like Sweden, rookies, cool breakaway moves and great coaching then they may be right up your alley.

Los Angeles Kings

All of LA’s top C list celebrities are totally into the Kings so if you want to head to Staples Center and snap a selfie with Matthew Perry then you’re in the right ballpark. The Kings are a team that Wayne Gretzky used to play for so if you want to impress your friends with that bit of trivia when explaining your fandom then wear that silver and black.

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is the self-proclaimed “State of Hockey” which would be accurate if Michigan, New York, New Jersey, California, Missouri, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania all didn’t have hockey teams too. Liars.

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal has won the most Stanley Cups out of any NHL franchise with 24. They haven’t won one since 1993 so if you’re looking to get on board with a group of self-entitled history-clutching crazies, who are desperately waiting to see a cup win in their lifetime then mon ami/e you are knocking at the right door. Poutine is fantastic too, that should be good enough.

New York Rangers

The Rangers are one of three teams in New York (keep thinking of that third one). They’re like the Yankees if the Yankees have only won 4 World Series ever and haven’t won one since 1994 and the one before that was in 1940. If you like not having lofty expectations met then go put on a blue shirt.

Philadelphia Flyers

They sing America the Beautiful instead of the Star Spangled Banner so if you like alternate forms of patriotism then cheer for the Flyers. They’re also historically violent, made the Red Army team refuse to play against them because of it and their fans have the reputation of being a-holes. If this made you mad then you’re probably a Flyers fan already.

Pittsburgh Penguins

If you like cheering for the best at anything then step right up and feast your eyes on Sidney Crosby. Supporting the best hockey player in the world is reason enough to cheer for the Penguins and fans have been doing just that since 2005. I’d like to point out that former arguably best player in the world Mario Lemieux partly owns the team and will be shown frequently on TV throughout these playoffs so if you like passing torches from generation to generation then grab a Pens jersey and get ready to be disappointed by Marc Andre Fleury.

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup and have the unfortunate reputation of being “playoff chokers.” If you like great teams with great players then cheer for the Sharks. If you like teal then cheer for the Sharks. If you like the Jaws theme song then cheer for the Sharks. If you want to get offended every time someone mentions the word “choke” then sheer for the Sharks. If you want to be part of their first cup win then don’t cheer for the Sharks because they’re kind of chokers.

St. Louis Blues

Another team without a Cup win ever. A lot of people don’t like the Blues so if you’re a fan of being the outcast who sticks up for their team no matter what horrible thing they do that makes everyone else angry then cheer for the Blues. American almost hero Ryan Miller is their starting goalie. You probably heard of him a few years ago.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Led by elite sniper Steven Stamkos for now, the Lightning are one of those cool teams that doesn’t end in an S. If you like the Oklahoma City Thunder then DEFINITELY cheer for the Lightning because then you can make your twitter handle @ThunderandLightning and you’ll be really cool.

By now you should have a team that suits you perfectly. If you’re still undecided, then refresh this page and read the post again. Go Hockey Go, enjoy the playoffs folks.


Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Ducks

Stars of the game

1st: Ryan Getzlaf (1G-2A-3P)

2nd: Corey Perry (1G-2A-3P)

3rd: Teemu Selanne (1G-1A-2P)

Goals (Anaheim 6, Panthers 2)

ANA: Patrick Maroon (7) (Powerplay) Assists: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry

ANA: Teemu Selanne (9) Assists: Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf 

ANA: Jakob Silfverberg (8) (Short-handed) Assists: Unassisted 

FLA: Jimmy Hayes (10) Assists: Krys Barch, Dmitry Kulikov

FLA: Tomas Fleischmann (8) Assists: Vincent Trocheck

ANA: Kyle Palmieri (12) Assists: Mathieu Perreault, Patrick Maroon

ANA: Corey Perry (37) Assists: Sami Vatanen, Bryan Allen

ANA: Ryan Getzlaf (30) Assists: Teemu Selanne, Stephane Robidas


Jimmy Hayes scored his 10th goal of the season, and heavy-weight Krys Barch recorded his 4th assist of the season.

Quote of the game


Tweet of the game

“Good Work, Captain Duck”

Next Up

The Florida Panthers take on the Ottawa Senators at the BB&T Center, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Tune into FOX Sports Florida to catch all of the action!

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

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Game Day Preview: Panthers vs. Ducks.

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 26-37-8 (60 PTS.) vs. ANAHEIM DUCKS: 45-18-7 (97 PTS.)


GAME DAY SONG: Jungleland, by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band (Featuring Clarence Clemmons)

A quick (pardon the pun) turnaround for the Florida Panthers as they take on the Anaheim Ducks tonight following yesterday’s matinée loss to the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 4-0.  The four game road trip against the top four Pacific division teams ends here, and if the Cats are able to salvage a win, they’ll come back to sunny South Florida with a 2-2-0 record.  Not too shabby considering the opponents they’ll have faced.

In yesterday’s game the Panthers came out with some energy for the first five minutes or so of the game, then the momentum swung towards the Kings when Ed Jovanovski took a slashing penalty seven minutes in.  Trevor Lewis of the Kings scored a couple of minutes later, then just a few seconds after Sean Bergenheim finished serving a minor for hooking, Mike Richards scored his 10th goal of the season to put the Kings up 2-0, and that was all Los Angelese would need.  The suffocation of the Panthers was well under way.  The Kings scored once in the second, and once in the third on their way to Jonathan Quicks fifth shutout of the season, and his record-setting 172nd win as a King.  Former Kings goalie Rogie Vachon was the previous leader in victories and was on hand to watch the win.

Quick wasn’t tested by the Panthers too much, but did make what could be one of the top 10 saves of the season against the snakebitten Tomas Fleischmann.  Flash had an opportunity to send a backhander towards what looked like a wide open net, but Quick with his Cat like reflexes denied the struggling winger, with a sparkling glove save.  The play was reviewed, and while we have no idea if a “top” view was available to see, the call on the ice stood, as Fleichsmann’s season long struggles continued.

As for tonight, the Ducks come into this game in third place in the Western conference, and have been off since Thursday.  The rest could be good as they have tapered off with a 3-4-2 record so far in March.  Their upcoming schedule however is in their favor as they face nine opponents who would not be in the playoffs if they started today.  Included in those nine games are three against the Edmonton Oilers.  Up until their loss to San Jose on Thursday, Anaheim had been in first place since early December in the Pacific division, and now find themselves four points behind the Sharks, but have two games in hand.

Ryan Getzlaf leads the Ducks in points with 76, and Corey Perry leads in goals with 36.  Getzlaf who has a great pair of hands, and is one of the premier playmaking centers in the league has five helpers in his last four games, while Perry has 9 points in his lat 9 games.

Anaheim is a lot like the Kings, except that they can score.  Their 222 goals put them fourth overall in the NHL.  Jonas Hiller is difficult to beat most nights, and is having another stellar season.  He carries in a record of 27-11-6 with 5 shutouts and a 2.46 GAA.

This will be the second matchup between the two teams, and Florida will be looking to sweep the two game set.  The Panthers won the first tilt back on November 12th in a come from behind victory that snapped a nine game losing streak at the time.  Dan Ellis will get the call tonight, and will be making his second start as a Panther since being acquired at the trade deadline from Dallas in the Tim Thomas deal.  In his first start for Florida Ellis gave up five goals in a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You’ve read this here many times before, and I am hoping to be proved wrong. The last game of long road trips, especially one’s that are on opposite coasts, are usually a death trap for struggling and inconsistent teams like the Panthers.  This will be their third game in four nights, and their fourth in six.  It’s hard not to have your sights set on going home and mailing it in.  That coupled with the fact that Anaheim should be refreshed not having played since Thursday, and hungry to reclaim first place in the Pacific division doesn’t bode well for Florida.

The Panthers will need to stay out of the penalty box, limit the shots against Ellis, and score a couple of goals early.  You’ve read that here before too.  However falling behind in Anaheim isn’t a good idea, as the Ducks are 24-7-4 on home ice.


GIF: Corey Perry Scores From His Knees

Things went downhill quickly for the New York Islanders on Monday night as two goals from the Anaheim Ducks in the last 32.7 seconds of the 2nd period sent the Isles to the locker room down by a score of 4-2. With a potential 10th straight loss hanging in the balance, it was Corey Perry’s beautiful goal from his knees with 1.7 seconds left in the 2nd period that added even more embarrassment to what has become quite the fiasco on Long Island.

Although some of the blame for Perry’s goal should be placed on Islanders’ rookie goaltender Anders Nilsson’s misreading of the play, no one can deny the brilliance of Perry’s improbable score.

Gif courtesy of SB Nation

[Read more…]

Panthers End Losing Streak Against League’s Best

With the Florida Panthers in the midst of their worst losing streak in three years, you’d be forgiven if you weren’t optimistic that it would end Tuesday night against the League-leading Anaheim Ducks. After the end of the first period that saw the Panthers stand in the familiar 2-0 hole, you’d were well on your way to being correct in your assumption. But strong second and third periods helped rally the Panthers and push them past the Ducks 3-2.

It only took forty seconds for things to look like they were going to stay as they were. An early defensive breakdown left Andrew Cogliano with all the time and space in the world to pick his spot past Tim Thomas and make it 1-0. Hampus Lindholm’s shot from the blueline beat Thomas with five minutes left in the period making it 2-0. From there, it looked like uber-talented Ducks would turn this one into a laugher the rest of the way. But, that goal would be the last one Thomas would allow as he turned into a brick wall the rest of the way, stopping quality chance after quality chance.

Whatever interim coach Peter Horachek said to his club in the first intermission, it worked. Well, that and a little puck luck. Shawn Matthias’s no-look shot with his back to the goal somehow would it’s way through Frederik Andersen’s five hole and put the Panthers on the board with just under seven minutes to play in the second. Scottie Upshall tied it 1:10 later as his shot ricocheted off Lindholm’s shoulder up and over Andersen for the kind of fluky goal that usually end up in the Panther net, not the opponent’s.

Whereas many Panther rallies this season would stop after the tie, Brad Boyes‘ rebound of an Upshall shot five minutes into the third gave the Panthers their first third-period lead in what seems like months. From there, it was on Thomas and the defense as they face 13 shots in the final frame and they came up big (especially Mike Mottau, making his Florida debut, sweeping the puck away from an open net.)

Who knows what this means for the Panthers going forward but, for a night, it was nice to see, not only the effort, but the rewards for it. Getting your team to rise up against the best team in the league is fairly easy. It’s getting the team to put this kind of effort and resolve into the team’s who do not occupy such a lofty position in the standings. Kevin Dineen wasn’t able to do it this season and it cost him his job. If Horacheck can (and it’s been there in all three games he’s coached), he may just make this his permanent gig.

Follow All Panther Parkway writers on Twitter: Me @davidlasseter, Frank Rekas @FrankRekas,Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530. Visit our Facebook fan page here and give us a like and share anything you wish with us.

Video: Teemu Selanne Receives Standing Ovation in Final Game at Winnipeg

Still in the very early stages of his NHL farewell tour, beloved winger Teemu Selanne found himself tonight in the place where it all began – Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Possibly the greatest player to ever put on a Jets’ sweater, Selanne, 43, competed in 231 games for the Jets and while recording 147 goals and 159 assists for a total of 306 points. Famously traded to the Anaheim Ducks on February 6, 1996, Selanne also spent time playing for the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks before returning once again to Anaheim in 2005.

While it may be almost two decades since Selanne laced up his skates for the Jets, it’s clear that no matter where his travels took him, he was never far from the hearts of the people of Winnipeg. In what will most likely be his last trip to Winnipeg before riding off into the sunset, Selanne received one final standing ovation from the fans that wished he had never left.

[Read more…]

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