The 2023 Stanley Cup


Graphic by Shraddha Sriram

This year, 32 unique teams are facing off for the championship title and trophy of the NHL’s 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs. Having begun in 1893, the Stanley Cup playoffs have earned a reputation as one of the most culturally renowned hockey tournaments in both the U.S. and Canada. The qualifier matches are separated into four conferences by division and four rounds, with each division representing a certain geographical area. 

Over in the Western Conference, the Seattle Kraken — a team whose official presence in the NHL has only lasted about two years — won with a score of 4-3 in round one, narrowly defeating the defending champions, the Colorado Avalanche, and beating out the rest of the Pacific Division. The Dallas Stars won 4-2 in their series against the Minnesota Wild, leading to them facing the Kraken to be the representative of their division in the Western Conference finals. They went on to prevail and beat the Kraken after an intense 4-3 series, and are now preparing to face off in the conference finals. 

As for the Pacific division, the Vegas Golden Knights almost swept the Winnipeg Jets, obliterating them with a final score of 4-1. The Edmonton Oilers won the opportunity to face them after beating the Los Angeles Kings with a score of 4-2. However, the Oilers did not last much longer, as the Knights beat them 4-2 in their respective series. The Stars are now challenging the Golden Knights for conference champions.

Earlier on in the season, hockey fans expected the Toronto Maple Leafs to take this year’s playoffs by storm. However, fans’ anticipations fell short; they lost 4-1 to the Florida Panthers, who scarcely beat the Boston Bruins with a final score of 4-3 in their series. The Carolina Hurricanes have performed very well so far this season, beating the New York Islanders 4-2. They moved on to face the New Jersey Devils, who barely beat the New York Rangers at a score of 4-3, and finished first in the Metropolitan division by defeating them with a score of 4-1. Sports fans and critics alike favor the Hurricanes to win this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, considering their impressive performance so far. However, hockey projections have been historically inconsistent so the Panthers may still have a chance.

Being unpredictable is just one of the many charming characteristics of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It is just as entertaining every year that it takes place, never failing to maintain its consistency in cultural significance. The conference and cup finals surely will not disappoint, and millions of hockey fans worldwide eagerly await the results.