Philly Sports Live

What We Learned: Best Stanley Cup Final in recent memory? (Puck Daddy)

(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend ’ s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)   There is a lot of reason to praise the level of hockey seen over the five games of this year’s Stanley Cup Final. That’s mainly because there’s so little separating the two teams. And this comes after two very good Conference Finals as well, which themselves were preceded by terminally boring opening rounds. Whattaya know: When good teams play each other, the results are entertaining. (Unless they’re playing deeply negative hockey.) But more than that, we’ve seen little besides ugly Stanley Cup Finals over the last few years. Lopsided affairs like Rangers/Kings last season, and both of the previous two only went six games as well. (It’s hard to have any patience for people who allege a given six-game series was close; in such a series, the losing team won two games out of six, and that would be reason for panic in the regular season.) Even Bruins/Canucks in 2011, which was decided seven games, featured blowouts of 8-1, 4-0, 5-2, and 4-0 again. Unlike the Final teams seen in in previous years, Chicago and Tampa are evenly matched in just about every department, which explains why no game has been decided by more than a goal, and why every one has been a nail-biter. How even has this series been? Through five games, and judging by 5-on-5 hockey, every second of the series has been either tied or with the other team within a goal. In addition, the edge in shots goes to Tampa at plus-2, in attempts is plus-8 for Chicago, goals are dead even, high-quality chances are plus-4, and so on. This is hockey decided on the razor’s edge. And that’s what makes it so entertaining.