If nothing else, the storylines would be riveting.
The San Jose Sharks, a team that has traditionally underperformed in the playoffs, chasing ultimate glory against the Boston Bruins, the club that let an imminent Stanley Cup final Game 7 slip through its grasp last June in a matter of 16 agonizing seconds. Both are seeking forms of redemption.
Then there’s Jarome Iginla and Joe Thornton, two likeable, greying superstars whom most everyone would like to see earn that elusive first Cup. For Thornton, there’d be the added twist of trying to earn the title over the club that drafted and traded him away in 2005-06, in the middle of his Hart Trophy season.
That’s the backdrop for this year’s Stanley Cup final, as simulated by NHL 14. The people at EA Sports have run all their data and technology has told them Boston will triumph over the Sharks in a six-game final series.
In the fantasy scenario, Tuukka Rask takes home the Conn Smythe Trophy with a 1.56 goals-against average, a .948 save percentage and four shutouts, Iginla gets handed the Cup by Zdeno Chara and everyone has a good cry session.
NHL 14’s playoff simulator also predicts:
• the defending champion Blackhawks lose a dramatic second round matchup to Colorado in seven games
• and Patrice Bergeron scores five minutes into overtime of Game 7 in the Eastern Conference final to lead the Bruins past New York
If you’re scoring at home, NHL 13 got one of the two finalists accurate, as it projected a Rangers-Hawks final…with the Blueshirts winning in six. One out of two ain’t bad.