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From the Branches: It’s time for some southern hockey

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The conference finals are set, bless their hearts.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Winnipeg Jets at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The final four found their final team last night. The Jets* knocked off the Nashville Predators 5-1 to move on to the Western Conference Final, where they will doubtless be run over by the Vegas Golden Knights.

This means all four teams in the conference finals are southern market teams, which makes sense. With June temperatures like this, what else would you do except go inside the ice rink and play some hockey?

Average June high temperatures for conference finalists: Atlanta, Las Vegas, Tampa Bay, Washington chart courtesy of KatyaKnappe

(Temperatures are in Celsius, because even if hockey is a southern sport, the centre of the hockey universe is still Toronto, obviously).

It is Friday, thank everything, and we have another hockey game tonight! After the mid-week hockey-free wasteland we get one game every day for the next eight days at least. Bolts and Caps kick things off the Eastern Conference Finals.

Scarlett O’Hara in her “damn the torpedoes” red dress
Probably not what Achariya is wearing tonight

ICYMI

What Can Jett Woo Do For You? A Look At The WHL Standout Draft Prospect - Pension Plan Puppets
A look at the best-named prospect in the draft,

Denmark won one, but Kasperi Kapanen is rolling at the World Championships - Pension Plan Puppets
Frederik Andersen ruined Kapanen’s day, but there’s more games to come.

Eastern Conference Finals Previews

Stanley Cup Playoffs conference finals schedule
Dates, starting times and national television coverage for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals: NHL Eastern Conference Final Preview - Raw Charge
Two teams with a surplus of skill.

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: The Washington Capitals’ history against the Tampa Bay Lightning shouldn’t be ignored - Japers' Rink
Don’t undersell the Caps’ opportunity for redemption against the Bolts.

Kucherov, Ovechkin ready for conference final showdown | The Star
Growing up idolizing Ovechkin, Kucherov’s Lightning now stand in the way of Ovie’s first trip to the Cup final

Things We Didn’t Write

Game 7 Recap: Winnipeg Flies High - Arctic Ice Hockey
IT’S HAPPENING!!!

Winnipeg Jets advance to NHL Western Conference final | The Star
Jets knock out Predators in Nashville in Game 7 for shot at expansion Vegas Golden Knights starting Saturday.

The John Tavares Contract Encyclopedia Volume 3 (2018) [Updated: 5/9/18] - Lighthouse Hockey
Apparently our colleagues at LHH are upset that people keep talking about Tavares leaving in free agency. Field trip?

Connor McDavid hat trick paces Canada in shutout win against Norway | The Star
Bo Horvat scored the other two goals for Canada, while Leafs backup Curtis McElhinney and Darcy Kuemper shared the shutout.

Czechs deal Russia first defeat - IIHF.com
In the clash of Zaitsev vs Pastrnak, the Bruin won again.

Carolina Hurricanes sign Morgan Geekie to entry-level contract - Canes Country
The 2017 third-round pick joined Charlotte on an amateur tryout contract after his junior season finished.

Colorado Avalanche sign Mark Alt to two-way deal - Mile High Hockey
Alt will be a part of the Avalanche organization for the next two years.

Poll

Which southern gentleman will score first tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Alexander Ovechkin
    (31 votes)
  • 10%
    Steven Stamkos
    (8 votes)
  • 8%
    Evgeny Kuznetsov
    (6 votes)
  • 38%
    Nikita Kucherov
    (28 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now