The NHL lockout has officially ended, and there will be hockey this season. Since last October I have been simulating the NHL season according to NHL 13. With the real season ready to start this Saturday there will be no need for a video game simulation anymore.
This was a full 82 game regular season, and full playoff simulation of the the 2012-13 season. Just because the real players are ready to start the season, doesn’t mean we can’t see how the NHL 13 season ended.
So here it is, the final installment of the NHL 13 season simulation. I don’t want to play spoiler for anyone reading, but you will find another surprise in the Western Conference playoffs. So to keep you wondering, you have to go through the Eastern Conference first.
Here are the playoffs, the Stanley Cup Champion, and the award winners from the regular season and playoffs… Enjoy.
In the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the top seeded Montreal Canadiens got all they could handle and defeated the eighth seeded Bruins in seven games. The second seeded Winnipeg Jets cruised to the conference semifinals by beating the Ottawa Senators in five games, while the Pittsburgh Penguins handled the the Buffalo Sabres in six.
The most anticipated match-up in the east was between the four seed Philadelphia Flyers, and the five seed New York Rangers. It was not the series most hockey fans desired. The Flyers took down the Rangers in five games, with all but one game being decided by one goal.
1. Montreal Canadiens vs 4. Philadelphia Flyers
The Canadiens sat atop the Eastern Conference, and the NHL, for most of the season, and were favorites to get through the Eastern Conference gauntlet to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Philadelphia Flyers had other ideas. The Flyers took down the Presidents Trophy winners in six games and headed to the conference finals.
2. Winnipeg Jets vs 3. Pittsburgh Penguins
If this were not a simulation, and these were the semifinal match-ups, fans would want to see a playoff re-match between the in-state rivals. Last years first round massacre (on both sides) was about as nasty as it gets in hockey. Unfortunately the Penguins did not hold up their end of the bargain.
As if seeing the Winnipeg Jets shoot up to the second seed for the playoffs wasn’t enough, the Jets dominated the Penguins and swept Pittsburgh out of the playoffs in four games.
The past two years have been nothing but a disappointment for the perennial Stanley Cup favorite Penguins.
2. Winnipeg Jets vs 4. Philadelphia Flyers
Last season, after beating the Penguins in the first round, the Flyers seemed uninterested in playing the New Jersey Devils. This cost the Flyers a chance to play in the conference finals when the Devils ousted them in five games.
This time the Flyers kept their focus on their way to a 4-1 series win over the Jets, and another shot in the Stanley Cup Finals. The last time the Flyers were in the Cup Finals was the 2009-10 season where they lost to Chicago in six games.
Remember when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup as the eighth seed last season? Well this year they were the one seed in the Western Conference, and the eight seed Minnesota Wild put the Kings on the other end of triumphant upset. The Kings were swept out of the playoffs in four games by the Wild.
An eight seed upsetting a one seed is surprising enough. Well how about the one and two seeds getting swept in the first round? Yes, the Columbus Blue Jackets took it to the second seeded Detroit Red Wings and eliminated them in four games.
The third seeded Vancouver Canucks took care of business against the sixth seeded Edmonton Oilers, and eliminated them in five games.
The fourth seeded Nashville Predators took down the fifth seeded San Jose Sharks in six games to move onto the conference semifinals.
Next season teams may try to lose at the end of the season, and try to get the two seed. Being the one seed seems to spell doom for any team lucky enough to be the best in the west.
3. Vancouver Canucks vs 8. Minnesota Wild
This years Cinderella has come out of the Western Conference again, and again it is the eight seed. The Minnesota Wild dominated the Vancouver Canucks in five games, and punched their second ticket to the Western Conference Finals.
The only other time the Wild made it this far was in 2002-03 where they beat these same Canucks in the conference semifinals.
4. Nashville Predators vs 7. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets were the laughing stock of the NHL last season with a league worst 65 points. To make things worse, the Jackets traded their star forward Rick Nash to the Rangers. This was a rebuilding year for the Jackets, just like the last three years.
Now the Blue Jackets have a chance to upset another team on their way to the conference finals.
The Blue Jackets were destined for a finals match-up with the Wild…Just kidding.
The Blue Jackets were eliminated by the Nashville Predators in five games, and their unthinkable playoff run ended abruptly.
4. Nashville Predators vs 8. Minnesota Wild
For the second straight season there is an eight seed in the Western Conference Finals, and for the second straight season, the eight seed has gone onto the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Minnesota Wild eliminated the Nashville Predators in seven games, and notched their first Stanley Cup Finals berth since becoming the Wild.
Zach Parise is in his second consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, and maybe this time his team will find a way to raise the cup.
Stanley Cup Finals
Philadelphia Flyers vs Minnesota Wild
Can the Minnesota Wild become the Los Angeles Kings of last season? Is it possible that for two consecutive years an eight seed from the Western Conference will hoist the Stanley Cup into the air?
Minnesota’s magical run fell just short against the Flyers.
Philadelphia defeated the Wild in six games to claim their third Stanley Cup championship.
Ilya Bryzgalov took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. Bryzgalov went 10-0-0 with a 1.09 goals against average for the Flyers.
Season Award Winners
Presidents Trophy- Montreal Canadiens
Clarence Campbell Trophy (Western Champs)- Minnesota Wild
Prince of Wales Trophy (Eastern Champs)- Philadelphia Flyers
Art Ross Trophy (Most points)- Alexander Ovechkin (Was) – 95 pts
Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP)- Alexander Ovechkin (Was)
Norris Trophy (All-around defenseman)- Paul Martin (Pitt)
Lady Byng Trophy (Sportsmanship)- Daniel Sedin (Van)
Calder Trophy (Most proficient in first year)- Braden Holtby (Was)
Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender)- Ryan Miller (Buf)
William Jennings Trophy (Goalie on team with fewest goals against)- Mike Smith (Phx)
Bill Masterson Trophy (Dedication to hockey)- Barrett Jackman (St. Louis)
Selke Trophy (Forward showing best defensive skills)- Pavel Datsyuk (Det)
Ted Lindsay Trophy (Most Outstanding Player)- Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)
Maurice Richard Trophy (Most goals in the season)- Alexander Ovechkin (Was)- 60 goals