Such a weird league. We have spent most of the past two years, if not longer, complaining that the salary cap has essentially made the differences between teams smaller and smaller, to the point where they’re hardly noticeable at times. How the shootout and stupid overtime system and the even dumber points system makes the standings somewhat fake a lot of years, and keeps teams bunched together while also making it nearly impossible for anyone to pass anyone.
And yet we sit here, with three teams having won eight of the past nine championships. And the one outlier in that group, the Bruins, played for another and lost to one of the three. So four teams have taken up 11 of the possible 18 Final slots. Stretch it back a round, and those four teams have taken 16 of 36 conference final spots, with the Kings, Hawks, and Penguins each losing one or two in that frame.