The pursuit of the Stanley Cup begins with these settings – will the surprising Finn rise to a decisive role?

The pursuit of the Stanley Cup begins with these settings

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LAS VEGAS. Florida, which has become the fairytale story of the NHL spring, and Vegas, which convincingly came through the Western Conference, will start the Stanley Cup final series early Sunday morning from Vegas. The mythical trophy named after Lord Stanley can be reached with four wins.

Three Finns play in Florida’s ranks: Alexander Barkov, Anton Lundell mixed Eetu Luostarinen. In addition Tuomo Ruutu belongs to the team’s coaching staff.

‘s hockey expert Ismo Lehkonen brought up three important themes from the beginning of the series under the series.


In the series that starts as the first theme, Lehkonen raises the physical game – with all of the grappling, grappling and loose puck playing. Both teams like to play in a straight line and are good at creating goalscoring opportunities also through scrambling and exploiting.

On the other hand, especially Vegas has a huge amount of size and strength on the defensive end, Florida also has some of it both offensively and defensively.

– Everyone says that this will be a really physical series, and I believe that too. The aim is to play the puck behind the line in one way or another, but not just by throwing it to the end. That hardness is then created from playing rough and loose puck. In the attacking areas, we will see furious hair-raising, Lehkonen predicts.

There are two very similar teams facing each other, who are on the same line in terms of physical play and also in statistics.

Florida has tackled 32 times in the playoffs per hour played, Vegas 31.5. Minor penalties Florida has taken 67, the most in the playoffs, Vegas 58, the third most.

– Vegas really wants a hard game. They can do it and like it, but I’m not sure the Florida coach wants to Paul Maurice to go to an even tougher game with Vegas than before with Carolina. Will they take Napsu out of it and focus more on exploitation, Lehkonen wonders.

Crashes are just as likely with all the money.

– Vegas once had 24 tackles in one set against Dallas. There’s a coach Bruce Cassidy circled Florida’s top defenders with a red marker. They definitely want to bully the guys there mentally and physically off their tracks. Also, Florida has certainly selected certain players that they want to constantly push to the roof.


How the coaches play the chains and defensemen against the opponent’s counterparts during the series is an absolutely interesting hockey chess before – and during the series.

Through home advantage, Vegas has a substitution advantage in the first two games, meaning it gets to put its players on the ice last. Now the question is: who does Vegas want to play from the number one led by Barkov, for example, and who is hot Matthew Tkachuk against the lead from second?

And the same question in reverse when the series moves to Florida on Tuesday.

– In the first game, we will see what kind of plan the coaches have made. If you think about the number one chain in Vegas by Jack Eichel in the lead, so I think Cassidy wants them against Anton Lundell’s chain. If I were Florida’s coach, I’d sell that challenge to Lundell. The challenge is of course tough and you should be able to roll the game into the opponent’s territory.

Lehkonen specifically emphasizes the role of triple and quadruple chains.

– Both of them have two strong top chains here, and if they play to some extent, common sense says that the triple and quadruple chains might play a really big role in this series.

The playing of the defenders is also interesting. Will Cassidy threaten his first pair of defenders, Alex Pietrangelo and Alec Martinez Against the chain of Barkov or Tkachuk?

– Tkachuk center Sam Bennett chased Carolina’s most important defender by Jaccob Slavin out. As a coach, maybe I would protect myself, or at least I would be really careful with Pietrangelo precisely because of Bennett. Maybe I would put the first pair against Barkov’s chain, Lehkonen states.


The self-evident cornerstone of all match series. Florida has played its special situation better than Vegas in terms of both overpower and underpower, but on the other hand, the latter finally got the stars of Dallas in the conference finals Roope Hintz and Miro Heiskanen with management fully disciplined.

Lehkonen is convinced of Florida’s 27% superiority game and expects a tougher action from Vegas in front of the goal than what Carolina was capable of. This is exactly the strength of Vegas.

– I like Florida’s superior game. Barkov and Tkachuk operated well in it. Tkachuk, in particular, is really good near the goal and now we will watch closely whether Vegas will give him special attention or whether he will be allowed to swing there between the defender and the goalkeeper. For sure, Vegas has now carefully considered whether to play with a tight square or with active pressure.

– In the Vegas superiority game, the eye turns to Eichel. He has to be the one to make the difference. In the previous match series, not a single goal was scored, Lehkonen reminds.

There is still room for improvement in the underpowered game of both. Florida played 85% understrength against Carolina, which was already better, but in the entire spring picture it is only 71% and Vegas’ 63%.

– I have to give credit to Barkov and Lundell. The guys always take a minute out of that chill and play it well. Lundell’s story in particular is wonderful, that at that age you can carry such a big responsibility and still handle it. The Finnish duo has a big responsibility here and weak starting percentages should now at least be increased by 10 percent, Lehkonen thinks.

The match series starts on Sunday morning at 03:00 Finnish time. shows the match.

Schedules of the NHL playoffs

Four wins are required for the championship.

4.6. at 03:00 Vegas – Florida
6.6. at 03:00 Vegas – Florida
9.6. at 03:00 Florida – Vegas
11.6. at 03:00 Florida – Vegas
14.6. at 03.00 Vegas – Florida*
17.6. at 03.00 Florida – Vegas*
20.6. at 03.00 Vegas – Florida*

* If necessary

All matches live on TV2, Areena and the app.