Tampa Bay Lightning will win Stanley Cup according to EA Sports simulation

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There is officially no reason to go forth with the 2019 NHL Playoffs.

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With EA Sports’ annual playoff simulation revealing the Tampa Bay Lightning as this season’s Stanley Cup champions, predictions from all rational hockey fans have basically been confirmed.

The Lightning coming away with Lord Stanley’s mug in the NHL 19 simulation may have been more predictable than the ending to Marley and Me. 

Tampa Bay’s play has been on a different level this season. A record of 62-16-4 gave them 128 points — 21 more than any other team in the league. Furthermore, their +103 goal differential was 41 better than their closest competitor.

With Hart Trophy-worthy campaigns out of Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy — the league leader in wins — those numbers aren’t surprising. Furthermore, the Lightning finished the regular season with the NHL’s best power play (28.2%) and penalty kill (85.0%).

Based on those numbers, their path to the Cup should be pretty easy. The simulation did not agree, though. In fact, NHL 19 predicted that it would take them a total of 25 games to get the job done.

Following a seven-game battle in the first round against the fiery Columbus Blue Jackets, a five-game triumph over the Boston Bruins and six-game series against the defending champs out of Washington would set up a final against the St. Louis Blues.

The best team in the league facing off against the hottest since Jan. 1 for the Cup? Yeah, that makes sense.

I have to warn you. Although the final goes seven games, the Lightning come out on top 5-1 in the clinching contest. So, don’t expect things to get too crazy with the Cup on the line.

The simulation did leave us with a few other interesting results to digest as well. The Calgary Flames getting upset in the opening round by the Colorado Avalanche was shocking, while the Vegas Golden Knights only requiring five games to dispose of the San Jose Sharks was unexpected.

In fairness, though, the 2018 simulation had the Winnipeg Jets defeating the Boston Bruins in the Final — led by a Conn Smythe-worthy performance by Patrik Laine.

So, be sure to swallow a tablespoon of salt before looking too far into this stuff.

The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate winning the Stanley Cup in this year’s EA Sports playoff simulation. (EA Sports//NHL 19)
The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate winning the Stanley Cup in this year’s EA Sports playoff simulation. (EA Sports//NHL 19)

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