MatthewKohn, Sports/News Editor
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs underway, many sports fans in Atlanta have not been able to get into the tournament without having a bonafide team to root for. With over 16 teams in the first round of the playoffs, the task can seem daunting, but with the number down to just eight in the second round, the choice can be made easier.
The first team that an Atlanta fan can root for is the Nashville Predators, my personal favorite. The Preds are close enough to Atlanta to have many of their games televised in this area, allowing fans to watch them more often than any other team in the NHL. The team also has one of the most exciting players in the entire league in P.K. Subban. Subban is one of the best defenceman, and his off-ice antics make him a fun player to follow. After beating the Avalanche in the first round, the Predators are set to matchup against the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.
If you’re a die-hard Atlanta fan, The Winnipeg Jets may be the team for you. The Jets are the only team to actually have ties to Atlanta. After some bad ownership decisions, the Atlanta Thrashers were forced to Winnipeg and became known as the Jets.
Easily, the most feel-good story in the NHL would be the Las Vegas Golden Knights. For the fans wanting to witness history in the making, the Golden Knights are the team to root for. The Knights are an expansion team that in it’s inaugural season posted a 51-24 record placing them first in the Pacific Division. Winning the Stanley Cup Playoffs would be the first time in the modern-era where an expansion team wins a championship in their first year of existence. First, the Golden Knights will have to beat the San Jose Sharks in the second round.
The final team that I would recommend rooting for is the Washington Capitals. While the Capitals are a powerhouse during the regular season, consistently reaching the playoffs, they always seem to choke in the playoffs. Since the new millenium, the Capitals have never made it past the second round in the playoffs. While Some call it a curse and some call it collapsing under pressure, the Caps are definitely a team that could be considered an underdog in the playoffs. A matchup against the two-time defending champions, Pittsburgh Penguins, will certainly make it difficult for the Capitals to progress past the second round.
While watching the NHL playoffs can be fun even without a team to root for, that excitement can be greatly increased when you have a team to back. Hopefully learning a little about some of the teams can help you make the decision on which team’s bandwagon to jump onto.