Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning

USA Today

2019 Stanley Cup Winning Prediction

The most bad-ass postseason is here.

April 10, 2019 - 12:28 pm

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here. Chuck the razor. Grow the mullet. The most bad-ass postseason in sports kicks off tonight with FIVE FREAKING GAMES. 

You know this is a House of Puck. You know that this is the one national show that loves to Talk Hockey.

And you know that when 16 teams are about to do battle for Lord Stanley's Cup, that only one internationally syndicated sports host is going to put himself out there. 

Look, I might be wrong about a lot of things. But there's one thing I'm never wrong about. The Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's a freaking gift. I'm not sure how I got it. But I am sure that I respect it. With great power comes great responsibility. 

And when you're a guy heard on over 200 terrestrial radio stations, beaming through space on Sirius-XM, simulcast on the CBS Sports Network, and streamed wherever and whenever you want it, you have two choices. 

You can duck and cover and hedge. Or you can step the hell out on a ledge and make a pick. And you know what kind of show this is.  

That's why you're getting my stone cold, lead pipe, absolutely never wrong Stanley Cup pick. 

Before I get there, let me acknowledge one thing: The Haters. Because some of you think this is a bit. Some of you think this is some kind of elaborate set-up, or some audio magic Alvin spends hours pulling off.  And not just Radio Shack employees. But actual callers, like Kathleen from Omaha. 

Well, haters. Hear me clearly. I'm making my pick. I'm going out on a ledge. I'm the man in the freaking arena. And I’m saying this loud and clear: 

There is a storm coming. And the Lightning are winning the Cup. 

Yeah, I said it. The Tampa Bay Lightning are winning the Stanley Cup. 

Jon Cooper is the coach to get it done. Jon Cooper has already been knocking at the door. He's made it to the Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons. But this year is the year that he finally hoists the Cup. 

Nikita Kucherov is a freaking star. Steven Stamkos is a leader or men. Andrei Vasilevskiy is a brick wall between the pipes. 2018 Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman is back and healthy. Ryan McDonagh is ready to go. 

I know the past. And I know the future. And the future is The Lightning bringing the Stanley Cup back to Tampa. 

Now don't "Romey" me for picking the team with the most wins. Going Chalk in hockey is the most not-chalk thing ever. Winning the President's Trophy means pretty much nothing when it comes to winning Lord Stanley. If having the most regular season points meant you would be the last team standing, then more than 8 of the last 32 President's Trophy winners would have done it. The team with the most regular season points hasn't won the cup since Chicago did it back in 2013. 

There are other teams I really, really like. Vegas is incredible. They almost won it all last year, in its first year of existence, and they look like the team to beat out West, especially with 3-time Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury in nets. Boston is playing really good hockey, and the face-licker, Brad Marchand, could be back singing Black and Yellow again.  (INSERT) 

But nobody is beating Tampa Bay, not even John Tortorella. Torts is the guy who led Tampa to their only other Cup win. And Torts is the guy who they face in Round 1. And don't get it twisted, Columbus may be an 8 seed, but they've got way more talent than an 8 seed. Assuming everybody is able to take the ice, and not -- you know -- doing this. 

So there is your Stanley Cup Champion. Take it to the freaking bank. 

A storm is coming. And the Lightning are winning the Stanley Cup.