EA Sports NHL 12 Cup winners

EA Sports’ NHL 12 simulation predicts a Penguins Stanley Cup victory in June

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There’s no such thing as an honest fortune teller. Most of the ones you’ll run into are like the one from “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” there to empty your wallet like Pee-Wee Herman telling you to find your missing bike in a non-existent basement in the Alamo. The NHL has something that’s actually worked out pretty well though when figuring who just might skate away with the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.

EA Sports’ NHL series of video games have done a remarkably accurate job of picking the winners and finalists over the last few years and they’re at it again with their NHL 12 series this year. This time around, EA Sports’ simulation has the Pittsburgh Penguins beating the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals and captain Sidney Crosby skating with the Cup for the second time in his career.

In the previous two seasons, EA’s simulation correctly predicted the Blackhawks would win the Cup in 2010 and correctly picked out that the Canucks and Bruins would face off in the finals last year. Never mind that they had the Canucks winning in seven games, picking out the finalists is pretty good on its own. As for their other projections via video game, EA has some other fun to compare to at the end of the season.

The highlights include:

  • Toronto and Minnesota making the playoffs as the eighth seeds.
  • Sidney Crosby missing 17 regular season games and still finishing 7th in scoring in the league.
  • Alex Ovechkin scores 51 goals and wins the Hart Trophy
  • Steve Stamkos scores 53 and wins the Rocket Richard Trophy
  • Buffalo edges out Boston for the Northeast Division title
  • Florida finishes as the worst team in the league

While those projections might be a bit more far-fetched, their finals predictions have been some degree of money the last two years. We won’t lie, it’d make for a hell of a story to see Crosby bounce back after what he’s dealt with to win the Cup this year. Doing it in Chicago with all the moves they’ve made would only amp up the drama scale to about “eleventy billion” on a scale of 1-10.

What do you think though? Can we trust SkyNet a video game to give us what we’ll see at the end of the year?

(Photo: EA Sports)

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.