The VHA season has now officially come down to just two GMs, after both Conference Final matchups came down to a deciding 7th game. Can someone say drama? Calgary managed to defeat Matt and Chicago, putting MacKinnon and Rantanen on a collision course with a golf cart and some 19th hole beers. Philadelphia outlasted Montreal in a series where not a single home fan went home happy. Philadelphia fans were left to celebrate their game 7 win as they'd celebrated all the other wins in the series...via the TV.
So now that we know who is in the cup final, let's look at some stats and how they got here...
Calgary defeats Dallas 4 games to 3
Calgary defeats Winnipeg 4 games to 0
Calgary defeats Chicago 4 games to 3
Philadelphia defeats Toronto 4 games to 0
Philadelphia defeats Pittsburgh 4 games to 2
Philadelphia defeats Montreal 4 games to 3
Top 5 scorers for Calgary:
Monahan 18GP - 21pts
Dzingel 18GP - 20pts
Marner 18GP - 18pts
Kassian 18GP - 12pts
Lindell 18GP - 8pts
Rittich 2.34GAA and 91.2SV%
Top 5 scorers for Philadelphia:
Kopitar 17GP - 15pts
Stastny 17GP - 15pts
Oshie 17GP - 14pts
Gustafsson 17GP - 14pts
Radulov 17GP - 14pts
Hart 2.83GAA and 90.9SV%
By the individual numbers, it's clear both teams have had some great individual performances and both goaltenders have been pretty steady to this point. The top 3 forwards for Calgary have been the lion share of their offense during the regular season and propelled them to 40 wins, which is an impressive stat. In games where Rittich falters, Calgary has all world #2 goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist to clean up the mess, so there's no a lot to dislike about that.
Philadelphia's strength thus far has been team depth. It was depth that allowed them to exploit Toronto's rebuilding roster and depth that allowed them to stay afloat when facing Pittsburgh's incredible top 6. It was equally depth and slightly stronger goaltending that kept Philly even with Montreal until Bishop fell apart in game 7 for the Canadiens. Philadelphia has 11 players with 10 points or more in their 17 playoff contests and that's nothing to shake a stick at.
Calgary team stats:
Philadelphia team stats:
All the numbers in the world and previous stats will matter very little when the puck drops on this series. Both teams and their respective GMs have been challenged and managed to stave off elimination. Both GMs and their teams have also swept another team in this playoff run. None of those things can tell us who will get the upper hand and who will close things out, but what they do tell us is both teams deserve to be here.
When the dust clears and everything settles, one thing is certain...VHA will have a first time cup winner in their midst.