Danny’s Games of the Week: Stanley Cup and NBA Finals predictions

Columbus Blue Jackets' Seth Jones, left, controls the puck on front of Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron during the third period of Game 3 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets beat the Bruins 2-1. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The school year is winding down, and this is my final Games of the Week column of the semester. So instead of doing a normal Games of the Week article, I thought I would make my predictions for both the Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA Finals, which will be upon us in just a few weeks. The playoffs are well underway now, and there are eight teams remaining in each of the tournaments. Yet there can only be one winner, so I will do my best to pick out who will make it to the finals and who will be the champions for each sport.

Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins vs. Dallas Stars

Winner: Bruins

This is a really bold prediction, especially since, at the time I’m writing this, both teams are trailing in their respective series. However, hockey is a crazy sport, and no team is ever out of it.

Both these teams had solid regular seasons and fought to huge seven-game series wins in the first round. I would not be surprised at all if every series that each of these teams play in goes to six or seven games. Nothing has come easy, and nothing will be easy for them the rest of the way. But each of these teams has a toughness about them and a never-say-die attitude that is imperative in the quest for the cup.

Each team has solid scorers and defenders like David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy on the Bruins and Tyler Seguin and Esa Lindell on the Stars. However, the most important part of any team in the playoffs is the goaltenders, and these teams have two of the best around.

Both Ben Bishop and Tuuka Rask have been around for a long time, and both have led teams to the Stanley Cup before. Their performances so far in the playoffs have been really good, and I think their experiences playing in big games will get them to the cup again this year.

This would really be anyone’s series, but I have the Bruins winning in seven games to bring home the third Boston championship in the last six months, and the first for the Bruins since 2011. It would be an incredible feat, and I think it has a great chance of happening.

NBA Finals: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Golden State Warriors

Winner: Bucks

No surprises here with the finalists, as both the Warriors and the Bucks were the top seeds in their conferences. The bold pick here is not having the Warriors winning their third straight title and fourth in five years.

The Warriors should have little trouble making it to the finals for the fifth straight season with their once-again stacked team. However, I think the Bucks have what it takes to end their reign.

Not only do the Bucks have one of the most explosive all-around players in the NBA with Giannis Antetokounmpo, they also have a solid supporting cast around him with guys like Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe. As much as I would love to see my hometown Boston Celtics make it to the finals, I know in my heart that the Bucks are the better team and are the best team in the East.

The Warriors are still the Warriors, and there is still no better core in the league than Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green when they are all going good. For this reason, I don’t think they will lose more than two more games before the finals. However, once the finals come, it is a whole new game.

I think this year’s NBA Finals will be one of the best we’ve seen this decade. It will feature the two best teams in the league in an all-out heavyweight battle. I think Giannis will play out of his mind en route to a Game 7 win for the Bucks, and he will bring home MVP honors for the series.

It’s a long shot for any team to dethrone the Warriors this season, but the Bucks have the best chance to do it and I think they will pull it off.

Well, that’s it for the 2018-2019 series of Danny’s Games of the Week series. I hope you enjoyed reading my takes and predictions every week, and I look forward to writing more next year.


Danny Barletta is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.barletta@uconn.edu.