Once again, it’s time for the annual competition for the Stanley Cup, the most magnificent trophy in sports. Although the slight shift in the NHL calendar means the playoffs are beginning later than we’re used to, that doesn’t make the anticipation for the most intense hockey of the year any less. Even if your team did not make it in this year, the high blood pressure that comes with watching these games, especially those that go into overtime, will be present. Hockey fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’re a Notre Dame hockey fan, three players who have gone through the program are on the playoff rosters for their respective teams. More of them could join after their AHL teams’ seasons end or if any other needs arise. That gives Irish fans plenty of opportunities to be happy at who wins the Cup. For now, here are the three players to watch for:
Ian Cole, Carolina Hurricanes
Apr 26, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ian Cole (28) skates with the puck against the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
Cole scored 19 points in 75 games in his first season with the Hurricanes. That’s the most he’s playing in the regular season since 81 games while winning his second straight Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017. With the Hurricanes winning the Metropolitan Division, he could add a third ring this year.
Cal Petersen, Los Angeles Kings
Apr 28, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Los Angeles Kings goalie Cal Petersen (40) makes a save against the Vancouver Canucks in overtime at Rogers Arena. Canucks won 3-2 in overtime. Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
The fourth-year goaltender 20 wins this season, more than doubling his previous career high. He formed a nice duo with future Hall of Famer Jonathan Quick, who’s had a revival season at age 36. The Kings can not go wrong with each option between the pipes.
Bryan Rust, Pittsburgh Penguins
Apr 14, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) handles the puck during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins won 6-3. Mark Alberti-USA TODAY Sports
Rust is one of the holdovers from the Penguins’ back-to-back Cup-winning teams from 2016 and 2017, and he’s only getting better. His 58 points and 34 assists both represented career highs. It’s no coincidence that he plays on the Penguins’ top line alongside Sidney Crosby.