Golden Knights vs Caps Epic Stanley Cup Final Preview
The best stories in sports are the ones that none of us saw coming, which is why the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who are playing in their inaugural season, and the Washington Capitals is bound to be a memorable battle for Lord Stanley's Cup, and could go down in the history books. In fact, just 230 days ago, Vegas had never even played a game in franchise history, making this story a whole lot more intriguing.
On Memorial Day, the Golden Knights, a team that was a 500-1 shot to win it all prior to the start of the season, made up of individuals from the expansion draft that other NHL franchises didn't want, will host game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena against a resilient Caps squad that hasn't been to the championship round since 1998. The Caps feature one of the best players in the league in Alex Ovechkin, who's scored 607 regular season goals since entering the NHL, knocked off the defending champion Penguins on their home ice, and won a crucial game 7 at Tampa Bay. This series has the makings of being an instant classic, and whether you're a fan of these teams or not, is must see TV.
Any hockey fan can tell you that the Capitals have been underachievers for years in the postseason, regularly being knocked out in conference semifinals, despite often having one of the best teams in the east on a consistent basis. In terms of goaltending, both teams have incredible netminders in Braden Holtby and three-time Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury for Vegas. Holtby is red hot going into the Final as he had 60 straight saves against the Lightning, and had shutouts in games 6 and 7.
Vegas' Marc-Andre Fleury has been equally as good though, compiling an impressive .947 save percentage this postseason for the Golden Knights, who are 12-3 in the playoffs thus far. The potential future Hall of Fame goalie is also just one of 13 netminders to win more than 400 career games. In terms of lines, what makes Vegas so dangerous is that all four of their lines play great and don't seem to have issues with matchups. Jonathan Marchessault has been a scoring machine for the Golden Knights by tallying 8 goals and 10 assists this postseason.
The Caps' second line which consists of Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller is as good as it gets. This series will be physical and despite the fact that Las Vegas won both matchups during the regular season, Washington will still represent quite a challenge for the Golden Knights. It seems that Vegas is on a mission of historic proportion though, as they are only the second expansion team to reach the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season since the 1968 St. Louis Blues. I like the Golden Knights to win this series in 7 games, making this one of the greatest stories in the history of professional sports.