Stanley Cup Final Preview

Story posted May 24, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Josh Starr

There will be a first-time cup winner this year in an unexpected Stanley Cup Final matchup.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights will take on the Washington Capitals to take home Lord Stanley’s Cup.

The series begins Monday, May 28 at 8 p.m. ET and it should be a great series.

Vegas continues to make history in its inaugural season, and winning it all would be even more historic. They are just the second team in NHL history to make it to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season. The St. Louis Blues did it in 1968 but were unable to win the cup.

Vegas can become the first expansion team to ever win the Stanley Cup in its first season.

The Golden Knights have been a thorn in the side of their opponents all year long. Head Coach Gerard Gallant is in line to win the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year and he has done a terrific job with this team.

They play fast and try to wear down the opposition. Their style has taken its toll on opponents in the first three rounds.

So far, Vegas has swept the Kings, beat the Sharks in six games and beat the Jets in five. Marc-Andre Fleury has been outstanding throughout the playoffs, posting a .947 save percentage and 4 shutouts.

Jonathan Marchessault has eight goals and 18 points for Vegas during the playoffs, and even Ryan Reaves joined the party in game five against the Jets, scoring his first career playoff goal that ended up being the game-winner.

The Knights have found different ways to win all year long and have proven they are not a fluke.

The Capitals, on the other hand, have been expecting a run like this for years. It seemed like they weren’t really given a fair chance this year and ended up exceeding expectations.

It is Washington’s first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1998 when they were swept by the Red Wings.

This year, Alexander Ovechkin overcame his playoff demons. The Capitals took care of Columbus in six games and then faced the Penguins, who had knocked them out in each of the last two seasons. Washington found a way to win in six games and moved on past the second round for the first time in Ovechkin’s career.

The Capitals defeated Tampa Bay in seven games in the East Final to advance to play Vegas in the Cup Final.

Ovechkin has been unbelievable in the playoffs, scoring 12 goals to lead all players in this series.

Braden Holtby stood on his head in games six and seven against Tampa Bay while facing elimination. The Capitals will need a similar performance from Holtby in this series. He will have to perform even better than his already impressive .924 save percentage.

Evgeny Kuznetsov leads all players in this series in points with 24 and the Caps will need his offensive production to continue.

Vegas is tough to score against and the Caps will have their work cut out for them.

I see this being a very physical, low-scoring series. Both netminders are very good and have played extremely well during the playoffs.

Ultimately, I think this series comes down to scoring depth and Vegas has the advantage in that department. It will be low scoring and that means all four lines will need to bring something to the table.

The Knights’ fourth line of Nosek-Bellemare-Reaves has been outstanding in the playoffs and can end up being the difference in this series.

My predictions:

Vegas in 6

Conn Smythe: Marc-Andre Fleury

 

 

Josh Starr is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email joshlstarr16@gmail.com.