The Stanley Cup Finals Are Set To Explode


Many fans, and not just fans who are primarily into hockey, contend that the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the best tournament in sports. You have elite athletes from a large international talent pool. Hockey is a tremendously physical sport and the grueling playoff season is a true test of grit, determination, skill and luck, replete with high drama. And now the process has reached its culmination: The Stanley Cup Finals.

We have two finalists who are surprises, but in a certain sense, they are surprises for opposite reasons. The Washington Capitals have been loaded with talent for years, headlined by superstar and 3 time MVP, Alex Ovechkin. However, they have been perennial disappointments in the postseason, flaming out early, often at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For once, the regular season heros for The Caps have stepped up big in the playoffs. Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov are leading the team in playoff scoring, followed by their second tier stars, like Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. While everyone seems to be caught up in the hype surrounding the Vegas Golden Knights, with all of this talent finally igniting for Washington, they should not be overlooked.

The Vegas Golden Knights, or VGK as they are known to locals, are the big story. As an expansion team in their first season, the books made them big underdogs to even to reach the playoffs, and up to 200-1 to win the Stanley Cup. However, general manager, George McPhee, shrewdly exploited the expansion system to assemble a lot of equity, and he parlayed that equity into a well balanced team loaded with speed that can compete against any style of play.

Unquestionably, VGK have been lead by human fortress, Marc-Andre Fleury tending goal. In the playoffs, Fleury boasts a ridiculous 1.68 goals against average and a .947 save percentage. The Penguins foolishly cast Fleury aside and he has proven that he is still among the best in the game. He has a personal history with The Caps and, if their elite offensive weapons cannot find a way to crack the code against Fleury, it will be the Knights hoisting the cup.

The Knights offense has been well balanced in the postseason, with eight different players scoring seven or more points. However, there has been a clear leader in French Canadian star, Jonathan Marchessault who leads the team with eight playoff goals and eighteen points. The key to the Knight's scoring all season has really been timeliness. They always seem to do exactly what is needed to win. Is this will and determination, or positive variance? Most likely it is a little of both, and the variance aspect could flip at any time.

It's going to be a fascinating showdown. As a Las Vegas resident, I can testify to the fact that the city is completely captivated by our only top tier, professional team. During their semi-finals victory, 1/3 of all active TV sets were tuned in to the final game. Fans of all backgrounds, many not traditionally assosciated with hockey, have embraced the team. However, after years of frustration, and finally tasting success, the Washington fanbase could be even more pumped up.

It's a close call, so there might be some value on the dog. Betonline has the Capitals for the series at +120

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe

    30/5/18

    I'm a huge hockey fan but was unable to see much of the play-offs this season as the previous ones.
    No doubt the Knights are really the biggest sensation this season in NHL and I hope their fairytale will continue in the finals too.
    The Capitals are known to be the biggest underachievers in the play-offs over the past decade so they would be desperate to succeed this time cause of course there's couldn't be another chance for some of those players.
    Go Knights Go!!!

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