It’s been a good story line leading up to the Cup Finals. You’ve got Washington coming from the Eastern Conference, a team that hasn’t been quite able to push the ball over the hill since the arrival of superstar Alex Ovechkin in 2005. Ovechkin finished the regular season with 87 points (including 49 goals) in 82 games. He’s got 22 points in 19 playoff games. The Capitals are getting .924 goaltending from Braden Holtby in the playoffs. This is the first time that Washington has made the big dance since losing in four straight games to Detroit in 1998.
The Golden Knights have blown away everyone’s expectations this season. Picked by all (or nearly all) to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference, the expansion team has defied logic and expectations in nearly every way possible. Led in scoring by William Karlsson (78 points in 82 games) and Jonathan Marchesasult (75 points in 77 games), the club can’t stop winning. Led by Gerard Gallant, the team that didn’t have a player on its roster twelve months ago is now four wins away from their first Stanley Cup in their first season.
Who’s going to take the Cup in 2018? Will it be the Captials, thirsty since 1974? Or, will it be Vegas, who could do it all in just one season?
We’ve consulted our expert panel of analysts at Copper and Blue Industries™ to figure it out. Surprisingly, it was nearly unanimous.
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Though Vegas looks to be the favourite among the oddsmakers, all but one of our panelists have the Capitals winning their first Stanley Cup in team history. Everyone predicts the series to last at least six games, which will no doubt add to the drama.
The Finals begin on Monday. Who do you got?