Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin celebrates as the Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to advance, for the second time in franchise history, to the Stanley Cup final. (via @WiserFan/Twitter)

COLUMN: Stanley Cup final prediction

Upstart Vegas Golden Knights clash with Washington Capitals

Vegas Golden Knights (51-24-7) vs. Washington Capitals (49-26-7)

Season Series: Vegas 2-0-0; Washington 0-2-0

First Round: Vegas defeated L.A. in four games; Washington defeated Columbus in six games.

Second Round: Vegas defeated San Jose in six games; Washington defeated Pittsburgh in six games.

Conference Finals: Vegas defeated Winnipeg in five games; Washington defeated Tampa Bay in seven games.

Golden Knights:

The impossible has happened and the Golden Knights are in the Stanley Cup final. It has been 230 days since Vegas played their first NHL game. Some may think their performance is a fluke but I’d like to argue otherwise. Vegas has lost one home game in the playoffs. The atmosphere in their stadium is electric as well the city has come under a buzz.

The play of Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been nothing short of remarkable. It seems to me that he is a shoe-in to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, whether Vegas wins the Stanley Cup or not. Only six times in NHL history has the Conn Smythe been awarded to a member of the losing team in the final. Now the outstanding performance of Vegas cannot be attributed to Fleury alone. The emergence of a franchise defenceman in Nate Schmidt and the stellar play of a slow, 36-year-old defenceman in Deryk Engelland has provided a backbone for the Golden Knights defence corps.

No less than 13 of 18 Vegas skaters are having the best season of their careers in terms of their points total.

What they need to win:

Obviously, Fleury needs to continue his stellar performance. Fleury is posting a 1.68 goals against average, a .947 save percentage and has a 12-3 record. Secondly, Vegas needs to score first. Vegas has scored first in 11 of their 15 playoff games and have gone on to win 10 of those games. The first line of Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson will be expected to lead the way for Vegas in terms of scoring, followed by the performances of Alex Tuch and Erik Haula.

🤯

A post shared by Vegas Golden Knights (@vegasgoldenknights) on

Capitals:

For the second time in franchise history and the first in Alex Ovechkin’s career, the Capitals have made it to the Stanley Cup final. For a player of Ovechkin’s calibre, it is quite shocking this is his first trip to the final. Ovechkin has 12 goals and 10 assists through 19 playoff games this year and looks as if he is on a personal quest to deliver Washington’s first Stanley Cup in its 44-year history. The Capitals were able to finish off Sidney Crosby and the Penguins without star centre Nicklas Backstrom, and goaltender Braden Holtby helped the Capitals defeat the Lightning with back-to-back shutouts in Games 6 and 7, his only shutouts this entire season. It is safe to say that Holtby is playing at the top of his game.

What they need to win:

Despite not having home-ice advantage, it won’t be a problem for Washington. The Caps are 8-2 on the road during this post-season. Ovechkin will need to continue to perform while he will need some secondary scoring. Defenceman John Carlson has been dynamite for them during the playoff run, while Backstrom seems to be healthy which will provide some assistance to Ovechkin.

Prediction: Capitals in six.

It makes me cringe seeing Ovechkin without a Stanley Cup during his incredible career. The fight in his eyes makes me believe that he is on a mission and is not stopping until he raises the Cup. Vegas has been incredible during this playoff run and will continue to be incredible for years to come. However, it is Ovechkin’s time.

First round predictions: 6-2. Second round predictions: 3-1. Conference finals prediction: 1-1. Overall: 10-4.


@kieranroconnor
kieran.oconnor@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Health Minister opens ‘urgent primary care’ centre in Surrey

The centres were a promise of the NDP along the campaign trail, and the Surrey location is the fourth to open in B.C.

Dump truck crashes into hydro pole in north Surrey

Accident causes power outage in Whalley

Surrey mayor appoints Terry Waterhouse to oversee policing transition

Waterhouse was hired by the previous Surrey First slate as the city’s first-ever Director of Public Safety Strategies

Gas prices in Metro Vancouver to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

White Rock included on Maclean’s ‘most dangerous places’ listing

Cities across Canada ranked on crime severity index

Throw a snowball to help kids at BC Children’s Hospital

Effort will raise money for sick kids over the holidays

UPDATE: Pedestrian hit by train in Maple Ridge

Emergency responders on tracks along River Road

Should the legal age for cannabis be increased to 21?

B.C. residents have a more mellow attitude to the age limit for pot – but 23 per cent want the legal age increased

Expect ride hailing in B.C. by 2020, Premier Horgan says

Taxi-style insurance option needed for part-time drivers

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Canada Post strike having ‘critical’ impact on retailers, eBay tells PM

Canada Post says it is now facing an unprecedented backlog of shipments, largely as a result of strikes

NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon as first step in deep space exploration

The U.S. is seeking broad international support for the next-generation space station to send into orbit a in 2021

B.C. Lions GM Ed Hervey has plan for busy off-season

The Lions’ season ended Sunday with a crushing 48-8 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Division semifinal

Vancouver Island man survived for ‘days’ trapped in smashed truck

Duncan Moffat, 23, found by hunter by the side of the road near Sayward

Most Read