2018 NHL Stanley Cup Finals -
Washington Capitals Vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Now who picked, either team to be in the Finals for their playoff bracket in April? My guess is, (unless you're a loyal Knights or Caps fan) no one picked them, including myself. This truly is Underdog Vs. Underdog, History in the making.
I said earlier in the playoffs, the Vegas Golden Knights, reminded me of the Mighty Ducks, (the Disney movies, not the team.) A group of misfit, underdog players, which no team protected during the expansion draft, now selected and uprooted from their successful teams to go play for some crazy billionaire's Hockey team in the middle of a dessert.
But when recently fired, Head Coach Gerard Gallant (Coach Bombay) joins the doomed-to-fail project, he decides they can be much more than a bunch of overlooked players and management, they can be champions! With a little bit of courage and a few lessons on friendship, the Knights beat out every big, bad and villainous team they faced only losing 3 games of their last 15. All to complete one of the most improbable runs for a championship, in sports history.
Since were talking Vegas, looking at the odds, there's a good reason to be excited if you're a Knights fan. Home-ice advantage will belong to Vegas and the Knights have been destroying teams at home, going 29-10-2 in the regular season and 6-1 during the playoffs.
Another big advantage the Knights have is net minding . Marc-Andre Fleury, dominates the rest of the league, statistically speaking. He leads the post-season in shutouts, save percentage and goals-against average. To make things worst for the Caps, Fleury is the official hit-man of the Washington Capitals. Being no stranger to taking out the Caps in the post-season and having won the Stanley Cup several times, Fleury has shown to be Kryptonite like against the Capitals so far in his post season career.
But this is the year that the Capitals we're suppose to make their run to the finals! After all, that's why they made big off-season moves, to finally pull off a solid run, and so far they have delivered! Who would have predicted that?
The Capitals are saying, "to hell with who we were, take us for who we are right now!"
The 2018 Capitals are throwing historical patterns to the wind. This is the first season the Capitals made it past the 2nd Round, since their 1998 Stanley Cup run, and they won't be denied.
Since that run in 1998, the franchise has been marred by post-season failure. Finally, breaking free from the past and now racing past Crosby and the Penguins, to get a long-deserved shot at glory. This year, it's all or nothing for Ovechkin and the boys.
Statistically, in the 2018 playoffs the Caps are dominating. Kuznetsov and Ovechkin are 1st and 2nd in points. They are also 2nd and 3rd in goals scored. Defensemen John Carlson and Kuznetsov are 4th and 5th in assists. For power-play goals, Carlson is 2nd and Kuznetsov and Backstrom are tied for 3rd. Jay Beagle is 3rd in faceoff percentage. All-around they have guys leading at their intended role.
Whereas, the Knights have no player in the top 5 of any of the above mentioned playoff stats. Not only do the Knights have to watch out for Ovechkin, but they have to watch out for "the boys" who are showing up and helping their Captain with the dirty work. This Capital team may bend, but they're making sure they don't break this series. They've been too hungry, for too long.
Will the Capitals and their experience and veteran presence payoff? Or will Fleury do what he always does to the Caps and crush more dreams.
If anything, as a neutral on-looker, you've got to love this match-up. It's not like we have a consistent winner vying for the cup this year. The big dogs are out and we get a Cinderella Story, regardless of the outcome. This is sports history, you will want to be apart of.