The Stanley Cup Finals are here and there is something special that is going to happen. Will Alex Ovechkin finally fulfill his perceived destiny and lead the Capitals to the hoist the Stanley Cup? Numerous times over the years the Capitals have been among the favorites only to have postseason heartbreak set in after they suffered another early round exit.
Or will this be a historic year for the ages as the expansion Vegas Golden Knights (yes, expansion) finish the unthinkable and raise the trophy? This team has defied odds all season long opening as a 200-1 longshot in some places. Making it to the Stanley Cup Finals is going to be viewed as an enormous success for this team win or lose but these guys are not riding high on their accomplishments. They want to go down in the history books as the first.
Who wins this matchup in what should be an entertaining final? Let's take a look at the odds for each team and what they may be able to do to improve their chances of taking home the NHL's ultimate prize. The puck drops for game one on Monday, May 28th, 2018 at 8:00 pm ET.
The Case for the Capitals (+125 to win the finals, +1000 opening odds)
The Capitals finally arrive in the Stanley Cup finals after upsetting the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 in game 7 on the road. The underdog role was a new one for the Capitals as they have often played the favorite who bowed out early over the years. This will mark the teams first Stanly Cup final appearance since being swept by the Red Wings in 1998.
The Capitals playoff run has been led by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin who rank first and second in playoff scoring with 24 and 22 points respectively. Ovechkin is finally in the finals. This was a question mark for what many consider the greatest goal scorer of his generation. Since entering the league in 2005, he has scored 607 goals, which is 196 goals more than 2nd place (Sidney Crosby with 411). He has led NHL in scoring a record-tying 7 times (tied with Bobby Hull). He has done almost everything imaginable on the ice and the only knock against him has been his lack of success on the big stage. Will this finally be the year he gets the monkey off his back? He may never be closer.
The Golden Knights (+145 to win finals, +20000 opening odds)
The Golden Knights arrive here on a roll. They swept their opening round series with the Los Angeles Kings. Took out San Jose in 6 games and then steamrolled the Winnipeg Jets in five games to take the Western Conference crown. The expansion team that could look poised to go down in the record books. They want to be the first club from either the NHL, MLB, NBA or NFL to win a championship.
If you are going to talk about the Knights you have to talk about goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. He already has three Stanley Cup rings and is 12-3 in the postseason with a 1.68 goals-against average. There may have been no bigger pick in the expansion draft for Vegas. Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith are Vegas' leading point scorers in the playoffs (thank you Florida Panthers). There are no glaring weaknesses with this team and they have been consistent all season long.
Tight series with Washington's high powered offense trying to stop Vegas and Fleury from history. Vegas just comes off like this is what they were meant to do. I think the Knights ink their name in the record books and take down the Capitals in 6 games. Fleury continues his great run and gets his fourth Stanley Cup win. Early action has pushed the line from Vegas -135 to its current number at -145.