Just in case you have not been watching, the Stanley Cup Finals are just around the corner. Game 1 will be played on Monday in Las Vegas. Wait, Las Vegas? That’s right, the expansion Las Vegas Knights will be playing for the Cup. They will be playing against the Washington Capitals, who are in their own right a great story. I wanted to give a rundown of the playoffs to this point and take a look at the match-up in the Finals.
The Las Vegas Knights have been a surprise team all year and they were able to secure the number one seed in the Western Conference. They were able to make history and sweep the Kings in 4 games. The Sharks were able to sweep the Ducks as well. The Winnipeg Jets beat the Wild in 5 games and Nashville knocked off the Avalanche in 6 games. The Knights then had a tougher match-up with the Sharks, winning in 6 games. Regardless, every game they win is making history. The Jets were able to knock off the Preds in 7 hard fought games. This set up the Western Conference Finals match-up of the Knights vs. the Jets. After losing the first game, the Knights were able to go on a run and win the next four games to advance to the Finals.
The Eastern Conference played out in a different manner. The defending champ Penguins needed six games to knock off the Flyers. The Capitals lost their first two games at home before digging out of a major hole and knocking off the Blue Jackets in 6 games. The Boston Bruins beat the Maple Leafs in 7 games while the Lightning took care of the Devils in 5 games. The Capitals were then matched up with the Penguins and they were finally able to get over the hump and advance to the Conference Finals. The Lightning took care of the Bruins in 5 games to set up a great series with the Caps. The Capitals were able to win a back and forth series in 7 games and advance to the Cup Finals vs. the Knights.
The Cup Finals will be a great series no matter who wins as it is quite historical. The expansion Knights are a fantastic story and if this were either of the other 3 major American sports the story would be even greater. Just think, a team that for the most part was put together with the scraps from other teams being able to make it this far in year one. It shows that effort and will can carry a team quite a long distance. Meanwhile, the Capitals have had one of the best teams in the league over the last ten years as well as one of the best players in the league in Alex Ovechkin. Unfortunately, players are measured by championships and if Ovechkin does not get one he may not go down as one of the best to ever play even though he is.
You can take a look at this page to get an idea of what the experts think of the series outcome. It looks like 8 out of the 14 experts believe the Caps will win it all. They may be the favorites, but not by much. I do not like either team but can make a case for either team to win. I think it would be great to see an all time great player finally break through and win it all. I also think it would be a story for the ages if the expansion Knights can win it all in their first year of existence. I have no idea who will win, but I do know that Stanley Cup Finals hockey is great viewing. I will be tuning in to watch the action.