It’s on to the Stanley Cup Finals and the Metro Division will square off with the Pacific Division as the Washington Capitals duke it out with the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in game one of their best-of-seven series. The Capitals took out the Lightning in seven games to get here, while the Golden Knights took out the Winnipeg Jets in five games. Goalie Probables: Getting the nod for the Capitals will be Braden Holtby (12-6, 2.04 GAA) and he will be opposed by Marc-Andre Fleury (12-3, 1.68 GAA).
Caps Blank The Bolts Move To The Finals
The Washington Capitals were down three games to two to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals, but they won the final two games of that series and outscored the Bolts 7-0 in the process. The Capitals have now made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for just the 2nd time in their history, with the first time coming back in 1997/98. Could this finally be the year that the Capitals win it all? We shall see. The Caps won three games on the road in the series against the Bolts and have now gone 8-2 on the road in the postseason so far. The Capitals have gone 29-22 on the road for the year overall and they have averaged 3.06 gpg and have allowed 3.04 gpg in those games. Scoring in the game seven win was Alex Ovechkin, which was his 12th of the postseason, Andre Burakovsky, who scored his first two of the playoffs and Nicklas Backstrom, which was his 4th of the playoffs.
Snatching up the game seven against the Bolts was Braden Holtby, who stopped all 29 shots that he faced in the game for his 2nd shutout in a row and the 6th playoff shutout of his career. He is now 12-6 with a 2.04 GAA and a .924 save percentage in the postseason this year and 41-36 with a 2.01 GAA and a .930 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 34-20 with a 2.99 GAA and a .907 save percentage overall, including 12-11 with a 3.90 GAA and a .889 save percentage on the road. Holtby was 0-1 with a 3.01 GAA and a .893 save percentage against the Golden Knights this year.
The Capitals come into this game ranked 2nd in scoring during the postseason at 3.47 gpg, while also ranking 6th in shots taken (32.9 spg) and 2nd in power play conversions, converting on 28.8% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, during the postseason, they have been very solid so far as they come in ranked 3rd in goals allowed, giving up 2.47 gpg, while also ranking 2nd in shots allowed (28.2 spg) and 10th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 24.6% of their chances.
Knights Continue To Shock Everyone
The Vegas Golden Knights are in their first year of existence, but then they shocked everyone in the regular season by winning the Pacific Division. Well, the shocks keep coming as they have now made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. And they should be a bit fresher in this series as they have played four fewer games than the Caps have in the postseason. The Golden Knights took out the Kings in four games, the Sharks in six games and the Jets in five games to get here and have made history as the first team to make it to the Finals in their first year. The Golden Knights took their finale against the Jets by a score of 2-1 in a hard-fought battle and scoring in the win was Alex Tuch, which was his 6th of the playoffs and Ryan Reaves, which was his 1st of the playoffs. The Golden Knights held a powerful Jets’ offense to just six goals in the final four games of that series. Vegas has gone 35-13 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.56 gpg and have allowed 2.38 gpg in those games.
Grabbing the win in game five against the Jets was Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 31 of the 32 shots that he faced to improve to 12-3 with a 1.68 GAA and a .947 save percentage in the postseason this year and 74-54 with a 2.53 GAA and a .913 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 29-17 with a 2.24 ERA and a .927 save percentage overall, including 16-10 with a 2.36 GAA and a .922 save percentage here at home. Fleury has gone 22-14 with a 2.54 GAA and a .914 save percentage in his career (regular season) against the Capitals.
Vegas has been below average on offense in the playoffs so far as they come in ranked 9th in scoring at 2.87 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots taken (31.5 spg) and 10th in power play conversions, converting on 17.6% of their chances. They have been very strong at the defensive end of the ice, during the postseason, as they come in ranked 2nd in goals allowed, giving up 1.80 gpg, while also ranking 12th in shots allowed (33.7 spg) and 4th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 17.5% of their chances.
- 2-5 in their last seven vs. the Pacific
- 0-4 in their last four Stanley Cup Finals games
- 15-1 in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 15-7 in their last 22 vs. the Eastern Conference
The Golden Knights keep making history and they now have a shot at winning the Title in the first year of existence. The Caps have been around for a while, but this is their 2nd time ever in the Stanley Cup Finals and they have yet to win it. We will crown a first-time champ in the NHL this year. The Caps stunned everyone by winning their series against the Lightning, especially once they were down 3-2 in the series. They have gone 8-2 on the road in the postseason, but the Golden Knights have gone 35-13 here at home for the year, including 6-1 in the postseason. Braden Holtby has been hot and he has allowed just 2.00 gpg on the road in the postseason, but Marc-Andre Fleury gets major points for experience as he has played in 13 Stanley Cup Finals games, while Holby has played in none. I like the Golden Knights to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the series.