Who:Las Vegas Golden Knights vs Washington Capitals
When: Game 1 on Tuesday 29th 10.00am AEST Fox Sports 503 HD
After six months of regulation hockey and two and half months of playoff hockey we now focus in on the two teams competing in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Vegas Golden Knights will host the Washington Capitals in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday morning. The Vegas Knights entered the NHL In the 2017-2018 season and were 500-1 to win the Stanley Cup. Vegas have weaved their way past the LA Kings, San Jose Sharks and the Winnipeg Jets to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final series in their first year as a franchise. The Washington Capitals will enter their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Vegas Golden Knights have been nothing less than amazing during the playoffs and have been led by former Penguin Marc Andre Fleury. It's not fair to say that Fleury has single handedly helped them to the Stanley Cup but he has been solid especially in the Winnipeg series. Vegas are a well balanced team that skates fast and makes the most of the opportunities on offense. Forward Jonathan Marchessault leads the team in points with 18 for the season including eight goals and ten assists. Reilly Smith has also been outstanding, Smith has 16 points during the playoffs and scored game winning breakaway goal in game four against Winnipeg. Vegas’s top line has been the most productive throughout the playoffs with Marchessault, Smith and William Karlsson leading the way in the scoring department, but let's not forget the defense. Ex Capital Nate Schmidt leads the defense in ice time and is paired Shea Theodore and Deryk Engelland who have been a solid duo. Special teams haven't been great in the power play with only nine goals but the penalty kill is at 82% throughout the playoffs.
The Washington Capitals have had some tough matchups but they managed to finally make it past Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins despite missing Tom Wilson who was suspended for three games and Nick Backstrom who was recovering from a upper body injury. The Washington forwards have been dominant in the playoffs, led by Alex Ovechkin who leads the team with 12 goals off 80 shots in the playoffs. Ovechkin has been a wrecking ball in the playoffs he also has 66 hits to his name which is second in the team behind Tom Wilson. Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the team in points with 24 with 11 goals and 13 assists to his name. The defense has a tad more to offer than Vegas. John Carlson has been solid all year and is backed up by Tom Wilson who leads the team in hits despite missing three games through suspension. Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov are two other defenseman that have been underrated in the Playoffs. Washington must be happy to have consistency with Braden Holtby through the playoffs. Holtby has back to back shutouts in his last two games and was certainly the difference in the Tampa series.
This will be a absolute ripper contest, will we see the Vegas Golden Knights make history or will the Washington Capitals win their first Stanley Cup Final?
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