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2018 Stanley Cup Preview

The NHL Playoffs have been an exciting narrative of postseason hockey. After several rounds of exciting play, we finally have our top two teams competing for a Stanley Cup title. On one side, you have the Washington Capitals, a team with arguably one of the best players in NHL history (who has never won a title) in Alex Ovechkin. On the other, you have a new expansion team that has blown out the competition in the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Which team will come out on top?

The Washington Capitals are one of those teams that enter the season with so much promise yet always fall short in the Playoffs. They seem to be eliminated in the first and second round year after year. Recently, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been their downfall. Ovechkin has been their star ever since being drafted in 2004. The star forward has one of the strongest shots in hockey and has become a prolific goal scorer. Ovechkin was instrumental in the road to this year’s Stanley Cup, especially in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ovechkin is up against a top goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury, which could limit his scoring prowess.

Luckily for the Capitals, they have other significant role players that can pick up the slack. Evgeny Kuznetsov has enjoyed a positive postseason on top of his regular season performances. Nicklas Backstrom is another solid reliable player. Defensemen John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, and Dmitry Orlov have led the team in defensive minutes played and make a formidable wall for opponents to get through.

The Vegas Golden Knights from Nevada have a goalie playing the best season of his life in Fleury. He has a .947 save percentage for the spring and is an experienced veteran with 3 Stanley Cups to his name. Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith are both ex-Panthers having incredible seasons as the Knights’ two leading scorers. Alex Tuch and Erik Haula are both highly valued players in the mix for the Knights. Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt, Deryk Engelland and Brayden McNabb round out the defensive core that helped this team achieve so much this year.

What makes this Stanley Cup Final so interesting are the stories buried within. The Golden Knights are a rag-tag group of misfits left out to dry by their former clubs. The Capitals are dying to give their fans a title and Ovechkin wants a Stanley Cup added to his already illustrious career as the NHL’s all-time leading scorer. Will the Golden Knights be able to end their incredible inaugural season with a Stanley Cup? Or will Washington and Ovechkin finally get the title they have wanted for 20 years?