Final of the Stanley Cup 2018: why Washington Capitals has this in its reach, unless Vegas Golden Knights has a miraculous return



12:03 AM ET

  • Emily Kaplan

  • Greg Wyshynski

The victory of Game 4 of the Washington Capitals gave them a dominant advantage of 3-1 in the Stanley Cup final over the Golden Knights from Las Vegas.

Evgeny Kuznetsov could not help but hear the resonant songs of the crowd: "We want the Cup!"

"We feel your energy, I do not want to lie, sometimes you feel when people cheer you up, you feel the energy, in this tiebreaker we are not very good at home, but in this series we keep the public happy. for us, "he said.

It seems that the series is in your hands … or is it?

Here's a look at how the Captains got this, and some reasons why the Stanley Cup could be a possibility for the darlings of the Sin City expansion.


After a complete 6-2 victory in Game 4, the Capitals are up 3-1 in the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. They have this … right? AP Photo / Alex Brandon

Capitals have this because … taking a 3-1 lead in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final is winning the Stanley Cup. The teams that have taken a 3-1 lead in the final have won the 31st Cup in real time. Overall, they are 32-1 since the series was added to the best of seven to the playoffs in 1939. The only time a team recovered to win the Cup was in 1942, when the Toronto Maple Leafs came back to roar "reverse sweep" Detroit Red Wings, 4-3. Throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs, the teams have followed a series at best seven times in NHL history. Only 28 of them have returned to win. So, good luck, Gentlemen.

The Golden Knights have a chance because … history is not on Vegas's side here. Forgive me if you've heard that before. Do I need to remind you that this is a team that opened with a probability of 500 to 1 to win the Stanley Cup? That all the members of this self-proclaimed band of misfits felt snubbed at some point last year, then 15 went on to have career years, points by point. As David Perron reminded us this week, almost everyone counted the Golden Knights after Winnipeg overtook them in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Vegas won four consecutive games to secure it. It feels appropriate for them to have to overcome an even greater deficit to claim the grand prize.

"It's the final," said Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. "Nothing easy is good."

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The capitals have this because … the defense of your team is like a machine, your goalie is keeping everything and the things you are not keeping They are bouncing in their publications. Washington has so much of the neutral zone that it could start asking Vegas to pay the rent to use it. They took the front of the net: 10 of the last 19 goals of the Golden Knights were scored at the goalkeeper's door. However, they have not scored any of that way since Game 1 of the Final.

"As a group, this is the most committed group I've ever been in. I do not think it's the most talented team I have." But he's the most committed to the dirty and little-known plays, "said defender Matt. Niskanen.

Holtby now has a save percentage of .919 for the series and a .945 in the three wins of the Caps. And, again: when James Neal is watching so much network for that time and can only leave it in Game 4, it is clear that Holtby has a force field or can subtly manipulate iron like Magneto.

The Golden Knights have a chance because … Believe it or not, they did not play so badly in Game 4. On the other hand, they had possibilities that simply did not come in. Through two periods, Vegas had a 10-2 high-hazard probability advantage with equal strength, and let's not forget the messages, Braden's best friends. Holtby, I had Neal's open eyes in the first Odo, we are talking about a totally different game, and a series. In the last two games, the Golden Knights have reached the enormous amount of seven publications. Las Vegas was encouraged by its top line throughout the season that yes, it posted an incredibly high percentage of shots. In the Finals, the combo of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith has combined to shoot 9.1 percent. Was this inevitable regression? That is the lens of a pessimist. I say that means they are late to have some good luck in the next games.

The capitals have this because … it is clear that they, and not the Golden Knights, are the destiny's team. They eliminated Columbus and coach John Tortorella, who tormented them with the Rangers, in the first round. They eliminated their archrivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, for the second time in the history of the franchise, in the second round. They eliminated a group of ex-Rangers and a former penguin in Chris Kunitz, and won a rare Game 7, when they overthrew Tampa Bay. They only had two big bosses left: the team that former GM George McPhee built, with former Penguins goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury. They are in the process of hitting both.

"We are trying to write our own history here," said Capital striker T.J. Oshie. "We do not insist too much on the past, there has been a broken heart here, we know it, but that has left us more scars and strengthened us"

The Golden Knights have an opportunity because … ni It has not been three months since the 12th seed UMBC surprised Virginia; If you do not believe in sports miracles, you sure have a short memory. Look, the hockey gods tend to reward those who work harder and grind more time. Alex Ovechkin & Co. certainly fits in the mold. But so do many members of these Golden Knights. No, they have not been together as a unit for a long time, but that does not make them less deserving.


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Devante Smith-Pelly stops a disc with his skate and throws it to the net for the third goal of the first period of the capitals.

Okay, so we're covered why the Captains and the Golden Knights got this. But, what if they do not?

The Capitals might not have this because … What if all this tour, this magical journey in which Alex Ovechkin seems destined to raise the Stanley Cup, in which The Capitals seems destined to finally raise the flag and the District of Columbia is ready to celebrate its first pro sports championship since 1992. What if this ends up being the elaborate answer to the question that has sent Capital fans to the fetal position for three decades : "How are you going to explode this time?"

The Golden Knights could be ready because … Marc-Andre Fleury is no longer playing in his mind. Tomas Tatar was not the offensive spark in Game 4, and any change in the lineup for Gerard Gallant from here would be simply desperation (do you really think that inserting Oscar Lindberg could be the answer? Yes, do not answer). The team of high percentage of shots and loved ones that exceeded the target finally fell to Earth. Yes, it arrived later than any of us could have expected. In fact, it was a magical trip. We're going to value it for what it was.

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