NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018 Preview: Vegas Golden Knights Vs. Washington Capitals, predictions and odds

Published on May 26, 2018 at 06:01 AM | Updated on May 26, 2018 at 06:01 a.m.

By Chris Ryan | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The Washington Capitals and the Vegas Golden Knights are the last two teams that are part of the NHL. Now they will face each other in the Stanley Cup final.

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Braden Holtby helped the capitals reach the final for the first time since 1998, and the team will play for its first Stanley Cup in the history of the franchise.

Meanwhile, the Golden Knights will play their first Stanley Cup in their first season of existence. The expansion franchise, behind the work of Marc-Andre Fleury, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and David Perron, will seek to continue his magical career and expand his unprecedented success as a first-year franchise.

Before the two teams drop the disc in Game 1 on Monday, May 28 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, here is a preview of the series, more odds and a prediction for the winner of the Stanley Cup

How the capitals arrived here

Despite having less talent in the paper, the Washington Capitals managed to win their third consecutive title of the Metropolitan Division in the regular season, accumulating 105 points. They found another Metro team, Columbus Blue Jackets, in the first round of the playoffs. Despite losing the first two games of the series at home, the Capitals recovered by winning the next four games, including three on the road, to advance to the second round.

The Capitals faced the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Since Alex Ovechkin and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby joined the NHL, the Penguins won all three postseason meetings between the teams. But this time, The Capitals beat the Penguins in six games, reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1997-98.

Washington Capitals v Tampa Bay Lightning – Game Seven

Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

Against the best seeds of Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals, The Capitals had a perfect start by winning games 1 and 2 in Tampa. But Rayo made three consecutive wins, putting the Capitals on the verge of elimination in Game 6 in Washington.

Goalkeeper Braden Holtby posted blanks in Games 6 and 7, allowing capitals to climb from their 3-2 deficit to reach the Stanley Cup final for the second time in franchise history.

How the Golden Knights came here

Less than a year ago, Las Vegas players were not even Golden Knights. Most of the players were still with their previous teams, waiting for the expansion draft of June 2017 that would fill the list.

No one gave the combined playoffs to make a new NHL team have a big chance in its inaugural season, but Vegas proved that everyone was wrong from the start. A regular season of 51-24-7 gave them 109 points and the Pacific Division title, and the magic did not fade in the postseason.

Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights – Game Four

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Vegas swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, allowing only three goals in the four games behind two shutouts by Marc-Andre Fleury. After beating another divisional foe at San Jose Sharks in six games in the second round, Vegas faced their toughest test in the Winnipeg Jets.

After the Jets won Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, the Golden Knights won the next four games, securing their first trip of the Stanley Cup Final in their first NHL season.

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