The Capitals were able to get the job done in game 7 in Tampa Bay last night, which was really nice for me to see. Not only had I bet on the Caps as fairly big underdogs in that series, but I was rooting for Ovechkin, Backstrom and company to make their win over the Penguins to mean more than just beating Crosby and to advance to the Cup Finals.
The Caps are now up against the biggest surprise in arguably NHL history when they take on the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals. I’ve been fading the Golden Knights for the entire playoffs and that decision has really been the only mistake I’ve made in the playoffs, but it’s kept my profits to a minimum on my series picks.
Let’s get right into it. I’m using the best odds from any of our recommended betting sites for my pick below.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Washington Capitals
- Vegas 1.80
- Washington 2.15
The Golden Knights are the favourites in this series and I really can’t argue with that. They’ve advanced to the finals while only losing 3 total games and allowing just 27 goals against in the 15 games. Marc-Andre Fleury is playing the best hockey of his career and the team has proven that their defensive system is nearly impenetrable, while also showing a potent counter-attack and a top line that has some of the best chemistry I’ve ever seen.
All of that said, the Golden Knights have had a somewhat easy road to the finals as well. They came out of easily the weakest division in the NHL, the Pacific, fresh and healthy and they just seemed to have more gas in the tank than the Jets, who were coming off a physical and tight 7 game series against the Predators, in the Conference Finals. Everything seems to be lining up nicely for the Golden Knights as they now face a Caps team that has had a very tough road to the finals, going down 2-0 to the Blue Jackets in round 1, taking out their arch-rival defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in round 2 and then needing to dig deep to get out of a 3-2 hole to win a 7 game series against the talented Tampa Bay Lightning.
That said, the 3 day weekend break before the Stanley Cup Finals should do the Caps good. They can celebrate making the Finals, but still recharge their batteries over the weekend and be ready to come out hard in Vegas on Monday. The Golden Knights will have an 8 day gap between winning the Jets series and starting the Stanley Cup Finals. That seems like too long to me and it may take them a game to get back into the groove.
On paper, the Caps have the better team, but we’ve seen with Vegas this season and playoffs that on paper only matters so much. That said, I do think the Caps high level powerplay could play a big factor in this series. The Caps also really turned up their defensive structure and you could tell they actively avoided risky plays in game 6 and 7 against the Bolts, who are also a terrific transition team, and this style of play should pay dividends against the Golden Knights.
In net the Golden Knights have the advantage with Fleury playing out of his mind, but I still think guys like Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Backstrom and Oshie will be able to find a way to get the puck in the back of the net a few times in this series, and if the Caps can bring the smart, low risk style they did in games 6 and 7 against the Bolts I really like their chances.
I’m doing it again. Making it four for four in my fades of Vegas. It’s the Caps turn for the glory and they will find a way to get the job done.
Play: Capitals 2.15