There hasn’t been a better story than the Vegas Golden Knights for quite some time. In their first season in the NHL, this team of players that, truth be told, were not wanted badly enough by other clubs, has made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, and they will take to the ice at their own T-Mobile Center off the Las Vegas Strip for Game 1 on Monday night against the Washington Capitals. The puck will be dropped at 8:05 PM ET, and VietBet customers get to place wagers while the action is in progress, courtesy of Live Betting Ultra.
2018 Stanley Cup Finals Odds – Washington Capitals vs Vegas Golden Knights:
2018 Stanley Cup Finals Odds are posted online for this game by the folks at VietBet and Vegas is the favorite to win this series:
Vegas Golden Knights to win -140
Washington Capitals to win +120
And in Monday night’s Game 1, the Knights are a -143 favorite (Washington is +123) with a total of six goals posted (Under -125, Over +105).
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2018 Stanley Cup Finals Odds: CJ’s Take on the series:
The Knights were built from the ground up by George McPhee, who was the general manager in Washington for 17 years. So it is safe to say that he is very familiar with the personnel of the opponent, since he helped to bring many of them over to the Caps. McPhee played his cards well in the expansion draft, as he not only made his picks but also agreed NOT pick certain players and got other considerations in return.
The Capitals have had quite a different history, where they have made the Finals only one time, getting swept by the Detroit Red Wings. They have often looked like one of the classier outfits in the league, but have left behind a trail of playoff disappointments.
Only one other team in its first season of existence has made it to the Stanley Cup finals, and that was the St. Louis Blues in the 1967-68 season. Of course, the reason for that was that one of the six expansion teams that year HAD to make it to the Finals, since that division (then called the “Western Division,” even though it included Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) was entirely made up of the six new teams in the league that season. This Vegas squad has won twelve of its 15 games in the post-season, which is nothing short of sensational.
One of the other great stories is that Alex Ovechkin, a three-time winner of the Hart Trophy, is playing in the Finals for the first time. Ovechkin led the NHL in goals scored with 49, and he has been a tremendous asset in the playoffs as well, with twelve goals in the Caps’ 19 games.
Ovechkin is the best player on the ice, although Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault, who’s had eight goals and ten assists in the playoffs, has been performing at an extremely high level. He is on a ten-game scoring streak (goal or assist) at the moment. However, the general consensus is that the Capitals have better depth up front, and also the most dangerous defenseman in the game in John Carlson, who led all backliners this season with 68 points.
The guys who may control things in this series, however, are the goaltenders. Marc-Andre Fleury, who was left exposed by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the expansion draft, has found new life out west, and his .956 save percentage with the teams at even strength in these playoffs is the best in NHL history. And his team has killed off penalties at an 82.5% rate. But Braden Holtby, a Vezina Trophy winner two years ago with the Caps, was super-human in the latter stages of the conference finals against Tampa Bay, shutting out the Lightning for the last 159 minutes of that series.
Under the circumstances, I would expect we will see a lot of “unders” in this series.
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