The Washington Capitals have still never won a Stanley Cup Finals game in franchise history. The Vegas Golden Knights haven’t lost one. Will things change Wednesday night in Game 2 from Sin City?
Capitals vs Golden Knights Stanley Cup Final Odds
If you watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, two things should have stood out: Both goaltenders were a bit rusty/nervous, and the pregame ceremony was so Las Vegas. The expansion Golden Knights continued their unprecedented season by winning a wild affair 6-4 over the Washington Capitals, who are now 0-5 in Cup Final games all-time. The Caps look to avoid a 2-0 hole in Wednesday’s NHL matchup.
Washington certainly won’t panic being in a series hole as that has been the case often in these playoffs. The Capitals lost the first two games at home in Round 1 against Columbus but won next four. They lost the opener of the conference semifinals at home vs. Pittsburgh but won four of the next five. And Washington was down 3-2 in the East Finals vs. Tampa Bay but won the last two behind shutouts from goalie Braden Holtby.
Vegas, meanwhile, already has one of the best home-ice advantages in the NHL as the crowd there is wild. The Knights improved to 7-1 at T-Mobile Arena in these playoffs with the Game 1 victory and have outscored foes 31-16.
On the updated NHL odds series line, Vegas is -238 and Washington +180. The favoured exact result at +325 is Golden Knights in five games. However, the favoured total games is seven at +180.
Holtby admitted he was a bit rusty in allowing five goals on 33 shots in Game 1 after historic back-to-back shutouts in Games 6-7 of the last round against Tampa Bay. Holtby hadn’t allowed that many goals since surrendering six on Feb. 17 in Chicago.
To be fair, the defence in front of him was rather porous on Monday with four of the goals coming a point blank; one was an empty-netter. The Capitals had leads of 2-1 in the first and 4-3 early in the third. Tom Wilson gave Washington that 4-3 lead with his fourth playoff goal, but he could be looking at another suspension for a questionable hit on Knights star Jonathan Marchessault. Wilson already has been handed a three-game ban this postseason for something similar, and his history absolutely will be held against him. That would be a sizable loss.
Vegas Golden Knights
If you are one of those lucky ones who bet Vegas at +50000 or whatever number to win the Cup back in October, know that since the Stanley Cup Finals went to a best-of-7 in 1939 that 61 of the 78 previous Game 1 winners – including the past six – hoisted the Cup.
Vegas won thanks to rather unlikely contributions from its fourth line, which scored the game’s final three goals. Ryan Reaves tied it at 2:41 of the third, Tomas Nosek put Vegas ahead at 9:44, and he scored the empty-netter with three seconds to go. Nosek had seven regular-season goals in 67 games. Vegas also was guilty of blowing two leads, of 1-0 in the first and 3-2 in the second. Believe it or not, it was the first Cup Finals game ever to feature four lead changes. Marchessault had to leave following the Wilson hit but was cleared in the concussion protocol and returned. He had an assist for his 19th playoff point, setting a league record for most points by a player with a franchise in its first-ever postseason.