We are finally down to three teams as the Stanley Cup Final is in sight. Those final 3 teams are the Vegas Golden Knights, the Washington Capitals, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4 games to 1 to move on to the Stanley Cup final, first in the teams history of course. A major component of the teams success? Marc-Andre Fleury.
As i’ve stated many times before, Fleury has been phenomenal this year and is playing the best hockey of his life. But the game five hero? None other than Winnipeg native, Ryan Reaves. Reaves scored the game winning goal in game five to send the Knights to the finals.
I would’ve never guessed that Reaves would be the one to clinch it for Vegas but I guess it only makes sense that the Winnipeg native knocks out his hometown team right?
Anyway, Vegas will be getting loads of rest before taking on either Tampa or Washington. The Caps beat the Lightning 3-0 in game 6 to force a game 7 in Tampa tomorrow night.
The series has been pretty back and forth. The Caps took games 1 and 2 on the road in Tampa, and the Bolts took games 3 and 4 in Washington. They came back home for game 5 and won that as well, and Caps won game 6 at home.
So, it all comes down to game 7. A hockey fans most exciting yet nerve-wracking game. Game 7’s are known for their high intensity, hard hitting, and fast style of play.
Many people are giving the edge to Tampa considering they play on home ice but I wouldn’t count out the Caps. They’ve actually played better on the road this series.
For the Caps to win, they really need their leaders like Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Holtby to stand tall and have a great game. Guys like Tom Wilson need to do what they do best, hit hard and agitate.
The fourth line of Stephenson, Beagle, and Smith-Pelly could factor in to game 7 as well. That fourth line has been pretty good and Smith-Pelly has a nose for the net.
But what can the Bolts do to win?
Well, they’ll be on home ice, which is a huge bonus in a game 7 situation. Guys like Stamkos, Kucherov, Hedman, and Vasilevskiy need to start out strong and set the pace of the game.
Vasilevskiy really needs to hold his own in net if the Bolts want to win. He’s been shaky at times but can be good when he wants to be.
The veteran presence of Ryan Callahan and Chris Kunitz will be huge for the Bolts. Those guys have had a great impact on the lineup and know how to lead a group of younger guys like Point and Gourde.
So, who would I give the edge to? Who do I think will face the Golden Knights in the finals?
I’m going to have to go with Tampa. I think they have the better overall team and I think home-ice advantage will help them take game 7.
Who do you think will win?
Photo: USA Today