Last night, the Washington Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 to advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for only the second time in franchise history. They came back from a 3-2 series deficit in large part due to goalie Braden Holtby, who recorded back-to-back shutouts after having not had one all season.
Now, the Capitals will face the first-year Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals. Ironically, the best expansion franchise in the history of the NHL will be facing off against the franchise that was the worst expansion team in hockey history.
Another interesting note to this historical final is that it will be the first time in over a decade that one of the championship series for the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) will be contested between two teams that have never won before.
|NHL||Senators v. Ducks||2006-07||Ducks in 5|
|NBA||Mavericks v. Heat||2005-06||Heat in 6|
|NFL*||Titans v. Rams||1999-00||Rams 23-16|
|NFL||Bengals v. 49ers||1981-82||49ers 26-21|
|MLB||Royals v. Phillies||1980||Phillies in 6|
*If only counting teams with no Super Bowls (not counting NFL Championships won)
Preseason power rankings for Cup Finals from various sports sites
Now that the Stanley Cup Finals are set, let’s take a look at where the Capitals and Golden Knights were in the preseason power rankings of various sports sites compared to the other 29 NHL teams.
|Site||Prediction (Caps)||Prediction (Golden Knights)|
|The Hockey Writers||5||31|
|The Globe and Mail||4||16|
|The Grueling Truth||8||28|
Out of the 15 sites, eight (53.33%) of them had the Capitals being a top five team at the start of the 2017-18 NHL season. In contrast, seven (46.66%) had the Golden Knights being the worst team in the league. Only three of them had Vegas not finishing as one of the four worst teams in the NHL (28th or worse).
Sources and Info:
All sources for site predictions link in the table above.
Tables made using Google Spreadsheet.