Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights TV, Game 1 Live Stream
By the time the 2018 Stanley Cup Final concludes, there will be a first-time owner of hockey’s prestigious trophy.
The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights begin the championship series on Monday at T-Mobile Arena following an extended layoff for both sides.
Vegas continued its incredible run as an expansion franchise by eliminating the Winnipeg Jets on May 20, while the Capitals finished off the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
If the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup, it would mark the end of an improbable championship run as a first-year professional team.
A Washington victory would break a string of bad luck not only experienced by the Capitals, but by all of the teams in the city.
Game 1 Information
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live and NBC Sports
Vegas GM McPhee Facing Off Against Team He Built
One of the most fascinating stories leading into the Stanley Cup Final is the success Vegas general manager George McPhee experienced with both teams.
McPhee built the Golden Knights into the monster they are by manipulating the expansion draft to his team’s advantage and building a squad full of veterans hungry to prove their worth in the NHL.
The successful strategy differs from the organic build from within that the GM used when he was in Washington.
Starting with Alexander Ovechkin in 2004, McPhee drafted 12 players who made a postseason appearance for the Capitals in 2018, per Sportsnet Stats:
In addition to Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Braden Holtby and Evgeny Kuznetsov are key contributors to Washington’s postseason run who were selected by McPhee.
As you would imagine, McPhee’s situation is unique, as he’s the first general manager in the expansion era, and second in league history, to face his former team in the Stanley Cup Final, per NHL PR:
It’s certainly an interesting situation, but McPhee’s loyalties stand with Vegas now, and although he would be proud to see some of his former draft picks in Washington win, he would be happier if the franchise he built from nothing wins the championship in its first year of existence.
Fleury’s past is well-documented, as he won three titles with the Pittsburgh Penguins before he was left unprotected in the expansion draft.
Pittsburgh’s loss turned into Vegas’ gain, as Fleury was phenomenal in between the pipes for the Golden Knights in the first three rounds of the postseason.
Orpik was a part of the first Pittsburgh team in the Sidney Crosby era to win the Stanley Cup, and he was teammates with Fleury in 2009.
Outside of the one past champion on each side, there’s little Stanley Cup final experience, which could make for an electric seven-game series, as the hungry collection of players go all out to achieve hockey’s top honor.
Washington left-winger Ovechkin is the most talented player on the two rosters, and he is arguably the hungriest, as he searches for the elusive trophy he’s wanted since joining the NHL in 2004.
While it might not show on the ice, expect Fleury and Orpik to provide their respective sides with an extra dose of experience, as they help them push through whatever difficulties the pressure-packed series throws at them.