Las Vegas goes #nocaps before Cup Final

Stephen R. Sylvanie  USA Today Sports
Golden Knights goaltender Marc Andre Fleury is back in the Stanley Cup Finals but this time in a Vegas uniform

Paul Devorski skated in seven Stanley Cup Finals and refereed Olympic hockey on two different continents.

McPhee's best expansion draft pick this year was former Pittsburgh Penguins All-Star netminder and three-time Stanley Cup victor Marc Andre-Fleury. "So in addition to the rules being more favorable, there were teams that were looking to get out of certain deals, and we could get better players or better draft picks if we could play ball with them".

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights face off against the perennially underachieving Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the National Hockey League final Monday night.

The Golden Knights have worn down teams with their speed, quick passing, and tenacity, but the Capitals play with a physical edge - especially winger Tom Wilson - that might throw Vegas off its game. Whether or not Vegas actually do win the Stanley Cup, overlooking Fleury's performance would be criminal.

In 2016, Sportsnet's Gare Joyce chronicled the team's journey from a glimmer in Bill Foley's eye to an National Hockey League contender. That means a home team that emerges victorious from Game 1 has won the Stanley Cup 84.2 percent of the time.

Get pucks past Marc-Andre Fleury, who's been nearly unbeatable.

And one thing the Capitals may be able to take advantage of is the historical tendency for first-time Cup contenders to have some early series jitters.

The countdown to the Stanley Cup Final is on as fans try to capture some of the Vegas Golden Nights momentum.

Washington has been chasing glory for 42 seasons, and this is only their second Final appearance. Capitals fans screamed out "red!" and "oh!" as is tradition at their home games. After falling to Fleury's champion Penguins in the past two postseasons, the Caps revamped their roster with youth and finally overcame years of playoff disappointment to reach their first Final in two decades. There's never been a championship game in major professional sports in which one general manager had more to do with the construction of both participants. The over-under for total number of goals scored in game one tonight is 5.5. Washington averaged 3.12 goals in the regular season and 3.47 in the playoffs, while Vegas averaged 3.27 in the regular season and 2.87 in the playoffs.

In fact, the expansion Capitals gave up 265 more goals than they scored.

In fact, the opening game of the final series of the season has only headed to extra time on 15 occasions.

"First time we played them we were on the back-to-back right before Christmas, we were only here for 19 hours with the turnover from Phoenix", said goalie Braden Holtby. But the Golden Knights, led by Marc-Andre Fleury in the net and Jonathan Marchessault offensively this postseason, took down the Kings, Sharks and Jets to put themselves in position to do what no one thought possible at the beginning of the season. But Fleury also has brought a set of intangibles that may help explain the inexplicable run by the Golden Knights, who decided before the season not to name a captain.

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