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2018 Stanley Cup Finals

The 2018 Stanley Cup Finals is the current championship series of the National Hockey League (NHL)'s 2017–18 season and the culmination of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The series pits the Eastern Conference champion Washington Capitals against the Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights. The Vegas Golden Knights have home ice advantage in the series.

The series began on May 28, 2018 with the potential seventh game to be held on June 13, 2018.

This is the first Finals series since 2007 where neither team had previously won the Stanley Cup and the third consecutive year in which a Western Conference team made their Finals debut.

Path to the FinalsEdit

Washington CapitalsEdit

This is Washington's second Finals appearance; the Capitals were swept in four games by the Detroit Red Wings in 1998.

The Capitals did not make many off season transactions (with the exception of signing forward Devante Smith-Pelly).

Major re-signings during the off-season included forwards T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky; and goalie Philipp Grubauer. Washington then re-signed Lars Eller during the season.

The team was conservative during the trade deadline. Wanting to make a Stanley Cup run with the core players that they already had, they only acquired defensemen Michal Kempny from the Chicago Blackhawks and Jakub Jerabek from the Montreal Canadiens.

The Capitals finished the regular season with 105 points (49–26–7), winning their division.

Right winger and team captain Alexander Ovechkin was the winner of this season's Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, leading the league with 49 regular-season goals. Kuznetsov led the team in assists with 56.

In the first round of playoffs, Washington came back from a 2–0 series deficit to win four in a row to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games.

The Capitals then won a 4–2 series against their division rival and two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, whom they had lost to during the past two playoffs.

Washington then defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games, winning game seven on the road for only the second time in franchise history and first since 2012.

Vegas Golden KnightsEdit

Vegas became the first expansion team since the 1967–68 St. Louis Blues to make the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.

Entering the season, the Golden Knights were long shots to make the postseason, let alone the Final with sources like Deadspin and Newsweek predicting that they were going to be terrible.

However, the team ended up enjoying one of the strongest debut seasons for an expansion team in North American professional sports history.

Las Vegas was awarded as the NHL's 31st franchise on June 22, 2016, to begin play for the 2017–18 season.

On April 13, 2017, the team announced the hiring of their inaugural head coach, Gerard Gallant.

The team participated in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft on June 21, 2017 selecting an available player from all of the other 30 NHL teams.

Some notable selections included goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who had won three Stanley Cups as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, winger James Neal from the Nashville Predators and Jonathan Marchessault from the Florida Panthers. Fleury was left exposed by the Penguins because of the emergence of Matt Murray.

The Panthers, who had salary cap issues, traded Reilly Smith to the Golden Knights in exchange for Vegas selecting Marchessault.

The team started winning, despite Fleury being injured for most of the first months of the season. They relied on four other goaltenders while their starter was injured.

Instead of being sellers trying to unload players with one-year contracts by the trade deadline, Vegas became surprise buyers, acquiring Ryan Reaves from the Penguins and Tomas Tatar from the Detroit Red Wings.

On March 26, 2018, Vegas became the first team to make the playoffs in their inaugural season in the league since the Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers in the 1979–80 season.

Following that achievement, on March 31st, Vegas became the first modern-era expansion team from any of the four major sports and the first NHL team since the 1926–27 New York Rangers to win their division in their inaugural season (excluding the 1967–68 Philadelphia Flyers, as all teams in the West Division that year were expansion teams).

The Golden Knights ended up finishing the regular season with 109 points (51–24–7).

In the playoffs, Vegas swept the Los Angeles Kings in four games, defeated the San Jose Sharks in six games, and eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Finals in five games. This is the third straight year that a Western Conference team is making its first trip to the finals.

With Vegas' trip to the 2018 Finals, a brand-new team in the league has now reached the Stanley Cup Finals every 50 years dating back to 1918.

The Toronto Arenas reached the 1918 Stanley Cup Finals and won the Cup, but this was the first year of the new NHL (after every team except the Toronto Blueshirts left the National Hockey Association).

The St. Louis Blues reached the 1968 Stanley Cup Finals and got swept by the Montreal Canadiens, but this was a year in which six brand-new expansion teams all entered the league at the same time and were all placed in the same division and the winner of that West Division would face the winner of the East Division.

As such, 2018 was the first of these three occurences where a team in their inaugural season wasn't guaranteed a chance to reach the finals beforehand.

Game SummariesEdit

Team RostersEdit

Vegas Golden KnightsEdit

# Nat Player Position Hand Age Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
3 Canada McNabb, BraydenBrayden McNabb D L Template:Hs27 2017 Davidson, Saskatchewan first
5 Canada Engelland, DerykDeryk Engelland – A D R Template:Hs36 2017 Edmonton, Alberta first
6 Canada Miller, ColinColin Miller D R Template:Hs25 2017 Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario first
15 United States Merrill, JonJon Merrill D L Template:Hs26 2017 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma first
18 Canada Neal, JamesJames Neal – A RW L Template:Hs30 2017 Whitby, Ontario second (2017)
19 Canada Smith, ReillyReilly Smith – A RW L Template:Hs27 2017 Toronto, Ontario first
21 Canada Eakin, CodyCody Eakin C L Template:Hs27 2017 Winnipeg, Manitoba first
24 Template:Country data SWE Lindberg, OscarOscar Lindberg C L Template:Hs26 2017 Skellefteå, Sweden first
27 Canada Theodore, SheaShea Theodore D L Template:Hs22 2017 Langley, British Columbia first
28 Canada Carrier, WilliamWilliam Carrier LW L Template:Hs23 2017 LaSalle, Quebec first
29 Canada Fleury, Marc-AndreMarc-Andre Fleury G L Template:Hs33 2017 Sorel-Tracy, Quebec fifth (2008, 2009, 2016, 2017)
30 Canada Subban, MalcolmMalcolm Subban G L Template:Hs24 2017 Toronto, Ontario first
33 Canada Lagace, MaximeMaxime Lagace G L Template:Hs25 2017 Saint-Agustin, Quebec first
40 United States Carpenter, RyanRyan Carpenter C R Template:Hs27 2017 Oviedo, Florida first
41 Template:Country data FRA Bellemare, Pierre-EdouardPierre-Edouard Bellemare – A LW L Template:Hs33 2017 Le Blance-Mesnil, France first
47 Template:Country data SUI Sbisa, LucaLuca Sbisa – A D L Template:Hs28 2017 Ozieri, Italy first
56 Template:Country data FIN Haula, ErikErik Haula LW L Template:Hs27 2017 Pori, Finland first
57 Canada Perron, DavidDavid Perron – A LW R Template:Hs29 2017 Sherbrooke, Quebec first
71 Template:Country data SWE Karlsson, WilliamWilliam Karlsson C L Template:Hs25 2017 Märsta, Sweden first
75 Canada Reaves, RyanRyan Reaves RW R Template:Hs31 2018 Winnipeg, Manitoba first
81 Canada Marchessault, JonathanJonathan Marchessault C R Template:Hs27 2017 Cap-Rouge, Quebec first
88 United States Schmidt, NateNate Schmidt D L Template:Hs26 2017 St. Cloud, Minnesota first
89 United States Tuch, AlexAlex Tuch RW R Template:Hs22 2017 Syracuse, New York first
90 Template:Country data SVK Tatar, TomasTomas Tatar LW L Template:Hs27 2018 Ilava, Czechoslovakia first
92 Czech Republic Nosek, TomasTomas Nosek LW L Template:Hs25 2017 Pardubice, Czechoslovakia first

Washington CapitalsEdit

# Nat Player Position Hand Age Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
2 United States Niskanen, MattMatt Niskanen D R Template:Hs31 2014 Virginia, Minnesota first
6 Czech Republic Kempny, MichalMichal Kempny D L Template:Hs27 2018 Hodonin, Czechoslovakia first
8 Template:Country data RUS Ovechkin, AlexanderAlexander Ovechkin – C LW R Template:Hs32 2004 Moscow, Soviet Union first
9 Template:Country data RUS Orlov, DmitryDmitry Orlov D L Template:Hs26 2009 Novokuznetsk, Soviet Union first
10 Canada Connolly, BrettBrett Connolly RW R Template:Hs26 2016 Campbell River, British Columbia first
13 Czech Republic Vrana, JakubJakub Vrana LW L Template:Hs22 2014 Prague, Czech Republic first
18 Canada Stephenson, ChandlerChandler Stephenson C L Template:Hs24 2012 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan first
19 Template:Country data SWE Backstrom, NicklasNicklas Backstrom – A C L Template:Hs30 2006 Valbo, Sweden first
20 Template:Country data DEN Eller, LarsLars Eller C L Template:Hs29 2016 Rødovre, Denmark first
22 Canada Bowey, MadisonMadison Bowey D R Template:Hs23 2013 Winnipeg, Manitoba first
25 Canada Smith-Pelly, DevanteDevante Smith-Pelly LW R Template:Hs25 2017 Scarborough, Ontario first
28 Czech Republic Jerabek, JakubJakub Jerabek D L Template:Hs27 2018 Plzeň, Czechoslovakia first
29 Template:Country data SWE Djoos, ChristianChristian Djoos D L Template:Hs23 2012 Gothenburg, Sweden first
31 Template:Country data GER Grubauer, PhilippPhilipp Grubauer G L Template:Hs26 2010 Rosenheim, Germany first
39 Canada Chiasson, AlexAlex Chiasson RW R Template:Hs27 2017 Montreal, Quebec first
43 Canada Wilson, TomTom Wilson RW R Template:Hs24 2012 Toronto, Ontario first
44 United States Orpik, BrooksBrooks Orpik – A D L Template:Hs37 2014 San Francisco, California third (2008, 2009)
63 United States Gersich, ShaneShane Gersich LW L Template:Hs21 2014 Chaska, Minnesota first
65 Template:Country data SWE Burakovsky, AndreAndre Burakovsky LW L Template:Hs23 2013 Klagenfurt, Austria first
70 Canada Holtby, BradenBraden Holtby G L Template:Hs28 2008 Lloydminster, Saskatchewan first
72 United States Boyd, TravisTravis Boyd C L Template:Hs24 2011 Hopkins, Minnesota first
74 United States Carlson, JohnJohn Carlson D R Template:Hs28 2008 Natick, Massachusetts first
77 United States Oshie, T.J.T.J. Oshie RW R Template:Hs31 2015 Everett, Washington first
79 Template:Country data AUS Walker, NathanNathan Walker LW L Template:Hs24 2017 Cardiff, Wales first
83 Canada Beagle, JayJay Beagle C R Template:Hs32 2008 Calgary, Alberta first
92 Template:Country data RUS Kuznetsov, EvgenyEvgeny Kuznetsov C L Template:Hs26 2010 Chelyabinsk, Russia first

TV and RadioEdit

In Canada, the series is being broadcast by CBC Television (through "Hockey Night in Canada" as produced by Sportsnet through a brokerage agreement) in English, and TVA Sports in French.

In the United States, the Finals are split between NBC (Games 1, 4 and 5-7 if necessary) and NBCSN (Games 2 and 3).