Photo Courtesy of the NHL

How times have changed!

In the Washington Capitals inaugural season (1974-75), they won only eight games (8-67-5).

In the Vegas Golden Knights inaugural season, they won 12 games … in the postseason.

Because the Capitals have more stars, have been through the grind of the Eastern Conference (19 games) and surely are due, many hockey fans have jumped on their bandwagon and believe they will win the Stanley Cup.

In reality, all they have to do is beat an expansion team.

Based on record, the Golden Knights should be favoured, which in some circles they are.

They have home-ice advantage because their regular season 51-24-7 record (109 points) was better than the Capitals 49-26-7 mark (105 points).

Vegas also has a better record in the post-season (12-3 compared to Washington’s 12-7).

Although Braden Holtby of the Capitals has a shutout streak going of 159 minutes and 27 seconds, which is a stretch of nearly eight periods, his playoff numbers are not nearly as impressive as Marc-Andre Fleury of the Golden Knights.

The 33-year-old Fleury has a 1.68 goals-against-average (GAA) and an astounding save-percentage (SV%) of .947, while the 28-year-old Holtby sits with a 2.16 GAA and a .919 SV%.

So Vegas has the better record, better goalie, and home-ice advantage, but is that enough for the Golden Knights to win one more round in their storybook season?

Nobody has been able to get a firm grip on why Vegas has enjoyed so much success, because we have been waiting for them to come back to reality and tumble.

Beating Los Angeles in four straight, San Jose in six, and Winnipeg in five still isn’t enough for some of the skeptics.

While the Golden Knights have to be applauded for unprecedented first-year success, what does it say for most of the other NHL franchises?

A Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup in 25 years, and here are the “Johnny-come-lately Golden Knights,” just four wins shy of hoisting the Mug.

The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t even made the playoffs in nine seasons.

It’s been seven seasons without a post-season berth for the Buffalo Sabres, while the Arizona Coyotes haven’t been to the party in six seasons.

The Vancouver Canucks have been painful to watch for the last three years, with no playoff appearance.

These teams’ incompetence is magnified when Vegas can just stroll in from the strip and become Western Conference champions in its first year.

If the Capitals actually beat the Golden Knights, this means not only does Alex Ovechkin get his first Cup in 13 years, but Brett Connolly, in his fourth full NHL season, would celebrate as well.

Would the 26-year-old Connolly bring the Cup to Campbell River where he was born, and/or to Prince George where he excelled in minor hockey, the Cariboo Cougars, and the PG Cougars?

Connolly only played nine-and-a-half minutes in the Caps 4-0 victory in Tampa in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final, however, he was given a more prominent role earlier in the series.

When Nicklas Backstrom was sidelined with a hand injury, Connolly got power-play time and contributed a point in each of the first three games against the Lightning.

In 19 playoff games this year, he has six points (4G, 2A), which is quite a difference from last year when he was mostly a healthy scratch in the post-season.

So, fans have a clear choice and can cheer for Ovechkin and Connolly or for first-year history and the Golden Knights.

Bookies in Vegas may have given 1000-1 odds in May of 2017 that we would be seeing this Stanley Cup Final match-up in 2018.

So … who am I picking to win?

Washington (of course) in six games!!!

After all, the Golden Knights are too good to be true … aren’t they?



(All start times 5PM PT)

GAME ONE = Monday, May 28th in Las Vegas
GAME TWO = Wednesday, May 30th in Las Vegas
GAME THREE = Saturday, June 2nd in Washington, D.C.
GAME FOUR = Monday, June 4th in Washington, D.C.
**GAME FIVE = Thursday, June 7th in Las Vegas
**GAME SIX = Sunday, June 10th in Washington, D.C.
**GAME SEVEN = Wednesday, June 13th in Las Vegas




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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on
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