All roads on the Wild Ride lead to Stanley Cup
May 23, 2018 11:14 AM
by Alan Berg
If they ever make a Disneyland Vegas, the first attraction should be called Mr. Fleury’s Wild Ride.
As pointed out last week, I thought the Jets team was too talented from top to bottom for the Golden Knights’ magical run to continue, but the one road to victory was on the shoulders of star Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Congrats, Flower. That performance might have just won the Vegas Golden Knights the Stanley Cup. While they will be going up against either the Tampa Bay Lightning as likely a small series price underdog (+105 to +110) or the Washington Capitals as a small favorite (-115 to -120), the Knights are playing their best hockey at the right time.
To Vegas’ team, the darlings of the NHL, cheers to winning the Western Conference and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl in the very first year of existence! But Knights, don’t rest just yet. Vegas says, “WE WANT THE CUP!!!”
For me, the Lightning in the end will win this series whether it already happened or will in Game 7. Washington got off to the perfect start with two wins on the road, but has lost three straight games. That’s a tough mental wall to get over and my two cents says the Lightning win Game 6.
Vegas and Tampa faced off twice with the Golden Knights taking both games, 4-3 at Vegas Dec. 19 and a 4-1 road win at Tampa on Jan. 18. The Lightning had more points during the regular season and will have home ice advantage. With all of the playoff wins, the regular season is irrelevant at this point. Tampa succeeds through their offense, No. 1 in the NHL in goals and a Top 5 power play unit. They get in trouble on the defensive end, which is where Vegas will likely strike, as they have a much better defense plus a three-time Stanley Cup Champion Goalie. My guess would be Vegas hoisting the trophy in six in front of a raucous T-Mobile Arena.
What a story if the Caps, take a 2-0 lead, fall behind 3-2 only to hold serve at home and win Game 7 on the road against the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
Like the Lightning, Vegas swept Washington, 3-0 at T-Mobile on Dec. 23 and 4-3 at DC on Feb. 4. If the Caps do indeed come back they would be the story of the postseason if not for the insanity of the Vegas run to the Stanley Cup Final. The Caps didn’t even make a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals until this season and they finally beat Crosby and the Pens after seven straight playoff series losses.
Washington’s run was amazing but might match up even worse the way Fleury is playing. He’s so relaxed and with all the experience we see a Vegas Cup win in five.