Here’s how the Washington Capitals can do it again.
The Washington Capitals are in the middle of training camp gearing up for the grind ahead. We believe they can win the Cup again just like they did two years ago and that even without fans it’ll still be memorable. At least the first championship featured a ton of Caps fans in Vegas and tons more inside and outside Capital One Arena.
The Caps will begin things with an exhibition against an old playoff foe from last year, the Carolina Hurricanes. Maybe they’ll meet again in the playoffs unless the New York Rangers upset them.
Then things continue into high gear with a three game Round Robin. First the Caps will see the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then they’ll take on the Philadelphia Flyers before finishing up against the Boston Bruins. We predicted in our bold predictions that they would go 2-1 in those three games locking up the second seed for tournament play.
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One thing to keep an eye on is the goaltending. It looked initially like Ilya Samsonov would start in one of the Round Robin games while Braden Holtby gets two but Samsonov has not been on the ice at all during training camp including as recently as Monday’s session. One has to wonder whether that means Holtby could be getting all three starts. Or maybe Vitek Vanecek or Pheonix Copley get a look.
The Caps will take on the New York Islanders and Barry Trotz, the number seven seed in the first round. The Caps will come out on top in six games setting up a second round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins will have gone through the Montreal Canadiens in the Qualifying Round and the Tampa Bay Lightning up to that point. The Caps will beat the Penguins in seven games with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin connecting for the game-winning goal.
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Meanwhile the Caps opponent in the Eastern Conference Final will be none other than the Flyers. It will be a tough, grind it out, seven game series. The Flyers came into the pause red hot and they had a 3-2 series lead on the Caps before the team rallied to win Games 6 and 7.
After that the Caps will likely face the Colorado Avalanche in the Finals. That will see the Caps come out on top in six games with Ovechkin adding another Conn Smythe Trophy. That is our prediction going into the playoffs.