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Stanley Cup Final staff predictions

NHL.com experts split between Golden Knights, Capitals

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The NHL.com experts have made their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final and they are split on who will win it all.

Of the 14 staff writers and editors who have made their picks during the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, seven say the Vegas Golden Knights will win the Cup and the other seven picked the Washington Capitals.

Two of the experts to pick the Capitals are staff writer Tom Gulitti and senior fantasy editor Pete Jensen, the only two who picked the Capitals to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.

In fact, Gulitti and Jensen each picked the Capitals and Golden Knights to win their conference final rounds and are 12-2 entering the final round. The other 12 experts each went 0-2 in the conference final round.

Here are NHL.com staff picks for the Stanley Cup Final:

 

Amalie Benjamin, NHL.com Staff Writer

Conference final record: 0-2

Overall record: 8-6

PICK: Capitals in 6

WHY: Alex Ovechkin has been waiting for this for a long time. The Golden Knights didn't exist last season. Ovechkin prevails.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

 

Tim Campbell, NHL.com Staff Writer

Conference final record: 0-2

Overall record: 8-6

PICK: Golden Knights in 5

WHY: Goaltending and quickness are going to matter in the Final, and there has been no evidence in these playoffs that any team is better at those than the Golden Knights.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Brian Compton, NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 8-6

PICK: Capitals in 6

WHY: Yes, the Golden Knights are on one of the more improbable runs in the history of sports, but Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin looks like a man on a mission right now, evidenced further by his goal 1:02 into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Lightning. Combine that with the play of Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, who hasn't allowed a goal since Game 5 of the conference final, and you get the end of Vegas' incredible journey.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

 

Nick Cotsonika, NHL.com Columnist

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 9-5

PICK: Golden Knights in 6

WHY: This crazy story has to end with Nate Schmidt scoring the winner against his former team and the Stanley Cup champs parading down the Strip.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Lisa Dillman, NHL.com Staff Writer

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 8-6

PICK: Golden Knights in 6

WHY: Get ready for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to finish off what has been a fairytale run for the Golden Knights.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Tom Gulitti, NHL.com Staff Writer

Conference finals record: 2-0

Overall record: 12-2

PICK: Capitals in 6

WHY: I learned during the regular season not to pick against the Golden Knights, but they are facing another team of destiny in the Capitals, who have put their past playoff disappointments behind them to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in their history and first time since 1998.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

 

Pete Jensen, NHL.com Fantasy Editor

Conference finals record: 2-0

Overall record: 12-2

PICK: Capitals in 6

WHY: Two strong even-strength teams collide in the Capitals and Golden Knights, but Washington has the more-explosive power play and will win the Stanley Cup for the first time. The Capitals, who have paid their dues over the years and battled adversity this postseason, will outlast the expansion team that has only trailed once in a series all playoffs. Braden Holtby will finally get the best of Marc-Andre Fleury.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

 

Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com Staff Writer

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 5-9

PICK: Capitals in 6

WHY: Alex Ovechkin has been a true leader and dominant offensive force in the playoffs, and goalie Braden Holtby has re-established himself as one of best at his position at a crucial point in the season. Ovechkin has learned enough lessons and now's the time to be a difference maker in the most important playoff series of his NHL career against the hottest team in hockey.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

 

Tracey Myers, NHL.com Staff Writer

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 9-5

PICK: Golden Knights in 7

WHY: Vegas has been proving everyone wrong since the start of the season, so it's only fitting that this improbable story ends with the Stanley Cup.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Bill Price, NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 8-6

PICK: Golden Knights in 6

WHY: The Golden Knights have rolled through the first three rounds of the playoffs, going 12-3 against the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets. They are rested, determined and have the hottest goalie on the planet on their side. Alex Ovechkin leading the Capitals to the Final has been the second-best story this postseason behind Vegas, which will finish its incredible inaugural season by winning the Stanley Cup.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Shawn Roarke, NHL.com Director of Editorial

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 5-9

PICK: Golden Knights in 7

WHY: I've been wrong about the Golden Knights for each of the first three rounds. This team is bigger than its parts and will cap a fantastic, once-in-a lifetime season with a winner-take-all victory before its home fans at T-Mobile Arena.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Dan Rosen, NHL.com Senior Writer

Second-round record: 0-2

Overall record: 6-8

PICK: Capitals in 7

WHY: Alex Ovechkin will finally get the job done, scoring big goals and laying big hits along the way, and Braden Holtby will put in a few sterling performances to clinch it for the Capitals.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

 

Dave Stubbs, NHL.com Columnist

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 8-6

PICK: Golden Knights in 6

WHY: Finally, the Golden Knights in a Stanley Cup Final! Sorry, Ovi, but the unimaginably compelling script that's been written game after game by this team deserves a Hollywood ending. Karma might not officially be on the Vegas roster, but he's been the seventh man since last October. Here's hoping someone hands him the Stanley Cup for a victory lap.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

 

Mike Zeisberger, NHL.com Staff Writer

Conference finals record: 0-2

Overall record: 8-6

PICK: Capitals in 6

WHY: Ovechkin finally gets over the one hurdle he could never conquer: winning the Stanley Cup. The one wart on his legacy will thus be forever removed.

CONN SMYTHE WINNER: Braden Holtby, Capitals

***

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