The 2018 Stanley Cup Final is a matchup for the record books.
Washington won the Eastern Conference with victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 to earn a showdown with Las Vegas, with the Golden Knights having eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in four games and closed out the Western Conference.
For the first time since 2007, both teams will be fighting for their first championship. The Capitals will make a run at bringing Lord Stanley home after being swept by the Red Wings in their lone Final appearance in 1998, while the Golden Knights will look to make history as the first NHL expansion team to win the title in their inaugural season.
Here are three storylines to watch as the Golden Knights go up against the Capitals:
McPhee had previously served as Capitals general manager from 1997 to 2014, winning seven division titles and finishing with 40 wins or more in eight seasons while making 10 postseason appearances. He is also responsible for drafting franchise cornerstones Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby.
Now the first GM for the Golden Knights, McPhee was immediately successful in picking up Marc-Andre Fleury after he was left unprotected by the Pittsburgh Penguins following the emergence of Matt Murray. McPhee is additionally credited with making a number of pre-arranged deals in the expansion draft that helped Las Vegas and allowed him to create a championship-challenging team in a hurry.
THE STANLEY CUP FINAL— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 28, 2018
Fleury and Holtby share a history that dates back to 2010 when the latter made his debut with the Capitals, further igniting a long-standing rivalry with Fleury and the Penguins. Despite the boiling bad blood between Washington and Pittsburgh, last year was the only postseason in which Fleury and Holtby went head-to-head.
In his first season in Las Vegas, Fleury went 29-13 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .927 save percentage during the regular season, while he also dealt with a head injury. The top pick in the 2003 draft and a three-time Stanley Cup champion, Fleury leads the league with a 1.68 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in the playoffs.
Holtby, the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goaltender, served as the backup for the first two games of the postseason before working his way into the starting role. He put on the worst statistical performance of his career during the regular season, as his .907 save percentage was the lowest in his eight years in the league. However, he is 12-6 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in the playoffs.
For the first time in his NHL career, Ovechkin made it out of the second round of the playoffs. However, can he finish what he started by winning the one trophy missing from his impressive collection?
Since making his NHL debut in 2005, Ovechkin has scored 607 goals and logged 1,122 points in 1,003 career games. However, the 32-year-old's decorated NHL stint is overshadowed by his inability to capitalise in big-game scenarios. He played in the 11th Game 7 of his playoff career last week, but appears ready to shake off the stigma attached with previous failures, especially after defying superstition and touching the Prince of Wales Trophy after the triumph over the Lightning.
|Chicago Blackhawks fire Quenneville|
|Kings fire coach Stevens and assistant Nachbaur|
|Canadiens set NHL record in win over Capitals, score two goals in two seconds|
|Golden Knights sign RW Tuch to seven-year extension|
|Predators forward Watson´s suspension reduced to 18 games|
|2018-19 NHL preview: Three storylines to follow this season|
|Ducks veteran Perry out for five months with knee injury|
|Coyotes forward Galchenyuk expected to miss opener|
|Red Wings´ Green battling ´virus that attacked his liver´|
|Senators captain Karlsson dealt to Sharks|
|Predators forward Watson suspended for 27 games|
|Predators sign Ryan Ellis to eight-year, $50M contract|
|Ovechkin, Kim earn major honours at ESPY Awards|
|Former NHL goalie Ray Emery found dead|
|Kings, Doughty agree to eight-year extension|
|Avalanche sign Grubauer to three-year extension|
|Trotz named Islanders´ new coach|
|Trotz resigns as Capitals coach after Stanley Cup win|
|Canadiens acquire Domi from Coyotes for Galchenyuk|
|Capitals´ Orpik lost part of finger in Stanley Cup Final, kept playing|
|Capitals go crazy at Stanley Cup parade|
|Stanley Cup champion Ovechkin says ´Get some beers!´|
|Ovechkin wins Conn Smythe Trophy after Stanley Cup triumph|
|Washington Capitals claim first NHL Stanley Cup title|
|Ovechkin sets Capitals postseason record, matches Crosby total|
|Capitals thrash Golden Knights to move one win away from Stanley Cup title|
|Capitals take 2-1 lead over Knights in Stanley Cup Final|
|Capitals level Stanley Cup Final against Golden Knights|
|Golden Knights edge Capitals in game-one thriller|
|Stanley Cup Final 2018: Golden Knights-Capitals storylines to watch|
|Ovechkin leads Capitals into Stanley Cup Finals|
|Golden Knights GM on Stanley Cup Finals berth: I don´t know how we did it|
|Sweden win shoot-out to retain world title|
|Kuznetsov sets Capitals´ playoff points record|
|Sweden batter USA, Swiss roll on to gold medal match|
|Canada see off Russia as Sweden squeeze past plucky Latvia|
|Jagr to play 30th hockey season in Czech Republic|
|Finland thrash USA to top group, hosts Denmark crash out|
|McDavid OT winner sends Canada into quarters|
|Germany out despite Finland win|
|Sweden and Russia survive Group A scares|
|South Korea stun United States with early goal... end up losing 13-1|
|McDavid inspires Canada drubbing of Norway, Czechs beat Russia|
|Germany off the mark, Finland finally lose|
|Finland thrash Norway as Slovakia secure crucial win|
|Olympic champions Russia thrash Belarus|
|Golden Knights extend remarkable expansion season into conference finals|
|Champions Sweden stay perfect, Russia win big again|
|USA two from two, Finland start in style|
|Champions Sweden up and running, USA win shoot-out thriller|
|Penguins´ Guentzel joins exclusive clubs|
|Sabres get top pick for 2018 NHL Draft|
|NHL denies asking Brad Marchand to stop licking other players|
|Crosby logs 61st career multi-point playoff game|
|Flyers´ Couturier played with torn MCL|
|Golden Knights become first expansion team to sweep series|
|Flyers´ Couturier goes down at practice after ugly collision|
|Wild´s Parise week to week with fractured sternum|
|Flames clean house by firing coach Gulutzan, assistants|
|Capitals´ Burakovsky hurt, linesman suffers knee injury|
|Snowstorm hampering MLB, NHL plans in Minneapolis|
|Stars coach Ken Hitchcock retires after 22 NHL seasons|
|Golden Knights beat Kings for first postseason win in franchise history|
|Fourteen killed in crash involving Canadian junior ice hockey team|
|Predators secure first Presidents´ Trophy in franchise history|
|Wild lose All-Star Suter for season with fractured ankle|
|Accountant by day, goalie by night – Foster steals show in emergency debut for Blackhawks|
|Rangers assistant Ruff suffers concussion after run-in with puck|
|Blackhawks sign Sikura to two-year deal|
|Kings´ Kopitar tallies first four-goal game|