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Stanley Cup odds: Vegas Golden Knights vs Washington Capitals preview

There will be a new winner of the Stanley Cup this season as the Washington Capitals take on surprise package the Vegas Golden Knights in the finals.

Vegas remain on course for a fairytale end to their inaugural season, having taken the sporting world by surprise with their rapid progress.

After last June's expansion draft, where they picked a player from each team, many experts predicted them to struggle.

With teams able to protect their best players for the draft, the Vegas roster appeared to lack superstars, but the likes of William Karlsson have reached new heights.

The centre has six goals in 15 play-off games, after putting up 43 in 82 during the regular season. Prior to this campaign, the 25-year-old had scored 18 times in 183 NHL games.

His scoring and the goaltending of three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury have propelled Vegas' run.

They swept the Anaheim Ducks in the first round, then saw off the San Jose Sharks in six games and the fancied Winnipeg Jets in five.

They are just the third team to reach the finals in their first season, after the Toronto Arenas (1918) and the St Louis Blues (1968), but standing in their way of glory is a franchise desperate for an overdue cup success.

The Capitals' only finals appearance was in 1998, despite topping the regular-season standings in two of the last three years.

Washington had not passed the second round of the play-offs this millennium, while the Pittsburgh Penguins had beaten them at that stage in the last two years.

They got revenge on Pittsburgh in this year's second round, before overcoming the top seed Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference final.

The Capitals will hope their history of play-off heartache is over, but their final hurdle is a team who have never lost a series in the post-season.

Vegas' key players: Marc-Andre Fleury, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault

Washington's key players: Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Braden Holtby

Stuart Walker
@BetStars in Ice Hockey