The battle for the Prince of Wales Trophy is at stake as the Tampa Bay Lightning takes on the Washington Capitals.
Alex Ovechkin’s series-winning goal over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals helped the Capitals make it to the conference finals for the first time since the 1997-98 season. He’s teamed with all-star goaltender Braden Holtby.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are back in the conference finals after missing the playoffs last season. Led by leading scorer Nikita Kucherov and captain Steven Stamkos, the Lightning led the league in scoring during the regular season.
Now, we know our sports, but hockey is the game of choice for Sports Spectrum’s graphic designer, Aaron Sauer. So we brought him along to join us for our predictions of who will make it to the Stanley Cup Finals:
Jason Romano – Capitals in 6: It’s Ovi’s time. DC gets a chance to play for a championship for the first time in forever.
Justin Adams – Capitals in 7: It’s easy to point out how this series will ride on the play of Alex Oveckin, but it’ll be about the health of Nicklas Backstrom and the play of Braden Holtby in net. If both play at a high level, then Washington will be at the doorstep for the Stanley Cup.
Jon Ackerman – Capitals in 6: The Caps finally reached the Eastern Finals (first time in 20 years), and the legendary Alex Ovechkin won’t let his team stop there.
Aaron Sauer (Hockey Guy) – Lightning in 7: Tampa Bay is the heavy favorite and will take the lead early in the series. With their backs against the wall, the Caps will even the series at 2 and even take Game 5 on the road. But, the Lightning will win the last two games, including a classic in Game 7 in front of the home crowd, and go back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2014. With the Capitals failing to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in Oveckin’s tenure, Barry Trotz and his coaching staff will be out of our nation’s capital.
Series Schedule (All times in Eastern Standard Time)
Friday, May 11, 8 p.m.: Capitals @ Lightning (NBCSN)
Sunday, May 13, 8 p.m.: Capitals @ Lightning (NBCSN)
Tuesday, May 15, 8 p.m.: Lightning @ Capitals (NBCSN)
Thursday, May 17, 8 p.m.: Lightning @ Capitals (NBCSN)
*Saturday, May 19, 7:15 p.m.: Capitals @ Lightning (NBC)
*Monday, May 21, 8 p.m.: Lightning @ Capitals (NBCSN)
*Wednesday, May 23, 8 p.m.: Capitals @ Lightning (NBCSN)
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