2018 Stanley Cup Goes to Washington Capitals: Vegas Golden Knights Fall Short in Last Game of Legendary Finals

Posted on: June 8, 2018, 08:43h. 

Last updated on: June 8, 2018, 09:15h.

The coveted 2018 Stanley Cup belongs to the Washington Capitals, after a gripping last game Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It was the first time in the Caps’ 44-year franchise history to take home the Cup, and it wrapped up a historic and ever-surprising NHL hockey season that had more ups and downs than Wall Street.

Stanley Cup goes to Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin lifts the Stanley Cup for the first time in his Hall of Fame Career. (Source: WXFL)

Vegas Golden Knights fans — and their betting backers — had their hearts and their bankrolls broken, as their improbable and incredible championship run fell painfully short at the end.

The Washington Capitals’ win was fueled by a furious third-period comeback over an expansion Knights team that wasn’t ever supposed to be there. The Caps closed out the series in five games with a thrilling 4-3 win to give them the team its first Stanley Cup in the 44-year history of the franchise.

The Knights were left wondering what could have been after blowing a late-game lead. Up 3-2 with 10 minutes left, they were poised to stay alive and send the series back to Washington, DC for a Game 6. But two uncharacteristic giveaways in their own end led to two quick Capital goals, ending a run that nobody saw coming.

The bright side? Vegas is as good of a bet as any team to lift the Stanley Cup next year. But that was little consolation to Knights fans, who rallied behind the team that gave Las Vegas a much-needed boost after the horrors of the Oct.1 2017 mass shooting in front of Mandalay Bay that left 58 dead and more than 500 wounded.

From Underdog to Favorite

Depending on which sports book you looked at, the Vegas Golden Knights were paying anywhere from 250/1 to 500/1 to win the Cup heading into their first NHL season. But by the time the puck dropped on the Stanley Cup Finals, they were the betting favorites, with The Westgate installing them as a huge 5/8 favorite over the Capitals.

The Knights may not have finished the job, but by coming so close, they accomplished more in one year than it takes some franchises decades to achieve.

Vegas definitely won’t be catching anyone by surprise next year. The Westgate Superbook has already released the odds to win the 2019 Stanley Cup, and the Knights are underdogs no more.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the early betting favorites to win it all next season, but the Knights are among a group of teams with the second-best odds.

In a bit of a dis, they’re even favored over the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals:

  • Tampa Bay Lightning – 8/1
  • Vegas Golden Knights – 10/1
  • Nashville Predators – 10/1
  • Pittsburgh Penguins – 10/1
  • Winnipeg Jets – 10/1
  • Boston Bruins – 10/1
  • Toronto Maple Leafs – 10/1
  • Washington Capitals – 14/1

Stop Loss for Bookmakers

Vegas bookmakers — many of whom admitted they were rooting for the hometown team, even if it meant heavy losses – are breathing a sigh of relief today.

With the Capitals victory, sports books avoided having to pay out on the 500-to-1 long-shot tickets that were printed out when nobody was giving the Knights a chance. Fans of the team pressed the betting during the Knights two-month playoff run, and by most estimates, Vegas books stood to lose between $5 million and $10 million if the Knights had won the Stanley Cup.

One bookmaker at the MGM claimed that the Knights were the biggest single liability for the books that he’d ever seen.

It’s a bullet dodged for the books, and a dream dashed for the Knights and their fans. But there’s always next year.