Meet The Swedes Playing In The Stanley Cup FinalMay 29, 2018
The Stanley Cup Final is underway, with both the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights in search of their first championship. (Washington is in its second Final, the last coming 20 years ago, and Vegas amazingly reached the Final in its first year as a franchise.)
Both teams also feature Swedes. Here are a few of the guys who could make an impact on which team takes home the title.
William Karlsson – Vegas Center
Karlsson ranked third in the league in goals during the regular season with 43, and he scored in Game 1 against the Caps. A finalist for the Lady Byng, which goes to the NHL’s most gentlemanly player, “Wild Bill” arguably has been the biggest key to the Golden Knights’ success, a big surprise since he entered the season with 18 career goals in four seasons. ESPN.com took a look at Karlsson’s transformation in a terrific story this week.
Nicklas Bäckström – Washington Center
As important as Karlsson is to Vegas, Bäckström is to Washington. A constant in the Caps’ lineup for 11 seasons, Bäckström scored 21 goals and assisted on 50 more in the regular season. He also scored in Game 1 against Vegas and has 18 points in the postseason despite playing through injuries. In a poll released by the NHL Players Association earlier this year, he was named the most underrated player in the league.
André Burakovsky – Washington Left Wing
We caught up with Burakovsky, born in Austria but raised in Sweden, for a story last year. Unfortunately, this year has been filled with injuries. Finally getting healthy, Burakovsky came up big in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final when he scored twice to lead the Caps to their first Stanley Cup Finals in 20 years. Burakovsky had an assist in Game 1 against Vegas.
Also keep an eye out for:
- Christian Djoos, a rookie defenseman for the Caps who logged about 10 minutes vs. Vegas in Game 1 – he had 14 points during the regular season.
- And Oscar Lindberg, a center for the Golden Knights who scored 11 points during the regular season but has appeared in only three games in the postseason.