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Key matchups for the Stanley Cup Final

Reilly Smith and Brayden McNabb will be key matchup players in the Stanley Cup Final. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

One key matchup could make the difference in a tightly matched Stanley Cup Final between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals. Each team seeks to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, though the Capitals had a 42-season head start.

For Vegas, top defensive players like Brayden McNabb will have to find a way to shut down the postseason's top scorers, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals' shutdown defenseman Matt Niskanen and top two-way forwards Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie will try to contend with Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, James Neal and other key members of the Golden Knights.

Who will prevail? Let's shed some light on this question by looking at the underlying numbers behind five pivotal matchups.


Alex Ovechkin vs. Reilly Smith