Capitals ready for 'wild' atmosphere against Golden Knights in Game 3

Dean Simpson
June 2, 2018

"Once he made that save, I knew we were gonna win the game", added Washington coach Barry Trotz.

Alex Ovechkin predicted Evgeny Kuznetsov would be fine after taking a big hit in the Capitals' 3-2 road victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final. Jonathan Marchessault doesn't have the puck, he's in front of Wilson and Wilson is behind him, all boxes checked.

The persistent Knights earned a power play and cut the Caps' lead to 3-2 late in the second on Theodore's shot through traffic. After around 42 minutes of unbelievable hockey, two plays would turn this game from instant classic to NHL typical.

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

The phrase suited the mayhem of the first three rounds, when the Golden Knights stampeded through the Western Conference bracket, clobbering two inferior teams in San Jose and Los Angeles and a third, Winnipeg, which was exhausted from a bruising seven-game series against Nashville.

Alex Ovechkin got his first Stanley Cup Final goal with a second period power-play strike.

Ovechkin was a bit quiet in Game 1 compared to some of his other performances this spring, but showed up in all his GIF-worthy glory Wednesday night to help the Capitals even up the series 1-1.

The goal was the fifth of the postseason for Neal, the gifted scorer left unprotected in last summer's expansion draft after reaching the Final with Nashville.

He says fans can thank goaltender Marc-André Fleury for the team's success.

Holtby, who made 37 saves in the win, wasn't as overwhelmed by the play, which went viral quickly. The others were Game 2 of the 1936 quarterfinals (Chicago 5, NY Americans 4) and Game 2 of the 1992 Smythe Division semifinals (Los Angeles 8, Edmonton 5).

It was only the Golden Knights' second home loss of the season. William Hill will pay one bettor $50,000 for a 50-1 ticket from October, when the Golden Knights started the season winning eight of their first nine games. Melrose said Game 1 had plenty of mistakes, but it was entertaining, and it stood out for the Golden Knights' speed and for their penalty kill.

Both coaches used the Vegas ice quality to emphasize points in their game plan that would probably be important on any surface.

The importance of the Stanley Cup Final assures Kuznetsov will do everything possible to play, even if he has to be limited to special situations at less than full strength.

He said the excitement around the Golden Knights is palpable in Vegas. He's the Capitals' No. 1 center. But he returned to action in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and he's now on a four-game point streak of his own with 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 17 playoff games thus far. That's the type of save the Capitals need in order to win a first-ever Stanley Cup.

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