Kuznetsov's wizardry brings Capitals within 1 win of first Stanley Cup

Ross Houston
June 8, 2018

The Capitals appeared to be doing in Game 4 Monday night in Washington what they did against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference championship. John Carlson scored in the second with Michael Kempny and Brett Connolly scoring in the third. "So I think that probably had something to do with everyone having one tonight".

Washington goaltender Braden Holtby said defensemen like Orpik are usually his favorite players because of what they do in front of the net. Oshie added a pair of assists while Nicklas Backstrom had three.

If fans can't make it to an official watch party, they are encouraged to stop by Henderson Pavilion to watch the game, according to a press release, or the club's other official partners including Born and Raised, Topgolf, Nacho Daddy and Scooter's Pub. He finished with 28 saves.

Erik Haula had the puck go off his skate and hit the post just over a minute in, Smith flubbed a shot at a wide-open net, and Neal also found iron on the most egregious miss of all with Holtby down and out on a power play before the Capitals exploded.

Nate Schmidt admitted that indeed, the Golden Knights are playing a tighter box against the Capitals, "It's an acknowledgement to probably the best power play in the league the last four years, how good they've been". I shot it off the post on the far side.

The game's final minutes were chippy with several post-whistle scrums.

"To get 20 guys to play as a unit, as a team, as a family supporting each other, that to me is the story".

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said he and his Vegas teammates can't win three games in one night, so they have no choice but to focus on the next opportunity to stave off elimination.

"That's the way it gets", Ovechkin said of the rough stuff. Now, the expansion darlings are in danger of falling short of their ultimate goal unless they can put together three consecutive victories. Marchessault has had an outstanding playoff run and if the Golden Knights can take back the series lead the responsibility will certainly fall on Marchessault and their first line.

"We've lost games before, we've lost games in the playoffs and we've bounced back", Reaves said. The numbers tell the tale of a close series, with Vegas controlling 53.22 per cent of the overall shot attempts at 5-on-5 and 50.39 per cent of the total scoring chances. "The Knights, in my mind, really put the exclamation point that we're the sports capital of the world, not only what they've done on the ice in this historic season but how they brought the community together". "That's big thing for us".

Meanwhile, the Caps were held without a lot of high-danger chances, but they made the most of what they got. Presented with a power play in a scoreless first period, Vegas worked the puck around smartly in the Washington zone. In their lone regular-season meeting in Washington on February 4, the Golden Knights won 4-3.

The Capitals set a tone by blocking an eye-popping 15 shots in the first period alone, and 13 different players contributed at least one during the game.

"There was nothing that he could have done", Gallant said.

But that first chance was a major blown opportunity for Vegas, especially because it cost them an opportunity to seize early momentum and get a little confidence back after two straight losses. "We played a lot of the game the way we wanted to play it". The Stanley Cup has made the journey to the Russian capital at least three more times since - including as recently as past year, when Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins brought it to Moscow's hockey museum.

Is the difference that Vegas is a well-balanced skilled team, but Washington is a well-balanced skilled team that has the added element of stars such Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Carlson?

Vegas' road record in the playoffs fell to 6-4.

There are only four British Columbians remaining on team rosters in the Stanley Cup final.

There is plenty of blame to pass around for the Golden Knights as they face a 3-1 series deficit that no team since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs has overcome in the final.

Other reports by iNewsToday