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WASHINGTON CAPITALS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (4-1 WSH)

The game got off to a horribly slow start with neither team creating much of anything. Then a penalty by Colin Miller gave the Capitals their first real opportunity of the game. Alex Ovechkin banged one off the bar and Vegas escaped unscathed. The period ended scoreless, not the Golden Knights best though.

The 2nd was the complete opposite. Five total goals were scored in a span of 14 minutes in the period. Washington scored first and third, the Golden Knights came back to tie the game twice with goals from Nate Schmidt and David Perron. Then, a late power play goal from Reilly Smith put Vegas ahead for the first time since the 1st period of Game 2. Following the goal, a massive scrum ensued which resulted in four roughing penalties.

Vegas had a couple good chances to open the period, specifically from the second line. Tomas Tatar then took a hooking penalty which opened the door again for the Capital power play. They were unable to convert, but that didn’t stop them from pouring on the pressure and ending the Golden Knights dreams of winning the Stanley Cup in their expansion season. A pair of 3rd period goals gave the Capitals the lead, one they would hold to the finish to win the Stanley Cup.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals in Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Three wins short.
  • The first of many posts looking towards next year and how the Golden Knights can complete the final hurdle.

Three Stars
*** David Perron
** Devante Smith-Pelly
* Lars Eller

 

WASHINGTON CAPITALS 6 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (3-1 WSH)

The Golden Knights came out looking like the best team in hockey for the first 10 minutes of the game. All four lines were buzzing, they created three or four Grade A chances, but Brayden Holtby and his post kept all of them out. Then, a tripping penalty in the center of the ice on Colin Miller led to a power play goal and the ceiling caved in from there. Two more 1st period goals sent the game to intermission at 3-0 and the Golden Knights into a hole in the series they will have a very tough time climbing out of.

Another barrage of VGK chances opened the 2nd, and once again, the posts and Holtby kept them all from getting to the net. A power play the other way and the Caps take advantage again.

The Golden Knights cut it to 4-2 with a couple goals in the 3rd, but couldn’t keep the Capitals off the board. Just not Vegas’ night and not a good trip to Washington.

Now, it’s a 3-1 deficit in the series and the Golden Knights will look to become the first team since 1942 to win three straight when down 3-1 and win a series.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals in Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena.

  • The must-win Golden Knights arrived on time, created chances, but couldn’t get one to go. Then, they disappeared. Their chances in the series likely went with them.
  • The ugly numbers behind 3-1.

Three Stars
*** Brayden Holtby
** Evgeny Kuznetsov
* T.J. Oshie

Golden Knights Didn’t Solve Problems Like They Normally Do

When the Golden Knights have lost in the playoffs, and it hasn’t been often, they’ve always found a way to correct their wrongs. They’ve learned from their mistakes, fixed them, and have not fallen into the same traps that saw them on the wrong end of the scoreboard the previous game. Many times in the postseason they’ve even won games, still realized their errors, and cleaned them up the next time out.

Another new problem was Shea Theodore’s ineffectiveness. A bad time for his worst game. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tonight, they did not.

They fell into a hole, they didn’t get enough traffic in front, they didn’t forecheck as a unit, they couldn’t break through the clogged up neutral zone, and they didn’t finish the chances when they were there. Problems in Game 2 were problems in Game 3 and that is not normal for the Western Conference Champions.

They’re winning a lot of the battles, blocking a lot of the shots and we haven’t been good enough at finding a way to be successful against it. Just go home, evaluate and get better. -Cody Eakin

In addition to the “old” problems of Game 2, there were a few new ones as well.

We aren’t getting enough shots at all. It doesn’t cut it, it’s not good enough. -Alex Tuch

They’re battling hard and we weren’t. -Derk Engelland

We’re not used to seeing this with this group. It’s not just the back-to-back losses, it’s the similarities in them. Once again the Golden Knights did not play like the Golden Knights, and once again they fell victim to the same issues that hanted them in Game 2.

We gave them some chances again, we’ve got to fix it… As offensive guys, we’ve got to make plays. -David Perron

Falling behind didn’t help either.

They came out in the 1st period and set the tone real good and again we were chasing them all night. -Gerard Gallant

Game 4 is about finding a way to correct these issues. They’ve done it all year, they’ve got to do it again.

We’ve got to be better and we will be better for Game 4. -Tuch

The “must-win” Golden Knights need to show up to Capital One Arena on Monday.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (2-1 WSH)

The Capitals had a few strong chances early including one that actually got past Fleury. However, a goalie interference penalty brought the goal back and put the Golden Knights on the power play. Vegas’ best chance came when Jonathan Marchessault joined the play off a change and hit the post. The period came to a close scoreless, but it certainly was not without its chances.

The 2nd period was the one that got away from the Golden Knights. They gave up chance after chance after chance on a scramble in front of the goal and eventually Alex Ovechkin cashed in. Then another goal later in the period put the Golden Knights in a massive hole.

The Golden Knights were gifted a goal early in the 3rd to get back within one, but yet another mistake by Shea Theodore hands the Capitals the goal right back late.

Washington now leads the series 2-1 and the Golden Knights have their backs as close to the wall as they’ve ever had for Monday’s Game 4.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals in Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena.

  • A team that’s learned from and corrected mistakes all season long hasn’t in the past two games. Why?
  • Golden Knights 2nd line not getting the job done on either end.

Three Stars
*** Brayden Holtby
** Jay Beagle
* Evgeny Kuznetsov

Stanley Cup Final Game 2: Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals – Photo Gallery – May 30th, 2018

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Stagnant 3rd Period Offense (And An Amazing Save) Sends The Series Back To Washington Tied 1-1

There wasn’t enough in front of the goal either. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For five periods of hockey in the Stanley Cup Final the Golden Knights offense had been relentless. Creating turnovers in the neutral zone, wreaking havoc on the forecheck, and transitioning from defense to offense quickly. Unfortunately in the series’ sixth period, playing from behind the entire 3rd period of Game 2, none of these things were true for Vegas.

We’ve pushed in a lot of series, we’ve pushed, and pushed back hard and we’ve had success but you aren’t going to be able to do it every time. The goalie is going to make great saves, but you just have to be ready for the next game. -Nate Schmidt

The difference tonight was the push wasn’t strong enough to break through the wall the Capitals had set up through the neutral zone and into the Golden Knights attacking zone. Aside from the special teams chances, Vegas was one-and-done far too often, they had way too many failed entries, and the forecheck was not creating turnovers like it has all season long.

They were just sitting back waiting for us. We got some good chances in the 3rd period, but you’ve got to bury them. -Jonathan Marchessault

The chances were not making it to Holtby though. The Golden Knights went more than 10 minutes from 13:58 to 3:38 remaining in the 3rd period without a single shot on goal.

Washington is a stout defensive team when they have the lead because of their strong neutral zone play. They took away a lot of the Golden Knights transition game through the center of the ice forcing Vegas to either make a difficult pass or dump the puck into the zone. The Capitals were much more careful with the puck giving it away just four times in the game compared to their nine in Game 1. Also, the Golden Knights forecheck was not creating as many takeaways. They came up with just one the entire 3rd period by a forward and just three total.

We lost a 3-2 hockey game, Tuch has a wide-open net with two minutes left with a chance to tie it up. We didn’t play our best game, but we had 39 shots and we still created a lot. It’s one of those games where Holtby played real well and he was the difference in the hockey game. -Gerard Gallant

It will be interesting to see if Gallant is singing the same tune tomorrow after watching the film. Braden Holtby played well and made one of the best saves any goalie has made on a Golden Knight shot all season, but Vegas simply didn’t do enough in the 3rd period to overcome the deficit.

It’s just the way it went tonight. -Marchessault

On to DC.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (1-1)

The Golden Knights came out looking like the much faster team. They sustained a majority of the pressure for the first eight minutes if the game. That led to the first goal of the game, an incredible one from James Neal. Neal batted a puck out of the air around a defenseman and then took a perfect shot off the post and in. Washington climbed back in getting the game under control and eventually scoring 4-on-4.

A penalty-ridden 2nd period saw the Capitals score two goals to take a 3-1 lead. Vegas came up with a huge penalty kill and eventually went on a power play of their own. Shea Theodore’s wrist shot found its way through a ton of traffic and into the net to restore the Golden Knights life in the game. 3-2 heading into the 2nd intermission.

The Golden Knights drew a penalty early in the 3rd and then backed it up with another one which put them on a 5-on-3. They were unable to create much for the 1:09 of the two man advantage and then Braden Holtby made all the saves to kill it off. Vegas could not generate much of anything until very late. With two minutes left Alex Tuch had a wide open net, got the shot off clean, but what may be the save of the year by Holtby kept it out. The series is now tied and heads to Washington for Game 3 on Saturday.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals in Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

  • How did Washington snuff out the Golden Knights attack for the entirety of the 3rd period?
  • Not enough created in the biggest moment of the game, the 5-on-3.

Three Stars
*** James Neal
** Lars Eller
* Braden Holtby

Back And Forth Game 1 Proves Golden Knights Can Thrive Ahead, Behind Or Tied

Last night was not your typical Golden Knights playoff game.

In the Western Conference final, there were no lead changes and Vegas was ahead in the series for 193 minutes. In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Golden Knights maintained a lead for only 22:50 minutes.

Here’s the breakdown of the four lead changes in Game 1:

Game Tied: (0:00-7:15)
VGK Lead: (7:15-14:41)
Game Tied: (14:41-15:23)
WSH Lead: (15:23-18:19)
Game Tied: (18:19-23:21)
VGK Lead: (23:21-28:29)
Game Tied: (28:29-41:10)
WSH Lead: (41:10-42:41)
Game Tied: (42:41-49:44)
VGK Lead: (49:44-60:00)

The Golden Knights played a lot more time with the lead than Washington did in Game 1. The Capitals had a hard time holding the lead, which led to the scoring being tied for a majority of the night despite the fact that 10 goals were scored.

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Stanley Cup Final Game 1: Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals – Photo Gallery – May 28th, 2018

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 4 (1-0 VGK)

The game took a while to really get going but when it finally did, did it ever. A power-play goal by Colin Miller put the Golden Knights ahead but it did not last long. Two Washington goals forced the first lead change in a Golden Knights game since Game 3 of the second round. That lead didn’t last either though as William Karlsson tucked a goal in off a rebound behind the goal. The teams headed to the locker rooms tied at two after one wild period.

The 2nd period was much of the same in terms of open play. The Golden Knights got a favorable line matchup with their first line against the Capitals fourth. It led to a Reilly Smith goal and another Vegas lead. A defensive breakdown five minutes later saw the score tied by John Carlsson.

The madness continued into the 3rd as four goals were scored starting with one Marc-Andre Fleury kicked into his own goal to give Washington the lead. Ryan Reaves scored less than two minutes later to tie it back up and then the Tomas Nosek show began. A goal on the back door on a beautiful pass from Shea Theodore. Then a sprawling effort in the D-zone with the goalie pulled followed by chasing the puck down the ice and putting it in the empty net for Nosek. Best game of his Golden Knights career came in Game 1 of the StanleyCup Final. The Golden Knights lead the series 1-0.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

  • A look at minute distribution and how the Golden Knights took advantage of it.
  • 1st and 4th lines come through like they have all year.

Three Stars
*** Deryk Engelland
** Shea Theodore
* Tomas Nosek

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