Capitals respond with Game 2 win against Golden Knights

02 June, 2018, 00:35 | Author: Felix Jensen
  • Tom Wilson laid out Vegas Jonathan Marchessault with a huge late hit

Evgeny Kuznetsov is skating at Caps optional practice. Both goalies will be looking to improve their save percentages; 84.8% for Holtby of the Caps, and 85.7% for Fluery of the Golden Knights.

Lars Eller had a hand in all three goals as the Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 to tie the Stanley Cup finals series at 1-1. Washington needs three more wins to become the second team in National Hockey League history to win a Cup after trailing in all four postseason rounds, joining Pittsburgh in 1991. 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). Two nights later, Vegas retaliated not by going after Wilson, but rather Washington's leading scorer. Los Angeles went 14-2 in 2012 and the last team to open 13-3 was the 1999 Sabres after they won Game 1 of the final in Dallas on Jason Woolley's overtime goal.

Washington's Jakub Vrana nearly restored the two-score lead late in the second period, but hit the right post much to the delight of Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Vegas right winger Alex Tuch said the Knights will try to push back and be "just as physical, if not more physical" than the Capitals, but most importantly they will try to come out with a lot of energy and attempt to take away the pace from Washington at home. "But those guys play extra minutes, extra shifts, and whatever it takes".

"I don't know, but the more I am out there the better I feel with the puck, better flow in my game", said Eller, who had a goal and two assists in the win. We had goals, we had hits, we had some good plays, we had a lot of mistakes, which usually makes for excitement, and that certainly happened.

"I'm trying not to fret it too much", he said.

Eller has done this before, of course. This team from Washington is an excellent hockey club, and obviously this series isn't going to go four games. "If you look at it as a whole, we played really well for parts of the first period and we got caught up in the transition game in the second period - and that's not the game we want to play". So how are the Capitals keeping their eyes on the prize during the Stanley Cup final and not getting led into temptation in Sin City?

For the newbies, the futures book represents betting on teams to reach a certain milestone, like win a championship - rather than winning one specific game.

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"To me, it was the hockey gods", said coach Barry Trotz.

"We don't have the last change, so you can match up what you want", said Gallant. "It's hard to replace Kuznetsov the way he's been playing, but if that's the case it is what it is and we just have to have other guys step up". "But your bench rallies around it". Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby had to be better. Trotz indicated that losing Kuznetsov could be a pivot point in the series - oddly, in the Capitals' favor, despite his importance to the lineup. "We really needed that one".

"The arena gives you the feeling you can't get on TV". I know how resilient this group has been all year.

But fans said inside Capital One Arena or not, they will be loud and proud cheering their team towards the Stanley Cup. But they've been in this spot before. They've gotten so resilient.

The versatile Capitals centre showed that in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, and could get even more opportunities in big moments with the status of one Washington's Conn Smythe Trophy favourites very much up in the air.

Then in the Eastern Conference final, they trailed the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 before posting back-to-back shutouts to advance.



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