Despite a heroic effort from Las Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, the Knights were unable to keep up with Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals’ high-powered offense.
It was a fast start with little to distinguish the two teams. Both the Capitals and Golden Knights traded opportunity after opportunity but the goalies stood tall throughout the first period. Early in the first, a potential first goal for the Capitals was waved off after Devante Smith-Pelly interfered with Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, sending the Knights to the power play, which the Capitals were able to kill.
Fleury’s play in particular sttod out in the first after robbing Alex Ovechkin of several scoring opportunities, including this beautiful save:
However, the tie would not last as Ovechkin was able to score just a minute into the second period after a Fleury save that rebounded the puck right to him in front of net.
After getting a power play halfway through the second, the Capitals were nearly able to add to the lead seconds into the man advantage after T.J. Oshie deflected a Nicklaus Backstrom shot off of the post. Just moments after the power play ended, Evgeny Kuznetsov doubled the Capitals’ lead. For Kuznetsov, there were serious concerns about his availability to play after suffering an upper body injury during the first period of Wednesday’s game. Despite allowing two goals in the period, Fleury was able to add to his highlight reel of saves after this incredible display of nearly inhuman reflexes:
Going into the third the Capitals still maintained a two goal lead with the teams on a four on four situation following tripping penalties from Smith-Pelly and Fleury at the end of the second.
Minutes into the third period, the Knights were able to cut the lead in half after a goal from Tomas Nosek after a questionable flip into traffic from Capitals’ goalie Braden Holtby. However, Smith-Pelly was able to pad the Capitals’ lead after an assist from Jay Beagle, his second of the night, with just six minutes to go in the game. With two and a half minutes to go, Fleury headed to the bench so the Knights could get an extra attacker on the ice, leading to an onslaught of offensive opportunities for Vegas.
The Caps were able to survive the attack and maintained their 3-1 lead through the end of the period. For Vegas, this is the first time that they have lost two games in a row in the entirety of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The teams will have a day to rest before they face off again on Monday night in our nation’s capital.
Image courtesy of sporting news