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Vegas returns to underdog role after Game 3 lapse

08 June, 2018, 06:59 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Devante Smith Pelley scores to put the Capitals ahead 3-1 Saturday night

The pixie dust that has enveloped the Vegas Golden Knights' inaugural season is just about gone, and the Washington Capitals are on the verge of finally capturing their long-elusive Stanley Cup.

Twenty years later, they're back and this time, they won on their own ice.

And yet Orpik and Engelland have helped their teams reach the Stanley Cup Final and shown there's still value in having a big defensive defenseman along for the ride - especially this time of year. Neal, however, sent the puck off the far post and the Capitals cleared it out of their zone to keep the score at 0-0.

Braden Holtby, the stoic goaltender whom coach Barry Trotz has repeatedly called "the backbone of our team", had followed up Wednesday night's miraculous save with a strong performance in the Capitals' 3-1 victory over Vegas in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.

TJ Oshie, Tom Wilson, and Devante Smith-Pelly scored in a 10-minute span of the first period.

2nd period brought on more action but saw only one goal scored and that was for the team who had everything going right for them through the whole game the Capitals John Carlson scores his 5th of the playoffs at 15:23 on the power play.

Look for that to happen in Game 4, as the Golden Knights find a way to win the game and square the series at 2-2. Holtby - well-aware of the Golden Knights' ability to cross up opposing goaltenders - had his puck-handling attempt intercepted by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

Vegas, the surprising expansion franchise that has wowed the hockey world with its speed, tenacity and togetherness, now sits in a 3-1 hole in the best-of-seven title series and faces elimination at home in Thursday's Game 5.

"We [have to] step up our game", Gallant said, per Tracey Myers of NHL.com.

While Vegas rang several shots off the posts, the Capitals seized just about every opportunity as they have throughout this surprising run. No team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1942 has blown a 3-1 lead in the Cup Final.

"I think we just play smart, manage the puck well", said Washington left winger Alex Ovechkin, who had one assist.

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The Golden Knights had a chance to strike first.

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby took a shutout into the third period for the third consecutive home game.

The Golden Knights could use a little luck.

"I think there's more to blocking shots than just going out there and trying to get hit", Holtby said "We're doing a great job of creating the right layers, guys going out there strategically to know which lane I'm picking for sight lines, and they're taking away the other half and making big blocks". There is nearly a poetic element to it all, that it was Neal the former Penguin, and that they're beating Marc-Andre Fleury now, the man who stood in their way for so many of those sorry springs.

Through four games of the final, that number sits at.845, but it mostly reflects the loose play in front of him rather than a drop in form.

They won the Pacific Division in the regular season and have been even better in the playoffs as they have defeated the Los Angeles Kings in four games, the San Jose Sharks in six and the Winnipeg Jets in five. Ovechkin is the only player to record at least a point in all three games of the final.

The Vegas Golden Knights appreciate that the Clark County Department of Public Works is considering a parade in its honor. A lot of guys make mistakes in a hockey game, they don't end up in the back of the net.

Since the Capitals went down 0-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round 1, there has not been a better team on the planet.

"We have to change it", Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said.

After Wilson scored at 16:26, Smith-Pelly's goal came with just 20.5 seconds to play in the opening period. "We played pretty hard".

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