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Free agent signing Devante Smith-Pelly and trade-deadline acquisition Michal Kempny aren’t big names but turned out to be perfect pieces of the Capitals’ Stanley Cup puzzle. Adding impact players like Smith-Pelly and Kempny is what every NHL contender aims to do and Washington is now one win from its first championship.
Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights have crashed back down to earth in the Stanley Cup Final after a charmed run through the playoffs. They must be dramatically better to keep their season alive. Fleury has a pedestrian .845 save percentage against the Capitals in the final after putting up a .947 percentage through the first three rounds. And the blame isn’t all on him. Vegas trails Washington 3-1. Game 5 is Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Capitals stars Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov are inspiring young Russian players like top prospect Andrei Svechnikov and fans back home. Svechnikov got to meet Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov before Game 4 of a Stanley Cup Final that’s showcasing this generation of Russian talent.
James Neal had the puck on his stick and was staring at an open net. In a can’t-miss situation, that’s exactly what he did. Neal hit the post with his shot, and Vegas ended up losing 6-2 to Washington to fall behind 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. Game 5 is Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Braden Holtby’s playoff dominance for the Capitals goes beyond “the save” he made in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Holtby’s stop allowed Washington to even the series with Vegas and was more evidence of his strong play in the postseason during his NHL career. Suddenly he’s the best goaltender in the Cup Final and has stolen the show from Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Capitals are built to handle life without Evgeny Kuznetsov if the injured center is out for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Golden Knights. Coach Barry Trotz says Kuznetsov is day to day after leaving Game 2 clutching his left arm. If Kuznetsov can’t play, it’ll be up to Alex Ovechkin, Lars Eller and the rest of Washington’s top players to continue outplaying Vegas’ stars.
Alex Ovechkin is thrilled, though hardly satisfied. The Washington Capitals star is headed to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his 13-year career, eager to put more distance between the Eastern Conference champions and a lingering perception of Ovechkin and the Caps as playoff underachievers. The Caps will face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Cup final.
Alex Ovechkin scored early and Andre Burakovsky added two second-period goals to help the Washington Capitals put a decade of playoff frustration behind them with a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Braden Holtby stopped 29 shots for his second straight shutout.
Alex Ovechkin is closer than ever to playing for the Stanley Cup, and he’s determined to make the most of the opportunity. The star forward leads the Washington Capitals into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The winner earns a berth in the Stanley Cup Final opposite the Vegas Golden Knights.
Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee constructed the team last summer. His tactical moves at the trade deadline in February have proven to be just as important in helping Vegas reach the Stanley Cup Final. Vegas acquired forward Tomas Tatar from Detroit, sent Brendan Leipsic to Vancouver for Philip Holm and brought in bruising forward Ryan Reaves from Pittsburgh. The Golden Knights will play the winner of the East final between Tampa Bay and Washington. Game 1 is Monday night.
Cedric Paquette scored in the opening minute and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots to help the Tampa Bay Lightning hold off the Washington Capitals 3-2 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan also scored as the home team won for the first time in the best-of-seven matchup. The Lightning took a 3-2 series lead and moved within one victory of advancing the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in four seasons.
Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice wants the Jets to focus on fun, not the magnitude of Sunday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. The expansion Golden Knights are up 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference final and could eliminate the Jets and reach the Stanley Cup Final with a victory.
Just saying the Vegas Golden Knights are one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final has a magical ring to it. But what’s even more mystical is thinking the Knights are a mere five wins from hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup in its inaugural season.
Marc-Andre Fleury sat shirtless in front of his locker, staring blankly, his exhausted gaze fixed nowhere. Pads still strapped to his legs after another spectacular night’s work, the Vegas Golden Knights goalie looked as if he were trying to gather his thoughts, trying somehow to make sense of it all.
Reilly Smith scored on a breakaway late in the third period to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 of the Western Conference final. Vegas was a 500-to-1 long shot to win the title when the season started but can advance to the Stanley Cup final when the series resumes Sunday in Winnipeg. William Karlsson and Tomas Nosek also scored for Vegas. Patrik Laine and Tyler Myers scored for Winnipeg.
Alex Killorn scored the tiebreaker with about 8 minutes left, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves, and the Tampa Bay Lightning weathered the equivalent of more than a period without a shot on goal to edge the Washington Capitals 4-2 and even the Eastern Conference final at two games apiece. Killorn was left pretty much alone during a defensive breakdown by Washington and scored 6 seconds after a Tampa Bay power play expired.
Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals – including an empty-netter in the closing seconds – to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 3 of the Western Conference final. Vegas took a 2-1 series lead and is now two wins from advancing to the Stanley Cup final. James Neal and Alex Tuch also scored for Vegas, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 33 shots. Mark Scheifele scored both of Winnipeg’s goals and has a playoff-leading 14 goals in 15 postseason games.
The good news for Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals is they still lead their Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The bad news for the Capitals, counterintuitive as it may be: They host Game 4. So far, Washington is 7-1 in away games this postseason, closing out each of its first two series on the road.
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson thinks Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman could be in trouble for a hit that drew a boarding penalty in Game 3 of their teams’ Eastern Conference final. Wilson served a three-game suspension earlier this postseason.
The Vegas Golden Knights figured they might get something special by crossing a respected goaltending coach with an accomplished goaltender. Dave Prior and Marc-Andre Fleury are making quite the pair for the historically successful expansion team. Fleury has hit it off with Prior, a coach who has helped the 13-year veteran pick up some new tricks.