Alex Ovechkin has his first Stanley Cup Final goal

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The good news in a bad situation is that the Capitals come home with the series tied, having flipped the home-ice advantage, and have a little extra time between Games 2 and 3 for Kuznetsov to get treatment. Remember how it changed the series? Oshie and Jakub Vrana and defenseman John Carlson.

"To me, it was the hockey gods", Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "You hate to lose one of your best players, and hopefully we'll have [Kuznetsov] back soon, but we showed tonight and we've showed in the past that we can win even when one of our best players go down". The Golden Knights have scored the opening goal in the first period of all nine of their postseason home games. It should have been a routine play. It's board battles and working all game for a chance, which usually is the result of a deflected puck or a mad scramble in front of the net. But the heat didn't fry the spirits of the fans who filled the plaza next to T-Mobile Arena to capacity before the puck dropped, continuing this gambling mecca's fanatical support of its first major pro sports team.

"I think the first two games were pretty physical", Vegas right winger Ryan Reaves said. He said he might have an update Friday when the Capitals are scheduled to return to practice. Holts just makes the save of the year. "The save of his lifetime".

So actually, perhaps it was the hockey gods who made it all possible.

Game 3 is Saturday in Washington. He had 37 saves for the night. Going on the road means coach Gerard Gallant can't pick matchups, so he's counting on his best players to play like it. "This group has had everything thrown at them and they just say, 'We're going to push on".

Game 1 saw the Golden Knights take a 6-4 win, but barely, with Washington narrowly missing an open net near the end.

The 28-year-old had begun the playoffs as Washington's backup goalie, but he is a big reason why the Capitals have made it further than they had before in 20 years.

Who knows what tricks Holtby has up his sleeve next.

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby made a brilliant stick save with 1:59 left in the third period, stopping Tuch's shot and preserving the Capitals' 3-2 win in Las Vegas. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who's rooting for the Capitals no matter how good they are.

With the Caps already down one-nothing in the series to the Golden Knights, Wahl adds you can expect the style of play to tighten up. But no one was better Wednesday night.

The Washington players have apparently been engaged in hours-long video game tournaments, headlined by Mario Kart, and have been watching the National Basketball Association playoffs. Kuznetsov appeared to suffer some sort of injury to his left arm or shoulder and he was clearly in a good amount of pain instantly.

While losing Kuznetsov should have been a huge blow for Washington, it had the opposite effect.

Even Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin reacted with total disbelief.

"The hit on Kuzy. we thought it was high", said Trotz. "He's one of the true pros of the game".

But the relentless Knights earned a power play and cut the Caps' lead to 3-2 late in the second when Theodore slipped a long shot through heavy traffic. But as Holtby has done all playoffs, he kept the Capitals ahead. There were 10 goals scored in Game 1 and another five in Game 2. With Kuznetsov potentially out for the next game, Washington will need more of that if it intends on winning its first championship.



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