Stanley Cup notebook: Caps not giving in to temptations of Vegas

Raiders owner Mark Davis has a real love affair with Las Vegas
'A magical story': Golden Knights, Capitals to face-off in Game 2
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02 June, 2018

"Good response by all of us", said captain Alex Ovechkin.

Washington Capitals goalkeeper Braden Holtby made a daring game-saving stop with two minutes left in their Game 2 win over the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday. Then, with a tick under two minutes left, the puck took an unexpected carom off the glass and landed on the stick of Vegas forward Cody Eakin, who quickly sent it across to linemate Alex Tuch.

"I hate to say it would have been a bad situation for me, because obviously having a ticket that's going to win something would be good, but I could never root against my Lightning", he said. "That's one of our strengths".

Following Game 2, Game 3 will be played Saturday in Washington. It was a pretty sequence that involved some swift puck movement and a fantastic adjustment by Ovi, who was able to get his hands across the body to fire a shot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury.

The hit that Evgeny Kuznetsov received from Brayden McNabb might have looked clean, but it knocked Kuznetsov from the game clutching his arm.

Still, some fans believe the restriction was because the VGK tickets sell out fast and restricting it is the only way to make sure the Caps are well represented.

Leaving the theatrics and comfort of their home ice at T-Mobile Arena, the Golden Knights are set to play in Washington for the first Stanley Cup finals game the city has hosted in 20 years.

Before the playoffs began, the answer to that felt like a resounding no.

Despite Grubauer being the more consistent of the two late in the season, the decision to go with inexperience was mildly controversial.

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After a rough opener in Vegas, Holtby rounded back into something approaching his form in back-to-back shutouts to close the Eastern Conference finals. He's the Capitals' No. 1 center.

The Capitals have been nothing short of resilient in this postseason and showed that trait once again in Wednesday's game two to avoid an 0-2 hole heading back home for game three. But the heat didn't fry the spirits of the fans who filled the plaza next to the arena to capacity before the puck dropped, continuing this gambling mecca's fanatical support of its first major pro sports team.

He said the excitement around the Golden Knights is palpable in Vegas. A number of those penalties came as the result of breakdowns or just straight-up dumb plays that were avoidable.

In postseason failures of yore, this would have been the moment when it all unraveled for Washington.

Instead, the Baldwinsville native found himself on the wrong side of one of the most memorable moments of this year's National Hockey League playoffs. It was his first goal since February 26, 2016.

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.

The Golden Knights exceeded expectations and many people are just three wins away from watching history and seeing their bank account jump a few thousands dollars.

"We played smart. We played hard", Ovechkin said. That puts Holtby behind the play and leads to a series of events where Holtby only recovers when he makes the dive to make the save.


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