Greetings sports fans and welcome back to Vegas Valley Sports Beat. It’s an electric day in the city of lights as the Washington Capitals are in town for game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals.
The Capital’s lead the series 3 games to 1 over the hometown Las Vegas Golden Knights who are looking to take the Capital’s down for the next 4 games and capture Lord Stanley’s Cup and make history by becoming the first expansion team to do so in their inaugural season.
In what can best be described as cheap theatrics and low-rent symbolism the Golden Knight at the center of an attack by villains dressed in Capital’s colors is repeatedly assaulted by a sword wielding character who twice strikes the knight from behind which is of course a cowardly act . As many NHL fans on both sides of the aisle will remember it was a cheap shot by the Golden Knights who cross-checked T.J. Oshie in the back.
That shot as I recall lead to a power play for Washington that resulted in a goal.
The Capitals came out and from the drop of the first puck dominated the Knights playing keep-away and forcing Knight’s goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury to deflect two shots at the net in the opening 1 minute and 15 seconds of play.
The puck has been changing hands since then and only the span of perhaps an inch kept a shot by Alexander Ovechkin from hitting the Knight’s net when it caromed off of the goalpost with less than 2 minutes left to play in the first period.
At 16:40 into the second period a high stick shot gave the Golden Knight’s their first power play of the game. As the power play ended however, the Knights had spent the entire 2 minutes without making a single shot on goal.
Vrana’s shot at the net found it at 13:40 as it sailed right over the mitt of Marc-Andre Fleury and the score was 1-0 Capital’s. The Golden Knight’s found themselves playing mostly on the defensive again.
Shot after shot was made by the Golden Knight’s but every one of them either went wide or were deflected by Capital’s goaltender, Braden Holtby who looked well-rested as the Knight’s struggled desperately to play catch up.
With 10:20 the Knight’s, Nate Schmidt found the Capital’s net after the shot ricocheted off of an opposing players skate blade and the score was tied at 1-1. But then a cheap shot from the Knight’s, McNabb against Ovechkin led to the Capital’s 3rd power play and with 9:46 to play a shot from Ovechkin sailed past Marc Fleury again and the score went to 2-1 Capital’s.
The Golden Knight’s then struck back and a shot from Miller to Tatar found the net with 7:04 to play in the period and the score was tied once more at 2-2. The goal would almost be taken away on an interference call against Peron of the Golden Knight’s whose skate tripped up Holtby just before the shot went in but the goal would withstand the Capital’s challenge.
The Golden Knight’s by then had found their way back into contention against the Capital’s but many of their shots at the Capital’s net went wild and wide.
With 4:19 to go play was stopped by a hand passing call and the puck was dropped again at center ice. With 2:40 to play Ovechkin made a whip around shot that almost found the net between two Knight’s but a tripping call against the Capital’s led to a Knight’s power play with 2:14 left in the period.
With only 0:28.2 seconds to go in the second period a pass from Tuck to Reilly Smith finds the net after Smith double-kicked the puck before sending it into a clear net The Golden Knight’s broke the second tie of the period and take their first lead of the last 2 games.
This of course lead to a huge fight behind the Capital’s goal which would make it a 4 on 4 game for the next 18 seconds when play would stop again for another fight. This lead to a face-off but the period would end without another goal being made.
There were 5 goals made in the period and it looked like the Golden Knight’s began to see light at the end of the tunnel that many people thought they had little chance of seeing at all.
Playing a great deal better tonight than they did through the entire 4th game, the Golden Knight’s began to look more like the team that got into the playoffs than the Keystone Cops they looked like on Tuesday as both sides took 20 shots each on goal leading into the final 20 minutes of play.
Back and forth back and forth they went for the first 5 minutes of play as Fleury and Holtby played their best games and kept the puck out of their nets.
But then with 14:23 left to play in the game Tatar of the Golden Knight’s would be called for hooking and the Capital’s would enjoy their 4th power play of the game. With only 10:08 left to play in the third period a pass from the Capital’s, Orpik and the puck would again find the net for #25 Smith-Pelly of the Washington Capital’s and the score was tied up again at 3-3
With 7:37 left to play in the third period the puck would again find the net for, #20 Lars Eller of the Capital’s, and the score went to 4-3 in the favor of Washington. Time out would be called at 2:04 and the Knight’s were faced with defending an empty net.
Icing was called at 1:49 to play and the face off was won by Washington. Icing was called once more after a shot by Washington went wide of the empty net and another face-off with only 0:28.6 left to play in the Knight’s season. A do or die situation.
Then with only 0:00.6 seconds left to play icing was called and the face-off would end the game. For the first time in their 44 year history as a franchise the Washington Capital’s have won the Stanley Cup!
The final score; Washington Capital’s 4 – The Las Vegas Golden Knight’s 3.
Images courtesy of the Washington Capital’s, the Las Vegas Golden Knight’s, and the NHL.