Golden Knights lose 6-2; Capitals 1 win from Stanley Cup

Updated June 4, 2018 - 10:41 pm

WASHINGTON — James Neal sat on the bench during the second period and placed his stick in front of Golden Knights assistant equipment manager J.W. Aiken.

Aiken gave the blade a few rubs and then planted a kiss on the white tape, presumably to remove whatever hex afflicted Neal’s lumber.

But the impromptu exorcism only provided a temporary moment of levity on an otherwise difficult night for Neal and his teammates.

Neal’s shot off the post early in the first period proved to be a momentum-turning play Monday as the Knights suffered a 6-2 defeat against Washington in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Capital One Arena.

“You score that one,” Neal said, “and it’s a different game.”

The Knights lost their third straight game in the best-of-seven series, a streak that only happened three times during the regular season. The last time they lost three in a row was Feb. 26 through March 2.

And they face a daunting task in an effort to become the first NHL, Major League Baseball, NBA or NFL team to win a championship in its inaugural season – excluding the first year of a league’s existence – since the 1950 Cleveland Browns won the NFL title.

Since 1939, teams that take a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final have won 31 consecutive series and are 32-1 (.970) all time. The only team to manage the feat was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who rallied from 3-0 deficit to beat Detroit.

Game 5 is at 5 p.m. Thursday at T-Mobile Arena.

“They got the breaks because they’re working hard,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “And you always say when you work hard, you get those breaks. I thought it was a great stride forward for our team coming tonight and working hard. Hopefully that’s the next step for us to get some breaks in the next game for us because we played pretty hard tonight.”

After struggling the past two games against Washington’s 1-1-3 neutral-zone trap, the Knights thought they played their best game of the series Monday.

They swarmed the Capitals in the opening period but fell behind 3-0, which allowed Washington to sit back and protect the lead.

Erik Haula hit the post 1:07 into the game, but it was Neal’s chance at 4:31 that will haunt the Knights.

“You can’t get frustrated because you didn’t score those two goals,” Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. “At the end of the day, first period, they created less bounces than us, but they scored more than us.”

With the Knights on a power play, Tomas Tatar drove to the net and fed Haula on the right wing. Haula then sent a cross-ice pass to Neal, who was alone at the left post with Washington goaltender Braden Holtby out of position.

Initially, it appeared that Holtby made a spectacular stick save similar to his stop in the final two minutes of Game 2 against Alex Tuch.

“It was a perfect play,” Neal said. “I thought (Haula) was going to shoot it, and then he held onto it, which was great. Holtby was kind of over there, and then he gave it to me and (Capitals defenseman Matt) Niskanen laid down for a second. So, I just wanted to wait a half a second and he slid out of the net and I just shot it off the post.

“Man, you want those chances. Nine times out of 10 you probably put that in the back of the net. It’s like, I had the composure to wait and then you shoot it and you’re like ‘Uh!’ And the way it hit the post and still came out, I mean, I don’t know. It’s tough. It’s not like anyone made a save. I shot it off the post on the far side.”

Neal went on to score his sixth goal of the playoffs at 5:43 of the third period, and Reilly Smith cut Washington’s lead to 4-2 before Washington tacked on two goals late from Michal Kempny and Brett Connolly.

Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov finished with four assists. T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist, while Nicklas Backstrom added three assists.

John Carlson scored on a power play in the second period for the Capitals, who finished 3-for-5 with the man advantage.

“When it mattered we were able to get it done,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. “And that’s what this team has done over the course of the playoffs. Even when we’re maybe not at our best we’ve been able to get it done, and when it mattered we’ve been able to get it complete.”

The Knights executed their game plan on all fronts to open the first period, chipping pucks deep into the Washington zone and creating havoc with their forecheck. But they had nothing to show for their effort.

The Capitals made the Knights pay for their profligacy, cashing in on a power play with 10:06 left in the first period. Marc-Andre Fleury (17 saves) made the initial stop on Kuznetsov’s shot, but the rebound went to Oshie, and he flipped the puck over Fleury after kicking it onto his stick.

Tom Wilson made it 2-0 when he was left alone in the slot and buried a feed from Kuznetsov with 3:34 remaining in the first.

Devante Smith-Pelly added a backbreaking goal with 20.5 seconds left in the period when he pounced on a loose puck in front after settling a cross-ice pass from Niskanen.

“We’re in a do-or-die situation,” Neal said. “We’ve been great at home, so we’ll go home and play our best game again and find a way to win one game and then we’ll focus on coming back here.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Release Schedule For 2018-19 NHL Season
Golden Knights release schedule for 2018-19 NHL season. The Golden Knights will play five of their first six games on the road. The Knights are at Washington on Oct. 10 in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final and face Pittsburgh the following night. The NHL previously announced the Knights open the season at home Oct. 4 against Philadelphia.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 21
Golden Edge: Knights Take Home Four Awards
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the NHL awards where the Golden Knights won in four of the categories.
George McPhee On Winning General Manager Of The Year
Golden Knights General Manager George Mcphee talks about winning General Manager of the Year and the Golden Knights.
Deryk Engelland On Winning Mark Messier Award
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland talks about winning the Mark Messier award how much impact a team can have on a community.
Gerard Gallant On Winning Jack Adams Award
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about winning the Jack Adams award at the NHL Awards.
William Karlsson On Winning The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
William Karlsson goes over the Golden Knights season and him winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 19
Golden Knights release 2018 preseason schedule
The Golden Knights will be back on the ice at T-Mobile Arena Sept. 16. The team’s 2018 NHL preseason schedule was announced Monday. Scheduled is a matchup with the L.A. Kings — Sept. 20 at Staples Center and Sept. 28 at T-Mobile. Two games against the Colorado Avalanche — Sept. 18 in Denver and Sept. 24 at T-Mobile. Two games against the San Jose Sharks — Sept. 22 at San Jose and Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. The team also announced it will hold its training camp at City National Arena beginning Sept. 13.
Golden Edge Look Ahead: What The Knights Next Season Will Look Like
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journals sports columnist Ed Graney and Adam Hill go over what to expect from the Golden Knights next season.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 14
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Stick Salute To Fans
The Vegas Golden Knights host a fan fest on Fremont Street to celebrate the teams achievements throughout the 2017-2018 season. Fans were treated to live entertainment, free Golden Knights merchandise and the players came out to see fans.
David Perron talks about becoming a free agent
Vegas Golden Knights winger David Perron talked to the news media a day after their season ended in the Stanley Cup Final. Perron said he wants to stay in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' season ends, but accomplishments stand
Take a video tour through the Golden Knights' accomplishments in their inaugural season.
Golden Edge: Knights Reflect On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the Knights emptying their locker room and how the team feels about their season ending with a Stanley Cup loss.
Marc-Andre Fleury On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about the team losing in the Stanley Cup Final.
Golden Knights React To Stanley Cup Loss
The Golden Knights reflect on their Stanley Cup loss against the Washington Capitals in game five.
George McPhee Talks About The Future For The Golden Knights
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee goes over what the future holds for the team and the reality of certain players not being part of the team next season.
Gerard Gallant On Stanley Cup Loss And The Future
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the Knights Stanley Cup Final loss against the Washington Capitals and what the future holds for the team.
Golden Knights Empty Locker Room
The Golden Knights empty their locker room after losing the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Review-Journal's Golden Knights covers
Golden Edge: Magical season comes to an end
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Adam Hill talk about the end of the Golden Knights season, who fell 4-3 to the Capitals, losing the series in Game 5.
Golden Knights On Stanley Cup Final Loss
The Golden Knights react to their loss against the Washington Capitals in game five of the Stanley Cup Final.
Gerard Gallant On Losing The Stanley Cup Final
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the Golden Knights losing the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Golden Knights fans give advice to their team
Golden Knights fans give advice to the team as they head into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final down 3-1 against the Washington Capitals. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights remain confident heading into Game 5
Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Nate Schmidt and Erik Haula talk about their mentality heading into Game 5 down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final.
Golden Knights struggling with Capitals blocking shots
Gerard Gallant and Ryan Reaves discuss how the Knights are trying to get past the Capitals blocking a lot of their shots.
Gerard Gallant focused on Game 5 in T-Mobile Arena
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after practice ahead of Game 5.
Golden Knights reflect on going down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, James Neal and Alex Tuch talk after losing Game 4 to the Washington Capitals and going down 3-1 in the series.
Marc-Andre Fleury on where the Knights must improve
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about what he expects his team to improve on when the Knights return to Vegas for Game 5 after going down 3-1 in the series.
Gerard Gallant talks about a frustrating Game 4 loss
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after losing to the Washington Capitals, going down 3-1 in the series.
Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final
Vegas Golden Knights fans party at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals on May 30, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Crowd goes crazy moments before puck drop
The crowd at T-Mobile Arena goes crazy moments before the puck drops in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves becomes Golden Knights' latest unlikely hero
Ryan Reaves has become the Golden Knights latest unlikely hero. Reaves scored the series-clinching goal in the Western Conference Finals. It was his first goal with the Golden Knights. It came after Reaves sat for Vegas' first nine playoff games. Now he's become a integral part of the team's forecheck. He gets his chance and he goes in there and he played great hockey. It’s not surprising.
Golden Knights’ Fleury tickles Wheeler’s ear during Game 3 scrum
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tickled Jets' Blake Wheeler during a scrum in Game 3. The scrum occured behind Vegas’ net with 2:34 left in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 4-2 victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday night Wheeler, whose helmet was off and had his back to the goalie, somehow seemed unfazed. The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference final series 2-1, and host Game 4 on Friday night.
Voices of Golden Knights players welcome visitors at McCarran airport
Four Golden Knights players will start delivering recorded messages this week as part of the “Voices of Vegas” program at McCarran International Airport.
Station Casinos offers free wagers on Golden Knights to win Cup
Station Casinos will offer free bets on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup. The locals casino company announced a promotion offering free wagers ranging from $5 to $250 on the team who wins hockey’s most coveted trophy. Thousands of invited holders of Station’s Boarding Pass loyalty card will receive an offer by mail to swipe their cards Monday at kiosks at seven properties. A winning ticket could cash for up to $1,000. The Golden Knights are now the 4-1 co-favorites with the Nashville Predators to claim the NHL championship.
Vanderburg Elementary cheers on the Golden Knights with mascot Chance, Golden Aces cheerleaders
Students at Vanderburg Elementary wrote an original song for a #KnightUp contest from the Vegas Golden Knights. They won the contest and hosted Knights mascot Chance and the Golden Aces cheerleaders for a pep rally. Over 300 students came together to cheer on the Knights as they head into their fourth playoff game.
Golden Knights use fitness to grab 2-0 series lead
A day after beating the Kings 2-0 in double overtime, Golden Knights players credited their conditioning. "Your body is tired, but your mind is still racing," said forward Reilly Smith. "The crowd was unbelievable." A season-high gathering of 18,588 at T-Mobile Arena helped inspire the Knights to victory. "This is why we put in so much extra work all summer long," said defenseman Jon Merrill. "For a game like that." The series continues with Game 3 at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Knights success far exceeds LVCVA's tourism goals
Several months ago, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority set out to market the city as the sports capital of the world. With the addition of the Golden Knights and the Raiders, LVCVA saw the perfect opportunity to do so. The Knights' success and current Stanley Cup playoff run has resulted in a marketing marriage with Las Vegas that has been far more successful than anyone could have imagined. This season, the Knights have managed to unite the community and made hockey fans around the country take notice. “The Knights, in my mind, really put the exclamation point that we’re the sports capital of the world, not only what they’ve done on the ice in this historic season but how they brought the community together." Lisa Motley, director of sports marketing and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Professional sports have been a staple for Las Vegas for decades with championship boxing matches, PGA golf tour events and the National Finals Rodeo. But big-league teams kept their distance from Nevada, due to lingering fears of sports betting somehow influencing games. "Las Vegas stands for something much more extensive and expansive now than what it once did" David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Sports Business Institute
Smith Glad To Be Back In Lineup
The Golden Knights forward missed 15 games with an upper-body injury, (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hunt Said Buses Are Where Hockey Team Unity Gets Fostered
The Golden Knights defenseman was fortunate to have avoided any accidents while riding the bus in his hockey career. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Saskatchewan Native Brayden McNabb On The Humboldt Bus Tragedy
The Golden Knights defenseman knows the area well where the junior hockey team’s bus collided with a truck Friday and left 14 people dead. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims. On a night when the Golden Knights were looking to lock up the Pacific Division title and secure a championship banner, the team unveiled a banner of its own Saturday. The banner honors the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting. Knights majority owner and chairman Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee also were on the ice, along with the family of shooting victim Neysa Tonks.
Golden Knights playoff tickets go on sale Monday
The Golden Knights clinched a playoff spot Monday night, and now officials are revealing how fans can get tickets. The hottest tickets in town are going on sale Monday morning on the Golden Knights website. There will be less than 1,000 tickets made available for public sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Tickets will only be sold on a single-game basis. Are you planning to go to any Golden Knights playoff games?
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like