Script doesn’t go to plan as Holtby, Fleury struggle in Game 1

Marc-Andre Fleury called it the beauty of sport, how that which is unforeseen can deliver the most entertaining of results.

It’s easy to find the charm in such things when your side is victorious.

I have a feeling the Washington Capitals aren’t so chipper about it.

The hockey world descended upon Las Vegas on Monday evening and the season-long amazing run of the Golden Knights continued its pursuit of the not-so-impossible any more, as Vegas beat the Capitals 6-4 in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final.

Michael Buffer introduced the starting lineups and those wild pregame ceremonies included the hometown Knight being aided by more flaming spears and a few high-tech cannon balls to destroy those representing the Capitals on ice.

So, yeah, the usual craziness played to form.

But what the announced gathering of 18,575 inside T-Mobile Arena and thousands more at watch parties across Southern Nevada and a television audience then witnessed wasn’t in any manner the best of either team, a feeling-out process that was more sloppy than stellar, more imperfect than impressive.

Fleury is spot-on, though, about sport having this devilish way of altering a perceived narrative, and in this sense, Game 1 hardly played out as most envisioned.

The talk was about how goaltenders would define whoever emerged champion between the Knights and Capitals, and that certainly could still prove correct.

But for openers, Fleury and counterpart Braden Holtby weren’t sharp, certainly not to the level each performed earlier in the playoffs.

“As a goalie, you don’t want to give up so much on both sides, but some nights it’s going to go that way,” said Fleury, who faced 28 shots to 33 against Holtby. “You’ve got try to be able to stay with it, try to make the next save. I have a lot of confidence in our guys.

“It was a little too exciting for the goalies. It was a little too interesting. It doesn’t matter what number (of game) it is in the series. Nothing is over, right?”

Fleury entered the final amid a deserved buzz of Conn Smythe chatter, playing at a playoff MVP level while offering a 1.68 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

Holtby wasn’t even a first-round starter, but then grabbed hold tight of the spot and posted shutouts in Games 6 and 7 against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final.

He hadn’t allowed a goal in 159 minutes, 27 seconds entering Monday.

So it went that those defending in front of Fleury were better than those aiding Holtby, although no portion of either team was outstanding sans the fourth line of Vegas, a central reason Washington didn’t steal home ice in Game 1.

Vegas had some bad luck when Fleury accidentally kicked a puck into his net for a Washington goal to make it 4-3 Capitals early in the third, and then some incredible fortune when Lars Eller missed an open net in front (with the aid of Brayden McNabb’s defensive stick) that would have tied the game in the waning seconds after Holtby had been pulled for an extra skater.

“Both teams will say there was some rust and I think both believe they can take it to another level,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz. “I know we can. I think you look at what they have done defensively and what Marc-Andre has done (coming in), but we had a good plan. We didn’t win the game. I would have rather gotten five or six (goals) against him than four.”

Both sides will watch tape and tighten things up and be better in Game 2 on Wednesday, but if this is even close to a preview of what is to come, alert the faint of heart to view with caution.

Exciting doesn’t always translate to crisp play.

Sometimes, it’s just exciting.

Sometimes, what you think might occur doesn’t come close to being so.

“Obviously it’s not what was expected of both of us, or what I want,” Fleury said of himself and Holtby. “It’s not gonna go perfect every night. I put (one) in my net by myself. It happens. It’ll happen again at some point in my career. You just gotta brush it off, forget about it, and try to stop the next one.”

You just have to understand that sport can be devilish this way.

One side thought it beautiful Monday.

The other, not so much.

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

Contact columnist Ed Graney at or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Talk To Media After Thursday Practice
Golden Knights talk to media in the locker room after practice on Thursday.
Gallant Talks After Practice On Thursday
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over how the lines are developing at practice.
Gerard Gallant On Win Against Sabres
Gerard Gallant talks after practice about the Golden Knights win over the Buffalo Sabres and the teams overall performance.
Cody Eakin On His Personal Improvement As A Golden Knight
Cody Eakin talks about his improvement as a Golden Knight this season and the work he put in over the summer.
Golden Edge: Knights Mood Improved After Win Against Sabres
Adam Hill, David Schoen and Ben Gotz go over how the Golden Knights are feeling after their win against the Buffalo Sabres while Alex Tuch gets a workout on the ice.
Golden Edge: Karlsson Scores First Goal; Knights Beat Sabres
Adam Hill, Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Golden Knights win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Golden Knights On 4-1 Win Against Buffalo
The Golden Knights react to their first win after the road trip against the Buffalo Sabres.
Golden Edge Mailbag - October 16th, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your Golden Knights questions.
Golden Edge: Eakin Scores Winning Goal During Final Road Trip Game
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights final game of the road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers
Would the NFL be accepted abroad?
Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney takes to the streets of London, England, ahead of the Oakland Raiders facing the Seattle Seahawks to find out if the NFL is accepted, if the game is understood and what its fan base is like outside of the United States.
Golden Edge: Phil Kessel Has Hat Trick in Win Over Knights
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Las Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Ben Gotz and David Schoen report from Pittsburgh.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose First Stanley Cup Rematch
The Golden Knights lose 5-2 against the Washington Capitals and fall to 1-3 on the season. David Schoen and Ben Gotz report from Washington.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — October 9, 2018
Adam Hill is joined by Ben Gotz via skype from Washington, D.C. to answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Gallant on Washington Capitals rematch
Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant plays down the connection between Wednesday's game against the Washington Capitals and the Stanley Cup Final results last season.
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall to Sabres 4-2
The Sabres defeat the Golden Knights 4-2 with 3 goals in the second period. Ben Gotz and David Schoen report from Buffalo.
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Wild In Shootout
Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Knights comeback win against the Minnesota Wild. The Knights won 2-1 in a shootout against the Minnesota Wild. (October 7, 2018)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall In Season Opener
Elaine Wilson, Adam Hill, Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Golden Knights 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in their season opener. (Videographer: Heidi Fang, Edited By: Nathan Asselin)
Golden Knights React To Season Opener Loss
Golden Knights react to their 5-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Gold Carpet Before Golden Knights Season Opener
John Katsilometes is on the gold carpet before the Golden Knights season opener.
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Golden Edge: Last Practice Before Season Opener
Adam Hill and David Schoen at City National Arena during the Golden Knights' morning skate and media day before the opener Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Media Day: Gerard Gallant and George McPhee Presser
Head coach Gerard Gallant and GM George McPhee talk about Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin, Nate Schmidt, and the start of season number two for the franchise.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — October 2, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Kings 2-0
Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena after the Knights beat the Kings 2-0.
Golden Edge: Shea Theodore Returns to Practice
Adam Hill, Ben Gotz, and David Schoen are at the Golden Knight's practice where Shea Thedore is suited back up for the first time this season.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 25, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3, but re-sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio while Ben Gotz, Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena on the Knights preseason game vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3 but Re-Sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio and Ben Gotz, Adam Hill, and David Schoen report from T-Mobile arena on the Knights preseason game vs the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Rally To Win During Shootout
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights shootout win against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Golden Edge: Vegas Fans Show their Love at Fan Fest
Bryan Salmond is on the red carpet at the downtown Las Vegas Events Center as the 2018-2019 Golden Knights show up for Fan Fest.
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like