weather icon Clear

Things prove the same and different between Knights and Capitals

Updated December 5, 2018 - 10:54 am

It was the same and it wasn’t, meaning Alex Ovechkin was in the house but not lifting the Stanley Cup above his head while gliding around T-Mobile Arena in search of celebratory cocktails to come, meaning the Capitals and their star were engaging the Golden Knights, but not with any sort of championship at stake.

Pride, however, is a different matter.

The last time we saw these teams in this building, Washington was winning Game 5 of a best-of-seven final, proving itself the better side while ending the dream season of a Knights team that defied all odds in reaching such a moment as an expansion side.

This was instead a Tuesday night in early December, one of 82 games over the course of six months and yet carrying a bit more meaning for the Knights, who beat the Capitals 5-3 in the most dramatic of ways before a deafening 18,275.

Nate Schmidt, the former Capital who was left unprotected by Washington in the expansion draft, the defenseman suspended for the first 20 games, scored his first goal of 2018-19 via a power play at 18:36 of the third to make it 4-3.

He then added an empty-net score as the final seconds ticked away.

“These are the types of games you want to be part of,” said Schmidt. “This is why you play hockey. Over so many games, you have to find ways to get yourself up and this was one of them. You could tell from the first shift with a couple of big hits. It was an intense, high speed, high octane game.”

It was the same and it wasn’t.

Meaning while everything wasn’t on the line, things were highly emotional and Tom Wilson again found himself in the middle of it all.

Until, that is, he found himself being helped off the ice.

The Knights have dominated their division since beginning play last year, going 27-8-4 against such foes, including 7-2-1 this season. But things have been a tougher go when stepping outside those comfortable blue lines of the Pacific, a fact emphasized by losing to the Capitals in such a manner last June.

You’re darn right Tuesday meant more to the Knights than just another game. It should have.

If you like pace and chirping and bone-rattling hits more powerful than anything except the music inside T-Mobile, you loved the most impressive win this season, by far the most entertaining and impassioned 60 minutes.

I’m just not so sure how much Wilson loved it.

He is the one whose mug shot likely hangs on the wall of the league’s Department of Player Safety, a repeat offender who has served multiple suspensions and owns the sort of mucky reputation that comes with many of his hits.

Wilson is a dirty player unless he’s on your team, and there are few across the league who wouldn’t want him wearing their jersey. He’s that good.

He went to the locker room at 15:42 of the second period, having been on the receiving end of a punishing hit from forward Ryan Reaves, who received a 5-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.

Such penalty was deserved. The hit by Reaves was late, much like one Wilson laid on forward Jonathan Marchessault in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Reaves and Wilson had earlier exchanged hits. They were being watched closely. It was just a matter of time.

PK is on fire

But while the sidebar that was an MMA match between the two pushed the crowd to an ear-splitting level — there is no question it was the loudest T-Mobile has been this season —the Knights won behind what is quickly becoming a terrific penalty kill.

It has been six games (and 19 penalties) since an opposing power play found net, and that included the Knights killing all of the 5-minute major Tuesday.

It was the same and it wasn’t.

Ovechkin had a goal and Wilson was involved in some shenanigans and Reaves took matters into his own hands.

The Capitals are ahead of the Knights right now, ahead of most everyone.

But for a Tuesday night in early December, the Knights proved superior.

“(Beforehand), I was just thinking about treating it like another game and worry about getting the two points and improve in the standings more than trying to get them back,” said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. “I can’t lie, though. This is a great feeling. It was almost storybook, just a few months too late.”

It was the same and it wasn’t.

Mostly, it was a hell of a hockey game.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Zamboni Lessons 101 - Video
The Golden Knights preseason tips off on Sunday, Sept. 15 and you know what that mean, it's time to roll out the zamboni! Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a zamboni operator for the Golden Knights? Golden Edge host Cassie Soto finds out!
Allegiant Unveils Golden Knights Plane - Video
Allegiant air officially unveils its new Golden Knights airbus that will take to the skies soon.
Golden Knights Rookie Camp: 3 Takeaways - Video
Vegas Golden Knights rookies took to the ice on Friday morning for practice at City National Arena. While the rookies mainly participated in drills, it was good to see the prospects get ice time. Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz discuss their three takeaways from the practice.
Golden Knights Host Charity Golf Classic - Video
The Golden Knights held its 2019 Charity Golf Classic on Wednesday at TPC Summerlin. Before teeing off, Golden Knights players Ryan Reaves, Jonathan Marchassault and Alex Tuch said who they thought were the worst and best golfers on their team.
Ryan Reaves performs wedding ceremony
Reverand Reavo makes his debut for one time only at the Chapel of Flowers for a get married by Ryan Reaves contest.
Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz on the Golden Edge Podcast
Review-Journal reporters Ben Gotz and David Schoen talk with Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz about his experiences with LeBron James, the team's new initiatives, a possible MLS expansion team and more.
George McPhee Conference Call on Nikita Gusev trade - VIDEO
Golden Knights President of Operations George McPhee answers questions on a conference call about the teams most recent trade of Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils.
Vegas Golden Knight's Deryk Engelland Happy to Re-Sign - Video
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is happy to stay in Las Vegas after signing a one-year deal with the team.
Golden Aces hold Tryouts For 2019-2020 Season - Video
The Golden Aces hold tryouts for the 2019-2020 season for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Development Camp at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
For the third consecutive year, Vegas Golden Knights Development Camp participants participated in a special community event at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gary Bettman discusses NHL rule changes - VIDEO
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media after Wednesday’s Board of Governor’s meeting.
Golden Knights' Mark Stone up for Selke Trophy
Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone is a finalist for the Selke Trophy. The award goes to the best defensive forward in the NHL. Stone led the league in takeaways last season with 122. His competition is St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly... And Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. Stone will find out if he wins Wednesday at the NHL Awards.
Vegas Golden Knights announce preseason schedule
The Golden Knights announced their preseason schedule Tuesday, as well as the date of their rookie camp and training camp.
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)