Capitals protect the puck and lead, steal home ice from Knights

Updated May 31, 2018 - 1:15 am

If Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was largely a case of Washington giveth and Vegas taketh away, Game 2 was a matter of the Capitals not giving anything more away.

The Capitals came into Wednesday’s game with 176 playoff giveaways, second-most among the teams that have played 10 or more postseason games.

After the first two periods in Game 2, they had only added to their giveaway total by one.

They also had the lead, which was hardly a coincidence.

The visitors made it stand up during a taut third period, their 3-2 victory at T-Mobile Arena in another spellbinding battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup leveling the best-of-seven series at a game apiece and dramatically changing its complexion.

After the Knights’ 6-4 victory in a rollicking, free-wheeling Game 1 on Monday, both coaches spoke of tidying up their stick-handling and passing in the defensive end and neutral zone. Protecting the puck against the Knights’ tenacious forecheck was still on Washington coach Barry Trotz’s mind when he addressed the media a couple of hours before the puck was dropped.

Caps exchange, execute

“I think just good exchanges, going back and make sure that we’ve got good exchanges, execute the things that we need to do,” Trotz said of the importance of keeping pucks on the blades of sticks and doing it with more urgency. “Obviously the way they forecheck, the way we forecheck, I think it can make it difficult on both teams to get out of their end.

“You see tendencies — the more you play them, the more you can make your adjustments. I’m sure they’ve made some on their side. We’ve made some on ours. We’ll see if they work or not. If they work, then we’ll continue to tweak it. If they don’t, we’ll go back to the drawing board.”

They worked.

After giving the puck away seven times Monday leading to a plethora of Knights scoring chances, Washington finished with four that were hardly noticeable Wednesday. The Knights, conversely, were guilty of 12 giveaways.

“I think we were a little more on our toes tonight,” said the Capitals’ Lars Eller, who whiffed on a wide-open net in the final minute that would have tied Game 1 before redeeming himself in large degree by scoring a late first-period goal that tied Game 2 at 1.

“In Game 1, they were the ones transitioning on us, especially in the neutral zone. I think tonight we reversed that a little bit. We were a lot more tight in the neutral zone and made them turn over some pucks and now we were getting the odd man rushes. We analyzed Game 1, made some adjustments and executed. Everybody executed real well tonight.”

The Caps did make two glaring mistakes that led to Knights goals, but neither was considered a giveaway in the traditional sense.

Hockey gods smiling

Early in the first period, defenseman Dmitry Orlov tried to swat a puck out of the air inside his own blue line as if he were trying to catch a butterfly without a net. The puck wound up on the stick of James Neal, who beat Braden Holtby with a perfect shot to the top corner of the top shelf for a 1-0 Vegas lead.

Late in the second period, T.J. Oshie was whistled for a retaliatory interference call on the Knights’ Colin Miller. That led to a power play goal by Shea Theodore, trimming what was looking like a comfortable 3-1 Washington lead into a tense one-goal cushion.

After the Knights failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the third period, Washington commenced taking care of the puck. The Capitals also put up a gauntlet around Holtby that rivaled the one Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke faced in the streets of downtown Phoenix in the old movie of the same name.

The Knights went more than 10 minutes without a shot on goal before Holtby made a save that, should Washington protect home ice advantage it has wrested from the Knights, will be remembered in D.C. with the same fondness and incredulity as Dwight Clark’s end zone catch against the Cowboys is recalled by Bay Area football fans.

“To me, it was the hockey gods — they evened it up from the last game,” said Trotz, referring to Holtby’s sprawling stick save with the right side of his net seemingly unprotected.

The clutch stop prevented the Knights’ Alex Tuch from sending the game into overtime and blowing the roof off T-Mobile Arena into the vicinity of the Raiders’ stadium construction site down the street.

That’s what happens when you don’t give the puck away and control the neutral zone. The hockey gods intercede, and you go back to Washington with the series tied and hockey fans clamoring for more.

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

Contact Ron Kantowski at or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Outshine Stars 4-2
The Golden Knights take down the Dallas Stars for their 8th win in their last 10 games. David Schoen discusses the victory.
Golden Knights prepare for road trip after 4-2 win over Stars
Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant and team players talk about carrying the momentum off their 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars into their 4-game road trip.
Golden Knights Suffer Heavy Loss To Kings - Golden Edge
Vegas Golden Knights lose to the Los Angeles Kings 5-1. Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill goes over the Knights loss.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant On Loss To Kings
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to media about the Knights 5-1 loss to the Kings.
Golden Knights on their 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks
Players from the Vegas Golden Knights reflect on their third period surge and what else led them to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Deryk Engelland at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was a new experience for Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland on Wednesday night. He said he was looking forward to spending time with family and going for a skate, as well as lighting the Christmas tree for fans.
Golden Edge: Ryan Reaves will face no further penalty for hit
The Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves will not be suspended following a hit on the Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson on Tuesday night. David Schoen and Adam Hill report from team practice at City National Arena.
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Golden Knights Avenge Final Loss, Top Caps 5-3 - Golden Edge
The Golden Knights rally to defeat the Washington Capitals in a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final. David Schoen and Adam Hill discuss the win and Ryan Reaves big hit on Tom Wilson.
Golden Knights, Schmidt on their emotional win over the Capitals
The Vegas Golden Knights talk about their emotional victory and playing physical against their 2018 Stanley Cup opponent, the Washington Capitals.
Golden Knights head coach happy with team's effort in win over Capitals
Vegas Golden Knights' head coach Gerard Gallant says he was happy with the team's effort in their 5-3 win against the Washington Capitals, the 2018 Stanley Cup winners.
Golden Knights License Plate Sales
Twenty-Five year Las Vegas resident, Bernard Turner, loves the Golden Knights and couldn’t wait to get the team-inspired specialty license plate on his new vehicle. Over 11,000 of the plates have been ordered since becoming available in October, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Fall to Oilers 2-1
The Golden Knights come up short in Edmonton against the Oilers. David Schoen discusses the game.
Alex Tuch on Golden Knights' 2nd line
Alex Tuch talks about the chemistry between players on the Golden Knights' second line. (David Schone/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Win Five Games Straight, Beat Canucks 4-3
Golden Knights win five games straight after beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights win.
Gerard Gallant on Marc-Andre Fleury
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about Marc-Andre Fleury af the Knights win in Vancouver. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reaves faceoffs 3
Reaves faceoffs 2
Reaves faceoffs 1
Gallant pre Vancouver
Golden Edge: Knights Have Strong Game Against Chicago
Golden Knights get strong win over the Chicago Blackhawks with an 8-3 victory. Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen breaks down the knights fourth straight victory in a row.
Golden Edge Mailbag
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer all your burning Vegas Golden Knights questions and comments
Golden Edge: Golden Knights defeat Sharks 6-0 for 2nd straight shutout
William Karlsson scored the fastest goal in franchise history, and the Knights finally looked like the team that advanced to last year’s Stanley Cup Final with a 6-0 shellacking of first-place San Jose. Adam Hill and Dave Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena.
William Carrier Talks About the Knight's Win
Golden Knight's forward William Carrier scored his fourth goal of the season to help the team beat San Jose 6-0.
Marc-Andre Fleury Speaks After Shutout
Golden Knight's goalie Marc-Andre Fleury puts up his second shutout in back to back games. The Knights defeated the Sharks 6-0.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Shut out Calgary
Golden Knights shutout the Calgary Flames 2-0 after coming home from their three game road trip. Adam Hill and David Schoen recap the Knights victory over the Flames at T-Mobile Arena.
Gerard Gallant says team's play is improving after win over Flames
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team's play and credits Marc-Andre Fleury's performance in their 2-0 shutout win against the Calgary Flames.
Golden Knights talk about their 2-0 win over the Flames
Vegas Golden Knights Nate Schmidt, Colin Miller, Marc-Andre Fleury and Alex Tuch discuss the team's 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
James Neal Talks About Being Back In Vegas
Former Golden Knights forward James Neal talks to media about playing his former team in Las Vegas.
Golden Edge: Pacioretty and Knights Come Away with Two
Max Pacioretty scored his second goal of the night in overtime to defeat the Arizona Coyotes as the team takes two points. They got 3 of 4 points overall on this road trip putting them at 21 for the season. Adam Hill reports from Arizona.
Coach Gallant Talks with Media After Win
The Golden Knights defeated the Arizona Coyotes in overtime with a Max Pacioretty game-winner. Coach Gerard Gallant speaks on the teams performance.
Max Pacioretty Talks After Scoring Game Winner
Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty scores in overtime to defeat the Coyotes.
Golden Edge: Knights In Flames After Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights fall to 7-2 to the Calgary Flames. Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights loss before heading to Arizona to play against the Coyotes.
Golden Knights Forward Reilly Smith On 7-2 Loss
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith talks to media about loss to the Calgary Flames.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant On Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after their 7-2 loss against Calgary.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Have Stellar Second Period Against Oilers
Golden Knights have stellar second period against the Edmonton Oilers on the road. Review-Journal sports writers Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney break down the Knights 6-3 win over the Oilers.
Golden Knights Assistant Coach On Win In Edmonton
Golden Knights Defenseman Nate Schmidt On Win Against Oilers
Gallant on Toronto loss
Gallant on Pacioretty
Gallant on how season has gone
Pacioretty on possible return
Gallant and Marchessault on Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault comment on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marchessault on Perron
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 Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
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)
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like