Photo Courtesy of Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Caps dominate in a 6-2 victory that puts them one win away from the Stanley Cup
By Chris Yackel
James Neal will have nightmares tonight. In the opening minutes of the first period the Golden Knights were all over the Washington Capitals. They were fore-checking well and playing the speed game that has made them successful all year. They had an abundance of scoring chances, but none would be bigger than the one Neal had. There was a WIDE open net in front of Neal.
He had all the time in the world, but somehow, some way the puck hit the post and didn’t go in. James Neal who is known to be a prolific goal scorer will have nightmares on what could’ve been the easiest goal of his career. He’ll have these nightmares because of what would transpire over the next 55 minutes or so. After he missed a chance to put his squad up 1-0.
The Capitals would control most of the game after the flurry of Vegas opportunities. It started when Washington got their first power play opportunity. They took full advantage of it as T.J. Oshie made a nice play in front of the net off a great pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov to make it 1-0 Washington. This would not be it for the Caps in the first period, as Tom Wilson continued to make his presence known, both physically and on the score sheet. Kuznetsov again made a pretty pass to the slot area as Wilson finished to make it 2-0 for the Caps. Devante Smith-Pelly would then score with 21 seconds left in the first to further the Caps lead to 3-0 going into intermission.
The second saw mini-surges for Vegas, but the Golden Knights were unable to muster much. They were beginning to look out of gas. Washington was anything but. The Caps would continue to look lethal on the power play as towards the tail end of the second, John Carlson buried a laser of a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to take a 4-0 lead into the second intermission.
The third period was when Vegas began to step it up. James Neal would redeem himself and put Vegas on the board early in the third. Then midway through the period Reilly Smith would momentarily make it interesting by cutting the deficit in half making the game 4-2.
That would be short lived as Michal Kempny would continue his phenomenal play in a Caps uniform and give Washington a 5-2 lead. Things would then get chippy late in the game as Vegas would take penalties of frustration. The Caps would go on a 5-3 power-play with all their big guns out to play it and would further their lead to 6-2. That would be the final nail in the coffin as Washington takes a 3-1 stranglehold on the series going back to Las Vegas.
Is this miracle run for Vegas finally over? It kind of looks like it is. The team looks out of gas and so does the goalie Marc Andre Fleury. Fleury has been phenomenal all playoffs, but sometimes even the best hit a wall. I predicted Washington to win this series and boy is that looking good. I expect Vegas to be cooking in front of their home crowd on Wednesday night and take Game 5, but would not be shocked if the Caps take the Cup in Vegas. Boy would that be a party for Ovi and the boys. Either way I expect a much tighter matchup in Game 5 as I don’t expect any blowouts. Either Vegas goes home or the Caps finally reach the mountain top. Its going to be a thriller come Wednesday night.
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