The Vegas Golden Knights were able to hang on for a 3-2 win against the struggling Washington Capitals on Monday afternoon.
Coming into the game, the Golden Knights sat two points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the lead in the Pacific division. Riding on the high of a 2-game winning streak, the Knights were looking to make a move to the top.
Both teams were physical from the start and never let up. The teams combined for 39 hits in the first period and 74 hits for the whole game.
On the offensive end, Vegas wasted no time getting on the board. The Knights were knocking on the door early, trying to get the first goal of the game. Nick Holden was able to tip in a pass from William Carrier across the Capitals’ crease less than four minutes in. The Knights would add another goal late in the first period on a shot by Reilly Smith. This marked the sixth straight game the Capitals allowed the first goal.
Alex Ovechkin was held in check for the majority of the game. He managed to only get off four shots on goal against the Knights, with two of them coming in the first period. Ovechkin has been stuck on 698 goals for the last five games, since reaching that mark against the LA Kings. He's looking to become just the eighth player in NHL history to reach that very private club of 700 goal scorers.
“I’m sure he’ll get it soon. I’m just happy I’m not going to be the goalie on Sportscenter, you know, 48 times showing that goal,” Marc-Andre Fleury said after the game,
The Knights were able to add onto their lead in the second period with a goal by Max Pacioretty to make their lead 3-2. It probably wasn’t in their minds then, but this would be the game winner as things started to change in favor of the Capitals in the third period.
The third period saw a lot of ups and downs emotionally for both sides. There was back and forth with penalties early in the period. Washington was called for their first penalty just 0:34 into the period. After Washington was able to kill Vegas’ penalty, the Capitals went on a power play of their own almost immediately after Vegas’ ended. Wash…rinse…repeat. As soon as the Capitals’ power play was over, they were called for a penalty less than 10 seconds later. Neither teams were able to take advantage of these power plays.
Midway through the third period, TJ Oshie was able to get the Washington Capitals on the board with a perfectly placed one-timer right over Fleury’s stick side shoulder.
Just a minute after the goal, Vegas was called for their third penalty of the day, which led to Oshie adding his second goal of the day to cut the Vegas lead to 3-2.
After an exciting back and forth, and many close game-tying chances for the Capitals, the Golden Knights were able to hang onto their lead for the win. They moved into a tie with the Oilers for the top spot in the Pacific division, leap-frogging the Canucks. The Oilers hold the tie-breaker over the Knights due to playing two less games. This loss for the Capitals marked their fourth loss in their last five games. They now sit just one point ahead of Pittsburgh for the Atlantic division lead.
The Golden Knights will put their current 3-game winning streak on the line Thursday when they host the league’s hottest team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have won 11 streak games.