Getting off to a good start was absolutely crucial in this Stanley Cup Finals series between the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights. And though the Golden Knights did win Game 1 in Vegas, the Capitals have responded tremendously well. In Game 2, they jumped the Golden Knights to win and level the series. But most crucially, they took Game 3 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 series lead at home, a lead that they will very much be hoping is enough to spur them on to the Stanley Cup.
Much will be said and written about the attitude, the pure emotion of the Capitals’ main man Alex Ovechkin. We’ll let them do that bit of reporting. But it was clear from the get-go that he was going to be the one driving this team forward. After scoring a crucial goal in Game 2 to give his team a lead, the Russian forward once again registered a goal for them in Game 3. But unlike the prior game, this goal was the first goal of the game. Scoring first in any sport is a big deal, but it means all the more when your superstar player is the one that grabs it. It just drives the rest of the team forward, and that’s exactly what it did.
Of course, Ovechkin wasn’t the only man that had a good showing in Game 3. It still required work from others to get the job done. Two other Caps have to be looked at as heroes to the cause. First of which is Evgeny Kuznetsov. Not only did he help set up the first goal with an assist, he also added a goal of his own later in that second period. Another that deserves a shout out is Jay Beagle. His two assists, one on Kuznetsov, and the other on Devante Smith-Pelly’s goal, the third goal that put them back ahead by two at 3-1 were massive.
Of course, you need good goaltending throughout the playoffs as well, and the Capitals got that again from Braden Holtby. He had one particularly stunning save on the fast break in which he made a glove hand save. He had 21 saves in the game, and only allowed the one goal from Tomas Nosek. Overall, it was a great performance from the Capitals, and they can take a very commanding lead with a victory in Game 4 at home. A win there would put them 3-1 ahead, and it would require them to just get one more win to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time ever.