Capitals on verge of Cup after blowing out Golden Knights

AP Images

AP Images

Barring a comeback of historical proportions - an unlikely occurrence after being outscored 12-5 over the past three games - the Golden Knights will always remember this series for "The Stick" and "The Post".

Jonathan Marchessault: Marchessault is leading the Golden Knights in goals and points and so far only has one assist in the Stanley Cup final.

But Washington instead survived that push and would go onto score three times in the final 10 minutes of the opening period to effectively put the game out of reach.

Jones on the difference between the two teams in the first period: "The difference is confidence and lacking confidence".

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby had a shutout into the third period for the third consecutive home game. Through three games he has one risky shot attempt at 5-on-5, which is the same number as Capitals checking-line centre Jay Beagle.

Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals will get their first chance to hoist the Cup in Game 5 on Thursday night back in Las Vegas.

"Not where we want to be, that's for sure", Fleury said of the 3-1 deficit.

John Carlson, Michal Kempny and Brett Connolly also scored as thunderous chants of "We want the Cup!" T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly all scored in the first period. In the three games, we haven't been good enough.

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Washington struck again seven minutes later when Kuznetsov got the puck to a wide open Wilson, who quickly wristed a shot under Fleury's glove from in close.

The Capitals have not trailed at any point since their Game 1 loss. Now three games into the Stanley Cup Final, trends are starting to emerge, and the head coaches of both teams are trying to make changes on the fly.

But in the last two games, the Knights have hit a wall against a stout defensive Capitals group that smothers the opposition in the neutral zone, especially once they get a lead.

Merritt bought a crab from a local restaurant before Game 3 and brought it into the arena with hope. Monday's Game 4 could put him on the threshold of sheer ecstasy.

"The Stick" was wielded by Holtby, who used it late in Game 2 to snuff a close-in shot by Alex Tuch in a 3-2 Washington victory. "A lot of guys make mistakes in a hockey game ⅛and⅜ they don't end up in the back of the net". Humboldt Broncos forward Kaleb Dahlgren was also on hand.

Dahlgren got a nice reaction from the crowd and then a roar when he lifted up his yellow Humboldt jersey to reveal a red Capitals jersey.

This much is certain: The reeling Golden Knights were looking for something, anything, to build upon when they entered Game 4, and a 1-0 lead would have been splendid.

Connolly added another power-play goal for Washington with 69 seconds remaining to round out the scoring for Washington, which now sits just one win away from the Cup after all the playoff heartbreak that dots its history.

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Really, the difference comes down to Marc-Andre Fleury. Not long after that, Smith-Pelly scored from a tough angle on the left side after a weird bounce.

Vegas winger James Neal hitting the post early in the first epitomized their lack of puck luck.

"It's the Stanley Cup final", Ovechkin said.

Vegas' first major professional sports team is three wins away from completing the greatest and most unlikely championship season in the history of North American sports.

If they don't, it could be a quicker series than most predicted. Perron has struggled in the postseason without a goal in 14 games after scoring 16 during the regular season.

If the five Golden Knights skaters were outcompeted during this scramble, Fleury wasn't. Vegas' average shot distance in Game 3 was about 42 feet.

Fall Out Boy is playing the pregame concert at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, two days after Sting and Shaggy. Now, he's a happily married man who is two wins away from cementing his spot among the NHL's greatest players with a title.

"There was nothing that he could have done", Gallant said. He plays the game like everybody else.

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The Golden Knights traded a 2018 first-, 2019 second- and 2021 third-round pick to Detroit for Tatar at the deadline.

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