The Washington Capitals are clinging to a 3-2 lead against the Vegas Golden Knights late in the third period in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Eakin fired a pass to winger Alex Tuch, who had what appeared to be an easy wrist shot before Holtby leaped across, stopping the shot with his paddle before controlling the puck.
With center Evgeny Kuznetsov shelved by a hard hit that left him hunched over and wincing in pain-and Nicklas Backstrom basically stickhandling with nine adult fingers and one baby eggplant-Lars Eller delivered a goal and two assists.
"You could see the emotion on our bench", said head coach Barry Trotz.
Gerard Gallant did not match lines at home for Games 1 and 2, so don't expect the Vegas Golden Knights head coach to be anxious about who plays against who when the series shifts to Washington for Games 3 and 4. Brooks Orpik, who hadn't scored a goal in since February 20, 2016 (220 games including the regular season and playoffs), scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The Capitals joined the National Hockey League in 1974 and have only advanced to the Stanley Cup finals once and lost 20 years ago. The Golden Knights have scored the opening goal in the first period of all nine of their postseason home games.
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The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Here's what it comes down to: We had an incredible hockey game for about 42 minutes, instead of playing safe, boring, typical Stanley Cup Final hockey, these teams said screw it and played fast and played to their strengths, rather than trying to hide perceived weaknesses.
The Capitals opened the playoffs with two losses to Columbus before roaring back to win four straight. We can go out and win games on the road.
Holtby didn't have time to slide to his right, and as Tuch fired, the goaltender extended himself as far as he could. Whoever has to step up to make plays, we're all there as a team to support each other.
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Holtby, who made 37 saves in the win, wasn't as overwhelmed by the play, which went viral quickly.
So actually, perhaps it was the hockey gods who made it all possible. Lisa Motley, director of sports marketing and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Professional sports have been a staple for Las Vegas for decades with championship boxing matches, PGA golf tour events and the National Finals Rodeo.
Washington also showed its mettle on the penalty kill, limiting the Golden Knights to a single goal in four attempts - including a 5-on-3 on the third period. "Whatever. He takes a beating on that, but I don't think anybody in here gives a crap".
Jay Beagle: "I was backchecking".
"He's just a battler", Trotz said of Orpik. Shea Theodore feathered a fluttering puck through traffic and past Braden Holtby late in the second period, bringing Vegas within a goal.
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In postseason failures of yore, this would have been the moment when it all unraveled for Washington. He surrendered five goals in Game 1 - six in total if you count the empty netter to effectively seal the deal. T-Mobile Arena reported 18,702 fans in the sold-out building, setting a franchise record for attendance.