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Capitals vs Golden Knights: Stanley Cup Finals Game 2 Preview

SBD Staff Writer

by SBD Staff Writer in NHL Hockey

May 30, 2018 · 12:25 PM PDT

The Vegas Golden Knights celebrating a goal
The Vegas Golden Knights will look to take a 2-0 series lead as they host the Washington Capitals for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo by Michael Miller (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • The Golden Knights are 7-1 at home this post-season
  • The Capitals are the best road team of the 2018 playoffs
  • The Golden Knights have a +18 GF/GA differential overall, the Capitals +17.

All eyes will be on Las Vegas, Nevada tonight, as the Vegas Golden Knights host the Washington Capitals for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, May 30th at 8pm EST.

After blowing through their first three rounds of playoff hockey (ever!), the Golden Knights started the finals with a bang. And, I don’t just mean their opening ceremonies.

Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 Recap

Colin Miller, one of the many unexpected star players for the Golden Knights this season, blasted home his third goal of the playoffs on the power-play just over seven minutes into the opener.

And though the Capitals responded with goals from Brett Connolly (5th of the playoffs), and Nicklas Backstrom (5th) less than a minute apart, the brightest of all unexpected stars from Vegas, William “Wild Bill” Karlsson, tied the game with under two minutes to play in the first period.

This type of play and response is typical from Vegas; they’ve done it all year and their passionate fans are a big part of it. The fans get them going early, and the team doesn’t like to let them down before the buzzer sounds.

After a back-and-forth second period, Tomas Nosek banged in his second goal of the playoffs around the midpoint of the third, putting Vegas up 5-4. The Golden Knights wouldn’t look back from there, and Nosek put the icing on the cake with an empty-netter just before the final horn sounded.

Game 2 Opening Odds

Puck Line Moneyline Over/Under
Capitals +1.5 (-220) Capitals (+130) Over (5.5, -120)
Golden Knights -1.5 (+180) Lightning (-150) Under (5.5, EVEN)

Alenxander Ovechkin Needs to Step Up in Game 2

After leading the Capitals through the first three rounds of the playoffs, including a clutch Game 7 performance in Tampa Bay, Washington’s captain had a dismal performance in Game 1 in Vegas.

Ovechkin failed to jump-start his team with any dangerous rushes, booming shots, or crushing body checks. One could denote the effort to fatigue, which would make sense after going the distance with the Lightning and giving it everything he had. But now is not the time for fatigue.

Game two will go a long way in unveiling what Ovechkin is really made of. He leads the NHL Playoffs in points on the road (15), so we know he has it in him. Another flop will virtually make Game 3 an all-or-nothing situation for Washington, but a win would clear the board and give the Capitals new life in a best-of-five series for the Holy Grail.

golden knights
13-3 Record in 2018 Postseason 12-8
49-31 Goals For-Goals Against 70-53
19.2% (10th) Postseason Powerplay % 28,3% (3rd)
82.8% (4th) Postseason Penalty Kill % 74.2% (11th)

Are the Chips Already Stacked Too High?

Though the Capitals are a star-laden powerhouse, is it already too late for them? Recent history suggests that losing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals alone can prove deadly.

Washington has the stronger name power, but Vegas’ strong team spirit and fanfare may be too much to overcome already being down a game.

Injury Report

Golden Knights CAPITALS
William Carrier: Day to Day None

Capitals vs Golden Knights Game 2 Prediction

Golden Knights 4: Capitals 3 OT 

Another close game should be played with the same back-and-forth intensity. Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov have a ton of pressure on them, and Vegas could be on their heels a bit defensively. I don’t expect their offensive game to dwindle, as it hasn’t since the regular season started back in October.

The goaltenders should be better, as they have proven over the course of not only these playoffs but their entire careers that they are game-changers.

The fans in Vegas will be the edge the team needs to push the pedal in extra-time, as I predict William Karlsson snipes the winner to give the improbable Golden Knights a 2-0 series lead.

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