- Alexander Ovechkin continues to play like a man on a mission as he attempts to win his first Stanley Cup in his hall-of-fame career
- Braden Holtby and Marc-Andre Fleury continue to duel for the Conn Smythe Trophy
- Can the third and fourth lines provide secondary scoring to give either team an edge
Game 4 Date and Puck Drop
Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals host Marc-Andre Fleury and the Golden Knights in Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, scheduled for Monday June 4th (8:00pm EST) at Capital One Arena.
Alexander Ovechkin Rising to the Occasion
Alexander Ovechkin has been the NHL most profilic scorer since being drafted first overall in 2004 by the Washington Capitals. In Ovechkin’s 13-year career, he has won seven scoring titles (tied with Bobby Hull for the most ever), has the most overtime goals, and most goals by a Russian player.
There is no argument, Ovechkin is a generational talent.
However, the 32-year-old has never enjoyed much success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, until now. We’re seeing a different Ovechkin on the ice, one who has recorded a point in each game of the Finals thus far, and has a goal in each of the last two.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) May 31, 2018
Ovechkin’s presence isn’t only being felt with the puck, though, as The Great 8 is also making clutch defensive plays, and sacrificing his body.
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz pointed to a play in Game 2 where Ovechkin blocked a shot, then dove to poke the puck out of the defensive zone. These type of plays are noticed by teammates, and are needed to win championships.
Braden Holtby and Marc-Andre Fleury are both playing like superstars, and both in serious contention for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Fleury has an astonishing 1.88 GAA and .939 SV%, while Holtby enters Game 4 with a 2.19 GAA and .921 SV%.
And this save is going to be remembered for a long time
— NHL (@NHL) May 31, 2018
Both goalies must continue to stand on their head, as both offenses are too potent.
At this point in the year, with each team having played over 100 games, depth scoring is essential. Players like Lars Eller and Brett Connelly need to continue to provide the Captials with scoring.
The Vegas Golden Knights have largely been reliant upon their first two lines to provide the offense through the first three games of the series. Vegas needs players like David Perron, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to show up on the score sheet and start providing some relief to even this series at two.
Game 3 Recap
It will be Game 3 that is seen as the turning point in this series if Washington does hang on to win the Stanley Cup.
Ovechkin continued his scoring streak, leaping over Brayden McNabb to score the first goal of the game. The captain set the tone for the Capitals as they dominated all night. Kuznetsov returned from his injury and scored his 12th goal of the playoffs, while Devonte Smith-Pelley sealed the game mid way through the third.
— NHL (@NHL) June 3, 2018
The Golden Knights looked slow and run down in Game 3. For the first time in the playoffs, Marc-Andre Fluery looked mortal, posting a pedestrian .885 SV%. Tomas Nosek had the only goal for the Golden Knights, as they fell 3-1 in the game and find themselves down 2-1 in the series.
Game 4 Injury Report
There are no injuries to report heading into Game 4.
Game 4 Opening Odds
|Capitals -130||Capitals -1.5 (+220)||5.5 (-110)u|
|Golden Knights +110||Golden Knights +1.5 (-260)||5.5 (-110)o|
Game 4 Prediction
Expect to see more defense in Game 4, as both goalies continue to be the stars. However, Ovechkin’s third period heroics will push the Capitals to a commanding 3-1 series lead, inching closer to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
Capitals win 2-1