Washington Capitals take Game 3 with a 3-1 win in Stanley Cup Finals
Action from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. | Photo: nhl.com
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Washington Capitals win 3-1. Take a 2-1 lead in Cup Finals.

39.5: Holtby freezes the puck.

1:39: Icing as Carlson attempted a rink long shot which was wide.

ill Vegas pull Fleury early to try to tie this game? 2:41 remaining and Fleury goes ti the bench.

4:54 to go in the third period. That third goal could have been the dagger in the heart of the Golden Knights. The Caps have dented the armor of the Knights.

Good hustle play by Jay Beagle who got to the puck in the right corner and placed a perfect pass on Smith-Pelly's stick. He was skating right to left and is a right-hand shot, so he shot to his right beating Fleury cleanly. It was Beagle's second assist in the game.

6:07: Smith-Pelly scores! 3-1 Caps!

12:25: Deryk Engelland got called for tripping which was a bad call. The replay showed that Niklas Backstrom was tripped by his own man's stick and not Engelland's. The officiating has left a lot to be desired in this game. Plenty of crosschecking without any calls have been witnessed.

16:10: Holtby wandered out of his net and Tomas Nosek scored into an open net to cut the lead in half.  2-1 Washingrton. That hushed the Caps' crowd.

17:10: Icing.

T.J. Oshie hits the post. The fourth post, two a side in this Game 3 action.

Third period under way, 4-on-4 to start play. Caps will have a short one-minute power play.

The third period is about to start and the Vegas Golden Knights have yet to lose back-to-back games in the 2018 playoffs. Will they be able to rally back from a two-goal deficit?

Capitals lead Vegas 2-0 after two periods. 

End of second period. Caps out-shooting the Golden Knights 21-13.

:21.2: Fleury gets called for tripping as he came out to grab a loose puck.

1:26: Smith-Pelly gets a tripping penalty. Vegas power play.

2:48: Fleury makes a great glove save on Tom Wilson... that was headed for the top right part of the net. 

Cody Eakin weaved through the Caps' zone and chipped the puck to himself to attempt a shot which went over the net.

Vegas has just 10 shots on goal and have none in the last five minutes.  

7:09: Kuznetsov scores on a 3-on-1 rush on a low shot from the right wing that Fleury couldn't handle. 2-0 Washington.

Vegas killed off the penalty.

9:00: Ovechkin from his 'office' and Fleury makes the save. 

John Carlson had his shot hit the right post, and that was the third post in this game.

10:02: Eric Huala got called for hooking. Caps' power play.

James Neal had a crushing hit on the Caps' Brooks Orpik behind the Caps' net and he went down hard. No penalties called. Neal actually hit Orpik using the back of his body, and Orpik didn't expect that.

Marchessault had an excellent chance as he worked his way through the defense and had a screen shot stopped by Holtby.

The crowd is chanting "FLEURY... FLEURY" in an attempt to get into the opposing goalie's head. 

That was Ovechkin's 14th goal of the playoffs.

18:50: Ovechkin scores! 1-0 Caps. On a series of five chances, the Caps' captain shot home a backhander as he was falling on his off wing. 

19:44: Offside as Vegas had a 3-on-2 rush.

All set to begin the middle stanza.

End of the first period. NO SCORE.

Capitals have blocked 15 shots in this period.

The action is back and forth as both teams are trying to force their opponent into a mistake to take the lead.

5:46: Jonathan Marchessault shot one off the right post for Vegas. That's their second post as Holtby has a friend to help him keep the game scoreless. 

1:30 remaining on the power play for Washington. They are trying to set up Ovechkin at every opportunity. 

At the halfway mark of the first the Caps have eight hits to two for the Golden Knights. Vegas had a 2-on-1 but Reilly Smith could not handle the pass and then got a penalty for holding at 11:21. Caps on their first power play.

12:23: TV timeout.

Good pressure by the Golden Knights, especially in keeping the puck in the offensive zone even after the power play expired.

Vegas making just two shots on the man advantage with 29 seconds remaining on the power play.

At 14:56 it looked looked like the Caps scored but it was negated due to... you guessed it... goaltender interference by Devante Smith-Pelly. Vegas on the power play.

At the 18:52 mark Alex Ovechkin had a 2-on-1 break in which Fleury came across to his left to make a great SAVE! Fleury saved a sure goal there.

Michal Kempny actually stepped on a puck during the pre-game skate and fell to the boards causing him to be bandaged up on his nose.

Finally, 25 minutes after the scheduled start time the puck was dropped.

I must admit the Caps got nothing on the Vegas pre-game extravaganza. It was well done but without the pomp and circumstance.

Starting lineups are being announced... Pat Sajak, a long-time Caps' fan will do the honors. He stated that he has had season tickets for 13 years. START THE GAME ALREADY! (I'll take a vowel)

The players are taking the ice... a sure sign that this game will begin soon, well... depending on how long the Caps' pre-game ceremonies take.

The fantastic save made by Holtby will give the network endless lead-ins for viewers to watch. They've shown it at least four times. Oh gee... ANOTHER commercial. Hang on there fans I'm hanging there fans, I'm going to be there for you to describe all the action.

It has been confirmed that Kuznetsov WILL play... that's HUGE for the Capitals. After the endless TV commercials Game 3 may soon begin... gotta pay the bills!

Right now the pre-game celebrations include Sting and Shaggy performing on the steps of the Smithsonian Institute... how apropos!  (Sting is 66-years-old)

It's apparent that Evgeny Kuznetsov would be in the lineup as he was out for the pre-game skate. Then, it was noticed that Michal Kempny went to the dressing room, as the NBCSP announcers tried to assess what happened to him. He could have been hit with an errant puck, as he was holding his hand to his face as he left. PUCK DROP IS EMINENT!


Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant mentioned, "We know it's never going to be easy to win a Stanley Cup. So you've just got to focus on the next game. You don't worry about the last game..."  The Knights' defenseman Shea Theodore said his team needs to be aware of the Capitals' physical game. "They're a fast group and they're physical. They finish all their checks and I think that's something we have to be a bit more aware of. We have to use our speed and we have to turn over less pucks defensively."

The other factor which may determine the winner of this game is that star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's play in the Finals. He has just a 3.56 goals-against average and a .870 save percentage. That's far below the stellar numbers he has been putting up with a 1.68 GAA and a .947 save percentage. Can he bounce back to his old self and stymie the Caps' attack?

Will home ice give the Capitals an advantage? It doesn't seem so thus far. The Caps are just 4-5 in their home digs and were fortunate to come up with a win in Game 2 thanks to a tremendous save by Braden Holtby  on Alex Tuch. Whether that will give the Capitals a push of momentum or the fact that the Golden Knight are 3-0 after a loss in the playoffs and a perfect 3-0 in Game 3 competition so far is yet to be determined.

The Capitals are hoping that their star center Evgeny Kuznetsov will be able to recover from an upper-body injury which caused him to leave Game 2 in the first period. He was able to practice on Friday. One player who hopes he is on the ice for this all-important Game 3 is his line mate Alex Ovechkin who plays on the line alongside Tom Wilson. If Kuznetsov is unable to go that would be a negative for the home team Capitals. He leads all scorers in the playoffs with 11 goals and 14 assists.  

The Vegas Golden Knights surprised every hockey pundit and fan when they formed a team of 'misfits' to get to this championship series. If anyone had predicted before this season began that Vegas would be here in the Finals they would have needed to get their head examined.

This is a series where each participant has never won a Cup, being that Vegas is in their initial season in the NHL and Washington hasn't been to the Finals since 1998 when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings. The Capitals have lost in the second round of the playoffs for the last three seasons, and see this as their opportunity to raise the Cup once and for all. 

Hello NHL fans! Welcome to Game 3 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals! Today's game features the Western Conference Champion Vegas Golden Knights and the Eastern Conference Champion Washington Capitals. The game starts at 8:00 PM EST from Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. My name is William Grigsby (Editor for Vavel's NHL section), and I will be your host for this evening, so open your favorite refreshment and snack and I'll give you all the details of the game.