The Metro Division meets the Pacific Division in the Stanley Cup Finals and the Vegas Golden Knights will battle it out with the Washington Capitals in game three of their best-of-seven series as the scene shifts to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The Capitals tied the series at 1-1 with a 3-2 win on Wednesday night. Goalie Probables: Marc-Andre Fleury (13-4, 1.88 GAA) will protect the crease for the Golden Knights in this one, while the Capitals will send out Braden Holtby (13-7, 2.19 GAA).
Golden Knights Loook To Snatch Back Home-Ice Advantage
The Vegas Golden Knights have played very well at home this year and they did head into their game on Wednesday night having gone 7-1 at home in the postseason so far, but they could not keep it going as the Caps took that game by a score of 3-2. Now the Golden Knights must try and win at least one of the two games here in the Nation’s Capital to get their home-ice advantage back. The Golden Knights took a 1-0 lead in the game on James Neal’s 5th goal of the postseason, but Washington went on to score the next three goals and the Golden Knights just couldn’t catch up after that. Shea Theodore made it interesting with his 3rd goal of the postseason with just 2:13 left in the game, but they just couldn’t get the tying goal. The loss broke a five-game win streak they were one. The Golden Knights have gone 28-21 on the road and they have averaged 2.86 gpg and have allowed 2.82 gpg in those games.
Absorbing the loss in the game was Marc-Andre Fleury, who allowed three goals on 26 shot attempts to fall to 13-4 with a 1.88 GAA and a .939 save percentage in the postseason this year and 75-55 with a 2.54 GAA and a .913 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 29-17 with a 2.24 ERA and a .927 save percentage overall, including 13-7 with a 2.11 GAA and a .934 save percentage on the road. Fleury has gone 22-14 with a 2.54 GAA and a .914 save percentage in his career (regular season) against the Capitals.
Vegas has been average on offense in the playoffs so far as they come in ranked 8th in scoring at 3.06 gpg, while also ranking 9th in shots taken (32.1 spg) and 10th in power play conversions, converting on 19.3% of their chances. They have been very strong at the defensive end of the ice, during the postseason, as they come in ranked 2nd in goals allowed, giving up 2.00 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots allowed (32.9 spg) and 5th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.3% of their chances.
Capitals Steal One The Road
In every best-of-seven series, the first goal of the road team is to take at least one game in their opponent’s building and the Washington Capitals did just that with their 3-2 win on Wednesday night. The Capitals have now grabbed home-ice advantage in this series, but that doesn’t mean it is a good thing for them as they have gone just 4-5 at home in the postseason so far. Let’s also note that the Capitals lost their lone home game against the Golden Knights during the regular season. Washington must now avoid losing one of these two games at home or they will give back the home-ice advantage they just stole in Vegas. Scoring in the game two win was Lars Eller, which was his 6th of the postseason, Alex Ovechkin, which was his 13th and Brooks Orpik, which was his 1st of the postseason. Orpik had not scored in his previous 220 game and it was just his 3rd playoff goal in his 12-year career. The Capitals have gone 32-18 at home for the year and have averaged 3.32 gpg and have allowed 2.60 gpg in those games.
Snatching up the win was Braden Holtby, who stopped 37 of the 39 shots that he faced to move to 13-7 with a 2.19 GAA and a .921 save percentage in the postseason this year and 42-37 with a 2.04 GAA and a .929 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 34-20 with a 2.99 GAA and a .907 save percentage overall, including 22-9 with a 2.41 GAA and a .921 save percentage on the road. Holtby was 0-1 with a 3.01 GAA and a .893 save percentage against the Golden Knights this year.
The Capitals come into this game ranked 2nd in scoring during the postseason at 3.48 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots taken (32.4 spg) and 2nd in power play conversions, converting on 29.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, during the postseason, they have been very solid so far as they come in ranked 5th in goals allowed, giving up 2.62 gpg, while also ranking 2nd in shots allowed (29.0 spg) and 11th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 25.4% of their chances.
- 25-7 in their last 32 after scoring two goals or less in their previous game
- 16-5 in their last 21 vs. a team with a winning record
- 1-5 in their last six Stanley Cup Finals games
The Golden Knights have now lost their home-ice advantage, but I expect them to grab it back in this one. The Caps were a good home team during the regular season, but they have gone just 4-5 here at home during the playoffs and the Golden Knights have gone 6-2 on the road in the postseason, plus they have beaten the caps here at the Verizon Center during the regular season. Braden Holtby has played well at home, but still, I feel that Fleury rates the edge with experience and that will start to show the deeper we get into this series. Washington will be excited to have their 3rd ever Stanley Cup Final home playoff game, but I will still look for the Golden Knights to come out on top