The team at Adam Kutner Cares gave away two tickets and a Zamboni ride to the Vegas Golden Knights’ game against the Washington Capitals last night. For more pics of our winner, head to our Facebook page.
It was a rematch of last season’s Stanley Cup finals. The reigning champions Washington Capitals came to town for the first time since clinching the cup in June. It was bound to be an emotional game for both teams.
“We wanted that game. We have some history there and we wanted it. We wanted it a little bit more than them and I think it showed. They played a pretty darn good game and I think we did too.” – Cody Eakin, VGK center
It didn’t take long for Vegas to get things going as coach Gerard Gallant started the game with his fourth line covering Washington’s top line. That first shift set the tempo for the rest of the period. Ryan Reaves and William Carrier made their presence felt with a few early hits on the Capitals star players.
“I mean you look at that top line of theirs and it’s pretty big and physical, so I wanted to match up our guys with those guys and they did an excellent job. They kept them for the most part in the other zone and did a real good job. So, with the size and strength that we got on our so-called fourth line has been excellent all year long. They deserved the challenge and they rose to the challenge and did a good job.” – Gerard Gallant, VGK Coach
Reaves continued his play throughout the first period and was rewarded with the opening goal of the game. The power forward scored his sixth of the season on a nice touch pass by Cody Eakin and Oscar Lindberg. Vegas took an early 1-0 lead two and half minutes into the game.
After the Capitals tied the game on a costly Vegas turnover, the game started to get a little chippy. Washington’s antagonizer Tom Wilson was upended by Reaves, creating some tension on the ice.
The second period was back and forth until Washington’s Alex Ovechkin slipped a backhand shot past Fleury for the 2-1 Capitals lead.
“We were up 2-1 there, and we had a chance to make the lead 3-1 there. So, if we do that, maybe that’s a different game. All these errors you have to take advantage of, but at the same time you have to give a lot of credit to them. I think they really came out hard in the third period there.” – Nicklaus Backstrom, WAS center
The second period ended in a 2-1 Capitals lead but a controversial hit by Reaves left Vegas down a man for five minutes. Washington’s Tom Wilson was crushed by Reaves on open ice forcing the referees to get involved. Wilson left the game with a head injury, and Reaves was given a game misconduct.
After Vegas killed five minutes in penalties, the tide had turned on the ice. Alternate Captain Pierre-Eduard Bellemare beautifully deflected a soft shot past Washington goalie Braden Holtby, tying the game 2-2.
Before the public address announcer could announce Bellemare’s game-tying goal, Vegas’ Cody Eakin took the lead 16 seconds later. The Golden Knights worked hard all game to take over the lead 3-2.
“It was incredible, I thought our guys did a fantastic job. Flower had a couple of good saves as well. Sometimes those parts of the game are so instrumental to what you want to do as a team. There are times in a game where you look at it and say, okay, we are in this game with a five-minute power play against a team with the best power play in the league for the last however many years. It’s a challenge and our guys were excited for it. It was one of those things we took pride in and I know our group had that feeling if we could go out there and kill it. We will have a lot of momentum for the rest of the game.” – Nate Schmidt, VGK defenseman
Washington tied it up 3-3, and the game looked like the game was heading to overtime. Capitals forward Nic Dowd high-sticked Brayden McNabb in the face causing the Golden Knights defensemen to bleed. Vegas was awarded a four-minute power play. Former Capital Nate Schmidt took advantage and sharpshooted the puck by Holtby for the game winner. Schmidt added another on an empty-net goal to seal the victory for Vegas 5-3.
Vegas improves their record to (15-13-1) good enough for 31 points, tied for third in the Pacific division. The Golden Knights next take the ice Thursday night to play the Chicago Blackhawks. Game time is at 7pm.