Evgeny Kuznetsov finished with one goal and three assists while Alex Ovechkin scored twice as the Washington Capitals defeated the visiting Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 Wednesday night in a rematch of last spring’s Stanley Cup Final.
Washington defeated Vegas in five games in the championship round and won the first Stanley Cup in team history.
This season, the Capitals’ offense has scored 18 goals in the first three games. In addition to Kuznetsov and Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom (one goal, one assist),T.J. Oshie (one goal), Brett Connolly (two assists) and John Carlson (two assists) all pitched in.
Goalie Braden Holtby also helped out, finishing with 29 saves and frustrating Vegas much like he did in the Stanley Cup Final. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 stops.
Washington took a 1-0 lead on a Kuznetsov power-play goal with 34.5 seconds remaining in the first period.
Backstrom started the play with a perfect pass from the right side that found Kuznetsov in front, and he quickly redirected it past Fleury. The Capitals held a 9-4 edge in shots in that first period, often keeping the Vegas offense quiet.
The Golden Knights turned up the heat offensively in the second period, getting 16 shots on goal, but the Capitals still held on to a 2-1 lead after two.
Ovechkin gave Washington a 2-0 lead at 10:18 in the period when he one-timed a pass from Kuznetsov past Fleury from the left circle. However, Vegas answered 31 seconds later when Cody Eakin scored a wrap-around goal on a solid individual effort.
Backstrom then added the team’s second power-play goal of the night at 5:08 of the third period off a Kuznetsov pass, which gave Washington a 3-1 lead.
The Golden Knights answered two minutes later on a Reilly Smith goal that cut the lead to 3-2. Then, Ovehchin scored after another cross-ice pass from Kuznetsov, and that goal gave Washington a 4-2 edge with 9:27 left.
Max Pacioretty appeared to cut the margin to one again with just over six minutes left, but Washington challenged the play, and it was ruled offsides. Oshie then added an empty-net goal later to clinch it.
—Field Level Media