LAS VEGAS – The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a third-period deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals 6-3 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on Monday night.
After going down 4-3 in the opening minutes of the third period, Vegas would score three straight unanswered goals to take the 6-3 win and move three wins shy of their first Stanley Cup in their inaugural season.
“They worked hard and competed hard,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said of his team. “When you work hard and compete hard, it is nice to see the guys get rewarded.”
As they have done a majority of the postseason, the Golden Knights would get on the scoreboard first. Colin Miller opened the scoring when he took a pass from Erik Haula, beating Washington goaltender Braden Holtby to make it 1-0. Miller’s goal would begin a four-goal opening 20 minutes that saw each side get two tallies apiece.
Washington would take the lead with two straight goals in the final few minutes of the opening frame. Brett Connolly would redirect Michal Kempny’s shot for his fifth goal of the playoffs. The Capitals took their first lead of the evening with a tally from Nicklas Backstrom less than a minute later but William Karlsson’s goal made it 2-2 after the first period.
Reilly Smith gave the Golden Knights back the lead when he took a pass from Deryk Englland from behind the net and put the puck into an open net to make it 3-2. Washington knotted the score back up at 3-3 with a goal from John Carlson just before the middle stanza ended.
Tom Wilson gave the Capitals the early 4-3 lead with a goal past Golden Knights netminder Marc Andre-Fleury in the third period. From there, it was all Vegas as the home team scored three consecutive goals to take Game 1.
Ryan Reaves’s unassisted goal at 2:41 of the final 20 minutes tied the game at four goals apiece. Then two straight goals from Tomas Nosek capped off the scoring to make it a 6-3 final.
“When you see those guys get rewarded,” Gallant said. “He (Nosek) got some huge goals for us in the third period.”
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Las Vegas. It will likely be a much tighter game since the opening game of the series saw just two penalties.
“I’m not overly happy with that game,” said Gallant. “It was a bit of a sloppy game with two teams feeling each other out. I’m sure Wednesday will be a better game.”