The Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0 Monday night in Washington.
The game within the game: The Capitals have scored 26 fewer goals than the Golden Knights. A high-scoring affair would benefit the Golden Knights. A low-scoring game would benefit the Capitals.
First period: As expected, the beginning of the period was sluggish for both teams. The Golden Knights had three days off to the Capitals two days off prior to Monday’s game. The Golden Knights got better as the period progressed and had multiple breakaways. Mark Stone created multiple scoring chances with solid forechecking.
Keegan Kolesar took exception to a clean hit by Dylan McIlrath on Jonas Rondbjerg. Credit Kolesar for standing up for his teammates, but McIlrath got the better of this bout.
The only goal of the period was by Dylan Strome of the Capitals with just over three minutes remaining. Ben Hutton pinched which created a two-on-one for the Capitals and Strome was able to snipe one by Logan Thompson.
Second period: Paul Cotter was assessed a five-minute major and a match penalty for an illegal check to the head of Evgeny Kuznetsov just over five minutes into the period. The Capitals were unable to capitalize and the Golden Knights generated multiple scoring chances of their own including a William Karlsson breakaway.
Michael Amadio had a pair of good looks but Charlie Lindgren kept a clean sheet intact through two periods.
Third period: The Golden Knights shot early and often. It felt like the Golden Knights had the puck in the offensive zone for most of the period. Connor McMichael scored for the Captals with the net empty. Beck Malenstyn scored just 16 seconds later to secure the Capitals 3-0 victory.
Turning point: Cotter’s match penalty slowed down the momentum the Golden Knights had from the end of the first period. Coach Bruce Cassidy had to mix up lines for the remainder of the game in Cotter’s absence.
Key storyline: Lindgren put on a masterclass goaltending performance in the 35-save shutout. The Golden Knights had multiple breakaways, chances from the slot, screens, and deflections. Games like these happen throughout the year. Credit Lindgren for a brilliant performance.
Quotable: “Just got to capitalize on your chances, four breakaways. Need to capitalize on some of those looks for sure.” Mark Stone after the loss. “We had some great chances, their goaltender was good. Good for him.” Brayden McNabb on the loss. “We won’t dwell on it. I don’t think we are that type of group. We will talk on how we will be better on our power play and finishing plays around the net.” Coach Cassidy on what needs to go better next game.
Next up: The Golden Knights continue the road trip against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.