I’ve put a lot of thought into this series, and every time I pick a side and tell someone else they have a new argument for the other team I haven’t considered and put me right back on the fence. So my pick?
Someone asked me at the pub tonight “who you got?” And I gave what may have seemed like the most uneducated fan answer.
“I don’t fuckin know” as I threw my hands up with a bit of mental exhaustion from the debate.
I’m sure you’ve seen every side of every argument, I’m not here to rehash it all. I will say one indisputable face:
Fleury has to play the same out-of-the-world play that we have seen thus far in order for Vegas to win this series.
And it didn’t look so good.
But the first goal goes to Vegas. Low cycle back to Colin Miller who blows one by Holtby. Originally I thought it was tipped, but nope, Holtby just couldn’t see.
Vegas outshot the Caps early, I think it was 7-1 at one point, but the third shot was from the point from Kempny, and Brett Connolly tips it to the only three inches of the net along the ice that Fleury isn’t covering. Tie game, 1-1. That was Washington’s third shot. 5:19 left.
4:37 left now (yes 42 seconds later), Oshie tries a wraparound which rolls off his stick to a pressing Backstrom who puts a light backhand by a downed Fleury (is his hand hurt? Light shot?) 2-1 Caps. Wow big turn around. 2 goals allowed by Fleury on 5 shots, and a cold chill is felt down the neck of George McPhee.
We aren’t done here. 1:14 remaining, and this is how this play went. “Shot bounce shot bounce bounce bounce Karlsson shot bounce off Holtby goal.” Vegas was getting bounces, and they capitalize on this one. Tie game going into the break.
Early in the third, a play goes like this. “Bounce shot bounce bounce pass bounce bounce Smith shot scores.” A lot more bounces that end up on a Golden Knights stick and behind Holtby. 3-2 courtesy of Reilly Smith.
I liked this goal, Vrana with pressure but the puck ends up on Backstrom’s stick. He passes to Carlson who is dropping on from the point. He fumbles the pass and it goes to Oshie, who everything thinks will shoot. Instead, he notices Carlson still streaming through the slot, Fleury challenges Oshie, but the guy fires a no look pass behind him to Carlson who has a wide open net. If you haven’t seen the highlight, check it out here.
One note, I hate the stat “this line has combined for 51 points in the playoffs.” A huge fuck-off for that stat. Completely irrelevant – did they play together for 17 goals or did it break up on special teams? Or did it come as assists in point shots? Garbage stat. Give me individual player stats or give me the goals they have created as a line, not something that widespread.
And this is where I fell asleep. I vaguely remember Washington going up 4-3. A puck hits Tom Wilson, gets into Fleury’s skates and he basically kicks it in himself.
But all Vegas here on in. The next goal went something like this: “bounce bounce pass blocked bounce bounce Ryan Reaves snipe.” Yeah, not a typo, guy put it top corner on Holtby to tie the game at 4.
The next goal, on a failed Capitals clearing attempt, ends up on the stick of Theodore who lures in Smith-Pelly and from the high side boards threads a pass to Nosek on the other side of Holtby for a one-timer to give the team the lead. What a crazy game.
The hit in Marchessault by Wilson was late, maybe a bit excessive. That’s all I have to say.
Nosek puts in an empty netter with 3 seconds left. This was the best game (two periods) I’ve seen of the playoffs so far. We are in for a treat!
– Bob Zagozewski