The Caps did a much better job not allowing the Vegas Golden Knights to dictate the pace of play, but still fell 4-3 to the speedy Knights on Sunday. Here's why.
The Capitals struggled to keep control of the puck giving up several turnovers, including a few in the defensive zone. Washington seemed to struggle with the Golden Knights' relentless forecheck. Vegas' first goal was the result of a Matt Niskanen turnover in the defensive zone which led to a flurry by Vegas. Niskanen got the puck back and then failed to clear it. He shot it off the wall, but it was corraled at the blue line and ended up in the back of the Caps' net. Washington also struggled through the neutral zone as they tried a lot of stretch passes that Vegas was able to read and pick off.
No one able to separate Reilly Smith from the puck
In the second period, Vegas was on the power play. Reilly Smith was fed the puck in the slot and got the quick shot off. It was saved by Philipp Grubauer. He then proceeded to shoot the puck again off the rebound and then again off the second rebound for the goal despite being surrounded by John Carlson and Jay Beagle. Someone has to get the puck or knock Smith away. He should not be able to get both rebounds.
A defensive breakdown in the 3rd period
Jonathan Marchessault skated the puck through the middle of the neutral zone with Smith on his left. Madison Bowey attempted to challenge him in the neutral zone with his stick. The way he challenged, however, left the passing lane to Smith open. Bowey needed to call for the switch with Brooks Orpik, who started the play on the left, or Orpik needed to recognize Bowey was committed to the challenge and shift right to cover Smith. Neither Bowey nor Orpik made the right play, however, leaving Smith with an open lane on net. Then he beat Grubauer short-side as it looked like the Caps' netminder was anticipating a far-side shot.
The third period
Things got off to a great start as the Caps took a 3-2 lead less than a minute in. It went downhill after that. Not only did Vegas score twice in the third to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead, but Washington was outshot 11-6. Six is not enough and 11 is too many in a contested game like this. It looked as if the Caps were hoping to shut down the Knights after taking the early third-period lead, rather than continuing to push the pace.
Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.
The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.
It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown.
Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman.
Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram:
Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!
Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.
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After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.
Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother.
Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.
After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth.
The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.
She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.
Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!
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