WASHINGTON -- In a rematch of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, the Capitals jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and the Vegas Golden Knights were never able to recover as Washington earned the 5-2 win on Saturday. The win extends the Caps' win streak to six games and points streak to 11.
Here is how the Caps won.
The first six minutes
On Thursday, the Caps scored 25 seconds into the game against the Florida Panthers, but failed to take advantage and gave up a goal to Frank Vatrano just 95 seconds later. Washington again got off to a fast start on Saturday with a breakaway goal 58 seconds in.
This time, they did not allow a quick rally and kept pushing the tempo. Jonathan Marchessault had to take a hooking penalty to prevent a T.J. Oshie back-door goal as the Caps were buzzing. Washington did not score on the resulting power play, but Tom Wilson put the Caps up 2-0 just 15 seconds after Marchessault came out of the box.
A perfect breakout
If you want to know what a good breakout looks like in hockey, just watch the beautiful work the Caps did on Kuznetsov's early goal.
As Vegas tried to enter the offensive zone, Dmitry Orlov cut-off the puck and started the breakout effort for Washington. He passed the puck behind the net to Radko Gudas. Gudas passed it up the wall to Jakub Vrana. At that point, confident the Caps had possession, Kuznetsov took off down the ice. Vrana passed it middle to Orlov who had wheeled around after the initial pass. Orlov had two options at that point as he was taking the puck out of the defensive zone. Tom Wilson was open on the left and Kuznetsov was in the middle of three Golden Knights players. The difference, however, was that Kuznetsov had a full head of steam and just needed a good pass to launch the breakaway. Orlov thread the needle and Kuznetsov made no mistake on the breakaway, going forehand and cutting left to beat Marc-Andre Fleury blocker-side.
With the score 2-1 late in the second period, the game suddenly was very close. Neither team could really seize the momentum in what was a sluggish period until Jonas Siegenthaler gave Washington some breathing room.
Washington dumped the puck into the offensive zone. Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore got there first and tried to clear it along the boards. Travis Boyd blocked the clear and held the puck in the corner. He looked up and managed to find Siegenthaler coming in alone from the opposite corner of the blue line. Both players showed great patience on the play as Boyd fed Siegenthaler the puck and he took all the time he needed to aim it and fire past Fleury.
The goal was a special one for two reasons. First, it was Siegenthaler's first-career NHL goal. Second, it came on the one-year anniversary of his NHL debut.
The penalty kill
If the Caps did one thing wrong in this game, it was the penalties. Washington gave Vegas four power plays on the night and they came at critical moments in the game.
Gudas was called for interference with three seconds remaining in the first period. Just 28 seconds after Siegenthaler handed the Caps some breathing room with his insurance tally, Garnet Hathaway was called for elbowing. Oshie was called for roughing when he took down Brayden McNabb after time had expired in the second period giving Vegas a full two-minute power play to start the third and Washington took a too many men penalty early in the third period while clinging to a one-goal lead.
The penalty kill delivered again, however, even on a night in which Carl Hagelin was out with an upper-body injury. Washington gave up only one goal on the four opportunities.
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