Devante Smith-Pelly scored another enormous goal and Evgeny Kuznetsov racked up four points Monday night as the Caps seized control of the Stanley Cup Final with a 6-2 victory over the visiting Golden Knights in Game 4.
Washington, which overcame a sluggish start to earn its third straight win, can clinch the franchise’s first championship Thursday night in Las Vegas.
The Golden Knights, meantime, have their work cut out: no team has come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win a Stanley Cup Final since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who rallied from down 3-0.
Here are my 3 stars of Game 4.
3 stars of Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 4
1. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals
Kuznetsov already owns the franchise record for points in a single postseason.
On Monday, the postseason’s leader in points padded that cushion, racking up three primary assists and a secondary assist. He’s now up to a whopping 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists) in 23 games.
Since returning from the upper body injury that forced him out of Game 2, Kuzy has a goal and five helpers.
2. Devante Smith-Pelly, Capitals
In the second period, the capacity crowd at Capital One Arena began to chant, ‘D-S-P!’ after the fourth line winger followed another strong defensive play with a big hit. Smith-Pelly’s signature play of the night, though, was a nifty goal he scored on a broken play with 21 seconds remaining in the first period.
The goal, DSP’s second in two games, put the Caps in command, 3-0. Smith-Pelly now has six goals in 23 postseason games; he had seven goals in 75 regular season games.
3. Braden Holtby, Capitals
Although he wasn’t able to get his third shutout of the postseason, he was dialed in all night as he made 28 stops. In Game 1, Holtby allowed five goals, equaling the worst postseason outing of his career. In the last three games, the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner has allowed a total of five goals. Not bad for a goalie who started the postseason as his team’s No. 2 option.
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