Golden Knights edge Capitals in Game 1 of Stanley Cup final

Golden Knights edge Capitals in Game 1 of Stanley Cup final

As far as history goes, there has never been a Stanley Cup final quite like the one the National Hockey League is about to experience. "I remember everything", said Marchessault, who went through concussion protocol but returned to finish the game. With its sellout crowd of hometown fans at deafening volume all night, Vegas put its usual speed and relentlessness on full display while overcoming that third-period deficit to win the opener of a matchup between two franchises seeking their first Stanley Cup titles. "They're a team that's very fast in the neutral zone, and we gave them too much respect with the puck". Marchessault was forced to the dressing room, but would return to the ice minutes later.

As the score would attest, offense wasn't in short supply in Game 1.

The rest of the series might not match that pace, but if it comes close it's going to be awesome.

And one thing the Capitals may be able to take advantage of is the historical tendency for first-time Cup contenders to have some early series jitters. John Carlson leads defensemen in playoff scoring with three goals and 16 points, including 10 points on Washington's fearsome power play, and he leads the Caps with an average ice time of 25:59.




Unburdened by the pressure of the No. 1 ranking, the Capitals have been focused and purposeful.

Entering the Stanley Cup Final, the Golden Knights ranked second in goals-against average (1.80) and the Capitals were second in scoring (3.47 goals per game). From MacLellan to captain Alex Ovechkin, star center Nicklas Backstrom, goaltender Braden Holtby and management staffs on either side, this final in many ways is a validation of McPhee's philosophy, knowledge and career. Never separated by more than one goal until the empty netter. "You're on call for them all the time, you're trying to help them, you try to steer them in the right direction". The 2011 Boston Bruins were the last team to rally after losing the opener when they beat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games. Coincidentally, both were triple-overtime outings and both were won after 50-plus minutes of extra time.

Monday marked the first game for the Capitals in the final since their only other appearance in 1998 when they were swept in four straight by Detroit. Kicked around the past five years for trading Filip Forsberg to Nashville for Martin Erat and not being able to bring the Cup to Washington, McPhee has his fingerprints all over this final after building the foundation of each team. And no matter what the past indicates, the Golden Knights and Capitals will be who ultimately decide their own future.

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