All of a sudden, the NHL’s Cinderella Story that is the Vegas Golden Knights has its back up against the wall in the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Two-straight wins from the Eastern Conference side has put Alex Ovechkin and Co. up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series for the most famous trophy in all of sports while it was the first time the Knights had dropped consecutive games this postseason.
Granted, anything of note is a record for the Knights, who are in their first season in the NHL and just the second franchise in league history to make the Stanley Cup Final. Though the St. Louis Blues’ appearance should have an asterisk considering they came out of a division that consisted only of expansion teams in 1968.
While all the focus is on the first-year Knights, who have stolen the hearts of hockey fans everywhere, the Capitals are on the cusp of winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, which dates back to 1974.
With this being their first appearance in the Final since 1998, it provides Alex Ovechkin with his first opportunity to play for a title; a well-deserved one considering he’s become one of the game’s greatest pure goal scorers.
Another win in Washington tonight would give the Capitals a 3-1 series lead, which is an almost insurmountable one when it comes to the Cup Final. While there have been 28 teams in NHL history to overturn a 3-1 playoff series deficit, it’s only happened once in the Stanley Cup Final. That was when the Toronto Maple Leafs overcame a 3-0 deficit in 1942 against the Detroit Red Wings.
Much of the Capitals’ success over the past two games have to go to their defense, which has limited the Knights to just three combined goals after allowing six in Game 1.
“Offensive teams have certain tendencies, certain routes that they take through the neutral zone, plays they like to make, so if you can be on top of them and turn over some pucks, stifle them, make it hard for them to gain entry with possession, that frustrates skilled players,” Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said (h/t Stephen Whyno, Baltimore Sun). ” If you can be in their face, just standing in the way, it’s amazing what that does.”
They’ll look to continue frustrating Vegas on Monday night. Here is how you can catch all the action:
Stanley Cup Game 4 viewing information
Date: Monday, Jun. 4
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Live Extra
Live Stream: fuboTV