Washington traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada for the first time to square off against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena less than 24 hours after doing the same in Arizona. Las Vegas, owners of a 14-2-1 home record, captured their fifteenth home ice win this season by outplaying their guests for the game’s full sixty minutes on their way to a 3 to 0 victory.
Here’s Saturday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Las Vegas born Washington Nationals’ slugger Bryce Harper was home and participated in a ceremonial faceoff that included Alex Ovechkin (resulting in this great photo).
Minus: The first period. Vegas put three pucks behind Braden Holtby in the first to go along with a comfortable 17 to 9 shot advantage.
Nine more notes on the game.
- Two minutes into the contest Holtby had to be huge against Brendan Leipsic on a breakaway. Leipsic’s backhanded chance was collected by Holtby from his shoulder and frozen to keep the Vegas faithful quiet.
- But off the next faceoff Leipsic had another chance from the slot that Holtby stopped, but this time the rebound bounced to Alex Tuch atop the crease and he tucked it into a wide open net for the early lead. Former Capitals center Cody Eakin registered a secondary assist on the play.
- And only five minutes later Oscar Lindberg lifted a wrist shot up and over Holtby’s glove to extend the Golden Knights’ lead to two. Vegas entered Washington’s zone with speed and a quick pass from Tomas Nosek gave Lindberg the look he needed.
- Before the first could come to its merciful end Reilly Smith ripped a cross-ice pass to William Karlsson through the slot and the latter buried his opportunity with a strong snap shot. No chance for Holtby on the play.
- Washington did a better job of containing the Golden Knights’ offense in the second frame but the Capitals weren’t able to get anything past Marc-Andre Fleury either.
- The Capitals’ man advantage teams were ineffective all evening, going 0 for 4. The Golden Knights’ penalty kill units were successful at pressure Washington with the puck, making life difficult for them in the offensive zone.
- Fleury saved his best work for the final frame, turning aside 13 Capitals shots including some of Washington’s best chances. The Golden Knights’ netminder would end his night with 26 saves.
- T.J. Oshie celebrated his 31st birthday today by turning in three shots through 17:39 of work for Barry Trotz in a mostly unnoticeable performance.
- Washington’s franchise record against expansion team declines to 5-4-1. Tonight marked the Capitals’ tenth contest against a new club.
Can’t say enough about the show the Golden Knights put on here, pregame, intermission, in the stands. There is no doubt, hockey is going to work here in a big way. Really impressive.— John Walton (@WaltonCaps) December 24, 2017