The Capitals, playing their first home Stanley Cup Final game in 20 years, looked convincing in their 3-1 victory. In fact, I would suggest the Capitals have looked like their better team in the majority of the 180 minutes played in this series so far.
Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring while Evgeni Kuznetsov really put the dagger in the hearts of the Golden Knights with the 2-0 goal which proved to be the game winner. Devante Smith-Pelley added another goal.
The Knights did not seem to have their usual resilience on this night. Tomas Nosek scored their only goal, thanks mostly to a Braden Holtby giveaway. While Jonathan Marschessault and Alex Tuch displayed their trademark relentless style, the rest of the Knights did not match.
That's not to say the Knights are out of this by any means, though they better win game four.
There have been two hypothetical questions of note in this series.
If Washington wins, who will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP? Braden Holtby is automatically a favorite as all goalies are, and he's fully deserving. Alex Ovechkin will be a popular choice and without a clear cut choice so far is perhaps the favorite. But what about the heck of a series Evgeni Kuznetsov is having? Remember that the Conn Smythe Trophy winner generally goes to the MVP of the Stanley Cup final more than the entire playoffs.
The other question is if Vegas wins, who accepts the Stanley Cup? The Knights do not have a team captain. Marc Andre Fleury is undeniably their leader, at least as far as the public is concerned, but goalies are not allowed to be captain. Deryk Engelland and James Neal are the other real leaders on this team, but the answer really is unknown still at this stage.
It may never be answered if the Knights don't win game four.
Some other musings from the Stanley Cup final:
- I'm really impressed with the all-around game of T.J. Oshie. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, but, to be honest, I have not really watched Oshie a lot in an extended time frame like this over the years. That's what I love best about watching the playoffs even when my team is long out of the picture - I get to truly appreciate players through out the league.
- There is quite a fascinating story developing regarding Washington coach Barry Trotz. Trotz remains without a contract for next season, and more than a few sources are saying he's done in Washington and even Trotz knows that. Even making the Stanley Cup final makes that a hard sell to fans and maybe even to the owner, but how does GM Brian McLellan can his coach if he wins the Stanley Cup?