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The Washington Capitals blasted the Vegas Golden Knights 6-2 to take a 3-1 lead on their best-of-seven finals series Monday night at the Capitol One Arena.
Versatile right-winger TJ Oshie, Devante Smith-Pelly, Tom Wilson, John Carlson, Michal Kempny, and Brett Connolly all found the back of the net for the Capitals who are looking to finally hoist the trophy after losing in the 1998 finals against the Detroit Red Wings.
Strong Start For The Capitals
Following a tight 3-1 victory in Game 3, the Capitals knew that they had to start strong against a motivated Golden Knights. The latter had every reason to be frustrated after dropping two consecutive games prior to Game 4.
It can be recalled that the Golden Knights had everything going their way as it won Game 1 before eventually falling short in Games 2 and 3.
Instead, it was the home squad that played with fire in their eyes as forward Evgeny Kuznetsov continued to pressure the defense of the Golden Knights which eventually led to Oshie’s goal in the 10th minute.
The 26-year-old Kuznetsov played the role of a maestro as he orchestrated the fluid offense of the Capitals, assisting on Wilsons’ 17th-minute goal to establish a 2-0 advantage early in the first period.
Smith-Pelly and Carlson followed suit after Wilson and Oshie’s goals with a goal of their own to establish a commanding 4-0 lead in the second.
Just when the Capitals were ready to celebrate, the visiting team made one last effort of winning the game as captains James Neal and Reilly Smith scored two straight goals to cut the deficit to within two, 4-2 with seven minutes left to play.
However, it proved to be too little, too late for the Golden Knights. Kempny and Connolly sealed the deal by scoring a goal in the 14th and 19th minute to put the Capitals a victory away from their first crown.
Kuznetsov went on to finish with four assists while Nick Backstrom added three assists for the Capitals who look to avoid becoming just the second team to blow a 3-1 series lead in league history.
Ironically, the Red Wings were the last squad to drop a 3-1 series advantage after losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in the 1942 finals.
Closing Out Is The Hardest
Regardless of their Game 4 victory, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin knows that the series is far from over, citing that the closeout game is always the toughest one to play.
“One win away; it’s the hardest one. We knew this game was very important for us. Obviously, we have a little bit of luck on our side, they hit the post. But we just grinded it out, we use our chances, stick to the system, stick to the plan, and we get the result.” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin and the Capitals will look to close out their series on the road this Thursday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
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