Down 4-3 early in the third period, the Golden Knights scored three unanswered goals – including the winning and insurance tallies by Tomas Nosek – to defeat the Capitals in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
* Since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 78.2% of the time (61 of 78 series) – including each of the past six years. The Bruins were the last team to rally for a series victory after losing Game 1 of the Final, winning in seven games in 2011 (vs. VAN).
GOLDEN KNIGHTS, CAPITALS ENGAGE IN RECORD SEESAW AFFAIR . . .
The Golden Knights and Capitals traded the lead four times in Game 1. Washington overcame a 1-0 deficit to go ahead 2-1, Vegas responded by taking a 3-2 advantage. The Capitals then rallied for a 4-3 lead, but the Golden Knights scored the final three goals for a 6-4 victory.
This marked just the third game in NHL postseason history – and first in the Stanley Cup Final – to feature four lead changes. The others: Game 2 of the 1936 Quarterfinals (NYA 4 at CHI 5) and Game 2 of the 1992 Division Semifinals (EDM 5 at LAK 8).
. . . COMBINE FOR 10 GOALS TO CONTINUE PLAYOFF SURGE
The Golden Knights and Capitals contested the ninth Game 1 in Stanley Cup Final history with 10 or more combined goals – and third since 1983 (also 2000 and 2010). Overall, it marked the most combined goals in any Stanley Cup Final contest since Game 4 of the 2013 series (CHI 6 at BOS 5, OT).
* The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs are averaging 5.9 goals per game (468 G in 80 GP), the most since 2010 (6.0).
NOSEK PLAYS UNLIKELY HERO IN GAME 1
Golden Knights forward Tomas Nosek (2-0—2) registered his first multi-goal game and game-winning goal while skating in his 97th NHL contest (regular season and playoffs).
* Vegas acquired Nosek from Detroit in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. The 25-year-old Pardubice, Czech Republic, native originally signed with the Red Wings as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
* Nosek recorded 7-8—15 in 67 regular-season games with the Golden Knights in 2017-18, followed by 1-2—3 in 12 playoff contests entering Game 1. Overall, he had 9-10—19 in 96 NHL appearances prior to Game 1.
* Nosek also provided the heroics in Game 1 of last year’s Calder Cup Final, scoring the winning goal for the Grand Rapids Griffins with 13.9 seconds remaining in regulation (vs. SYR). He led the Griffins, and ranked third in the AHL, with 10-12—22 in the playoffs en route to winning the Calder Cup.
MARCHESSAULT SETS RECORD FOR FIRST-YEAR PLAYOFF TEAM
Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault collected one assist, giving him 8-11—19 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (16 GP). That established a record for a player with a franchise in its first-ever postseason, surpassing the Islanders’ Jude Drouin in 1975 (6-12—18 in 17 GP) and Sharks’ Igor Larionov in 1994 (5-13—18 in 14 GP).
Teammate Reilly Smith added 1-1—2, moving within one point of Marchessault for the team lead in playoff scoring (3-15—18 in 16 GP).
GOLDEN KNIGHTS PICK UP ANOTHER WIN AT T-MOBILE ARENA
The Golden Knights improved to 7-1 at T-Mobile Arena during the playoffs, outscoring opponents 31-16. Their lone loss came in double-overtime in Game 2 of the Second Round vs. SJS (4-3 L).
During the regular season, Vegas shared third in the NHL with 29 victories on home ice (29-10-2). That included an eight-game winning streak from Oct. 15 – Nov. 24, matching an NHL record for a team in its inaugural season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves scored the tying goal 1:31 after the Capitals took the lead in the third period. It marked the fifth time in the last six games that Vegas has responded to an opponent’s goal with one of its own within 2 minutes.
KUZNETSOV, CARLSON STAY HOT FOR CAPITALS
Capitals teammates Evgeny Kuznetsov (0-1—1) and John Carlson (1-0—1) each found the scoresheet to pad and set franchise records:
* Kuznetsov extended his franchise-record postseason point streak to 11 games (6-10—16), the longest by any player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2010 and fifth-longest since 1997:
* Carlson scored his 17th career playoff goal (all w/ WSH) to move past Kevin Hatcher (16) for the most by a defenseman in Capitals history. Carlson leads NHL blueliners with 4-13—17 this postseason, franchise records for assists and points by a defenseman in one playoff year.