Game 1 Sets Stanley Cup Final Record
The Golden Knights and Capitals traded the lead four times in Game 1 in the Stanley Cup Final. 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 (NY Americans 4 at Chicago 5) and Game 2 of the 1992 Division Semifinals (Edmonton 5 at Los Angeles 8).
Game 2 Officials
The referees for today's game are Chris Rooney (#5) and Kelly Sutherland (#11). The linesmen are Derek Amell (#75) and Greg Devorski (#54).
Game 2 Trends
* Teams winning Game 2 have gone on to hoist the Stanley Cup 74% of the time since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939 (58-of-78 series), but only at a 56% clip over the past nine years (5-4).
* The Golden Knights are 2-1 in Game 2s during the playoffs (1-1 at home); the Capitals also are 2-1 (1-0 on the road).
* The team winning Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final also has won Game 2 in 10 of the past 12 years, including the Penguins last season against Nashville. The only splits in that span: 2013 (Chicago won Game 1, Boston won Game 2) and 2015 (Chicago won Game 1, Tampa Bay won Game 2).
* Fifty-one teams have taken a 2-0 series lead since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939. Of those clubs, 46 (90%) have gone on to claim the Stanley Cup.
* The all-time series record of home teams sweeping Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final is 36-3 (.923), but two of those losses have come in the past decade: the Red Wings won the first two games at home in 2009 before ultimately losing to the Penguins in seven games, while the Canucks won the opening two games at home in 2011 before eventually falling to the Bruins in seven contests.
Golden Knights Notes
* The expansion Golden Knights are seeking to become the first NHL, MLB, NBA or NFL team to win a championship in its inaugural season – excluding the first year of a league’s existence – since the 1950 Cleveland Browns captured the NFL Championship. The NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers (1948-49) and Baltimore Bullets (1947-48) also won the title in their respective first seasons.
* The Golden Knights are the first expansion team in 50 years from the NHL, MLB, NBA or NFL to even reach the championship series or game in its inaugural season. The 1967-68 Blues were the last to accomplish the feat, emerging from the NHL’s all-expansion West Division to advance to the Stanley Cup Final (where they ultimately lost to the Canadiens in four straight games).
* The Golden Knights enter Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final with a 13-3 record in the postseason. Only six other teams in NHL history have won at least 13 of their first 16 games of a playoff year: the New York Islanders in 1981 (14-2), Edmonton Oilers in 1985 (13-3), 1987 (14-2) and 1988 (14-2), Buffalo Sabres in 1999 (13-3) and Los Angeles Kings in 2012 (14-2). The Islanders, Oilers and Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup.
* The Golden Knights improved their playoff record at T-Mobile Arena to 7-1 in Game 1, outscoring opponents 31-16. Their lone loss came in double-overtime in Game 2 of the Second Round vs. San Jose (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.
* Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his 16 postseason appearances, compiling a 13-3 record with a 1.81 goals-against average, .942 save percentage and four shutouts. That includes a 7-1 mark at T-Mobile Arena, where he has a 1.78 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts.
* Already a three-time Stanley Cup champion (w/ PIT), Fleury is the 19th goaltender in NHL history to represent multiple teams in the Final. The last netminder to do so was Dominik Hasek, who backstopped the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup win in 2002 after playing in the Final with the Blackhawks (1992) and Sabres (1999).
* Fleury, who registered every win during Pittsburgh’s championship run in 2009, can become the 11th goaltender in NHL history to have his name on the Stanley Cup at least four times – and the fourth of that group to win with multiple clubs. He also can become the first goaltender in League history, and eighth player regardless of position, to win the Stanley Cup in consecutive years with different teams and first since Cory Stillman did so in 2004 with the Lightning and 2006 with the Hurricanes.
* Forward Jonathan Marchessault collected one assist in Game 1, 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 in Game 1, moving within one point of Marchessault for the team lead in playoff scoring (3-15—18 in 16 GP).
* The line of Marchessault (8-11—19), Smith (3-15—18) and William Karlsson (7-7—14), featuring Vegas’ top three point-producers, has combined for 18-33—51 and five game-winning goals during the playoffs (16 GP).
* Forward Tomas Nosek (2-0—2) registered the first multi-goal game and game-winning goal of his NHL career in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Nosek was skating in his 97th NHL contest (regular season and playoffs). Vegas acquired the 25-year-old Pardubice, Czech Republic, native from Detroit in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. He originally signed with the Red Wings as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
* 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. Syracuse). He led the Griffins, and ranked third in the AHL, with 10-12—22 in the playoffs en route to winning the Calder Cup.
* Nosek became the 10th Golden Knights player with a game-winning goal in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one shy of the NHL playoff record shared by many clubs. The most recent team that featured 11 players with a GWG in one playoff year was the 2017 Nashville Predators.
* The Capitals look to even the series in Game 2 as they aim to become the second team in NHL history to win the Cup despite trailing in all four rounds. The 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins faced a series deficit in each round, eventually defeating the Minnesota North Stars in six games in the Final.
* Washington owns an 8-3 record as visitors this postseason, outscoring opponents 40-26 in those contests. Only four teams have won more road games in a single postseason, three of which captured the Stanley Cup: the 1995 Devils (10-1), 2000 Devils (10-2) and 2012 Kings (10-1). The 2004 Flames (10-4) also won 10 road games, but ultimately lost in the Stanley Cup Final (4-3 vs. TBL).
* Captain Alex Ovechkin scored the winning goal (at 1:02 of the first period) in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Tampa Bay. It marked the second-earliest decisive goal in a Game 7, behind only Montreal’s Jean Beliveau (0:14) in the 1965 Stanley Cup Final vs. Chicago. Ovechkin enters Game 2 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final with 58 total goals in 117 career postseason outings. His average of 0.50 goals per game in the playoffs ranks ninth in NHL history among players with at least 100 games.
* Ovechkin, who eclipsed 600 goals and 1,000 games during the regular season (607-515—1,122 in 1,003 GP), is making his Stanley Cup Final debut in his 13th NHL season. Only one player has scored more regular-season goals prior to making his Stanley Cup Final debut: Dave Andreychuk, who had 634 goals when he played for the Lightning – and ultimately won the championship – in 2004.
* Ovechkin, who registered a League-high 49 goals during the regular season to capture his seventh career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, paces Washington with 12 goals in the playoffs (12-11—23 in 20 GP). That is two shy of the franchise record in a single postseason, set by John Druce in 1990 (14 in 15 GP).
* Ovechkin has scored 31 goals in 53 career games (regular season and playoffs) against Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. That includes 21 goals in 38 games during the regular season, and 10 goals in 15 contests during the playoffs.
* Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied an assist in Game 1, extending 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. Kuznetsov leads the NHL with 11-14—25 this postseason (20 GP), a single-year franchise record.
* In the Second Round vs. Pittsburgh, Washington dethroned the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions courtesy of a Kuznetsov goal at 5:27 of overtime in Game 6 at PPG Paints Arena. In doing so, he became the seventh player in Capitals history to register a series-clinching goal in overtime. Six of those goals have come on the road.
* During the regular season, Kuznetsov posted career highs in goals (27) and points (83), raising his point total by 24 compared to last season to become the first Capitals player other than Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom to reach the 80-point milestone since 2009-10 (Alexander Semin).
* Goaltender Braden Holtby, who posted shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay, had his shutout streak snapped at 166:42 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Holtby became the 27th different goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in a Game 7 and the fifth to do so to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Of those five, Harry Lumley and Dominik Hasek also posted shutouts in Game 6 of their respective series.
* Overall, Holtby owns a 41-37 record in 78 career playoff appearances (2.04 GAA, .929 SV%, 6 SO). Among netminders with at least 50 postseason outings, Holtby ranks second in NHL history in save percentage (.929) and fifth in goals-against average (2.04).
* John Carlson scored his 17th career playoff goal in Game 1, moving 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.
* Carlson has recorded 52 career playoff points (17-35--52 in 96 GP), third on the Capitals' all-time list for defensemen. He needs one point to tie second-place Scott Stevens (9-44--53 in 67 GP) and two points to match first-place Calle Johansson (12-42--54 in 95 GP).