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 4 Trends
* The Capitals are 22-22 in 44 all-time Game 4s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (10-8 at home), including a 1-2 record this year (0-1 at home). The Golden Knights are 2-1 in Game 4s, including a 1-1 record on the road.
* Washington enters Game 4 with a 5-5 record at Capital One Arena this postseason, outscoring opponents 33-28. Overall, the team is 69-71 in 140 all-time home playoff games, picking up its first such win in the Stanley Cup Final in Game 3 (1-2 overall).
* The Golden Knights own a 6-3 record as visitors during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, outscoring opponents 19-18. Only one other NHL team has earned as many road wins in its first postseason appearance: the Wild, who went 6-4 as visitors in 2003 (their 3rd NHL season).
Put the Brooms Away
There will not be a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final for a record 19th consecutive season (since 1998 DET: 4-0 W vs. WSH). The longest prior such streak (since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939) was seven straight series, from both 1953-59 and 1961-67.
* The Capitals – who fell behind 2-0 in the First Round vs. CBJ, 1-0 in the Second Round vs. PIT, 3-2 in the Conference Finals vs. TBL and 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Final vs. VGK – are attempting to become the second team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup despite trailing in all four playoff rounds. The 1991 Penguins also faced a series deficit in each round, eventually defeating the North Stars in the Stanley Cup Final (4-2 W).
* With their Game 2 win at VGK, the Capitals improved to 9-3 as visitors this postseason, outscoring opponents 43-28. Only four teams in NHL history have earned more road wins in a single playoff year, 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 L vs. TBL).
* Captain Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring in Game 3 with his 14th goal of the playoffs (22 GP), matching Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele (17 GP) for the League lead and also tying John Druce’s (15 GP in 1990) single-year franchise record. Only one NHL player since 1997 has potted more goals in a single postseason: Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby in 2009 (15 in 24 GP) en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
* Ovechkin (60-55—115 in 119 GP) became the 34th player in League history to register 60 career playoff goals. Only three other active NHLers have reached the milestone: Patrick Marleau (72 in 184 GP), Crosby (66 in 160 GP) and Evgeni Malkin (62 in 158 GP). Ovechkin’s average of 0.50 goals per playoff game ranks ninth in NHL history among players with at least 100 postseason appearances.
* Ovechkin now has 33 goals in 55 career games (regular season and playoffs) against Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, his second-highest total versus any NHL goaltender behind the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist (35 in 71 GP).
* 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.
* Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov (Chelyabinsk, Russia) posted 1-1—2 in Game 3, his sixth multi-point performance of the playoffs, to extend his postseason scoring lead (12-15—27 in 22 GP). Ovechkin (Moscow, Russia) ranks second with 14-11—25 (22 GP). Only two Russian-born players have led the NHL in postseason scoring during the League’s modern era (since 1943-44): Detroit’s Sergei Fedorov (Pskov, Russia) in 1995 and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (Magnitogorsk, Russia) in 2009 and 2017.
* Kuznetsov, who set a franchise playoff record with an 11-game point streak (May 3-28: 6-10—16) that ended in Game 2, has 23-32—55 in his past 40 outings (regular season and playoffs) dating to Feb. 24.
* 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).
* John Carlson scored his 17th career playoff goal in Game 1 (all w/ WSH), moving past Kevin Hatcher (16) for the most by a defenseman in Capitals history. Carlson, who led NHL blueliners with 15-53—68 during the regular season, paces all defensemen with 4-14—18 during the playoffs – franchise records for assists and points by a blueliner in a single postseason.
* Carlson has collected 53 career playoff points (17-36—53 in 98 GP), one shy of the Capitals’ all-time record for a defenseman held by Calle Johansson (12-42—54 in 95 GP).
* Goaltender Braden Holtby is 43-37 in 80 career playoff appearances (all w/ WSH), compiling a 2.03 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and six shutouts. That is the second-highest save percentage and fifth-best goals-against average in NHL postseason history among goaltenders with at least 50 outings.
* Forward Devante Smith-Pelly scored with 6:07 remaining in Game 3 to give Washington a 3-1 lead. Smith-Pelly now has five goals in 22 playoff games (5-1—6) after scoring seven times in 75 regular-season contests (7-9—16) in 2017-18.
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 have not lost three consecutive games since Feb. 26 – March 2 (0-2-1). They only lost three straight games on two other occasions during the regular season: Oct. 30 – Nov. 2 (0-3-0) and Nov. 28 – Dec. 1 (0-3-0).
* Forward Jonathan Marchessault has registered half of his team-leading eight playoff goals in games following a loss, scoring in three of four such contests for a total of four goals and seven points. In the Second Round vs. SJS, Marchessault collected 1-2—3 in Game 3, including an assist on William Karlsson’s overtime goal that gave Vegas a 2-1 series lead. In Game 5 against the Sharks, he posted 1-1—2, including a late insurance goal to give the Golden Knights a two-goal advantage. Marchessault then scored twice in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at WPG, including the winning goal, as the club rallied for four straight victories to clinch the series. In Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at WSH, Marchessault recorded a team-high nine shot attempts, including four on goal.
* Marchessault collected one assist in Game 1 vs. WSH, giving him 8-11—19 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 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) and Sharks’ Igor Larionov in 1994 (5‑13—18). Teammate Reilly Smith added 1-1—2 in Game 1 and one assist in Game 2, moving into a tie with Marchessault for the team lead in playoff scoring (3-16—19).
* The line of Marchessault (8-11—19), Smith (3-16—19) and William Karlsson (7-8—15), featuring Vegas’ top three point-producers, has combined for 18-35—53 and five game-winning goals during the playoffs (18 GP).
* Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his 18 postseason appearances this year, compiling a 13-5 record with a 1.95 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and four shutouts. That includes a 6-3 clip on the road, where he has a 1.99 goals-against average, .938 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.
* Skating in his 97th NHL contest (regular season and playoffs), forward Tomas Nosek (2-0—2) registered his first career multi-goal performance and winning goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. 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. 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.
* Nosek became the 10th Golden Knights player with a game-winning goal in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one shy of the NHL postseason record last accomplished by the 2017 Predators.
* Nosek added his fourth goal in five outings in Game 3 (4-1—5). He had eight goals in 94 career NHL appearances (regular season and playoffs) prior to this stretch (8-9—17).