The Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 in game three of the NHL Stanley Cup Final.
The Capitals received a psychological boost immediately when high-scoring center Evgeny Kuznetsov took the ice on Saturday after being a game-time decision due to injury.
That gave the Capitals all the offense they needed as Kuznetsov tallied an assist and a goal in the second period to see Washington claim a 2-1 series lead.
It was the Capitals' first home-ice Stanley Cup Final victory in the franchise's 44-year history.
The Capitals will host game four in Washington on Monday.
KUZNETSOV SHRUGGED OFF INJURY AND RETURNED IN TOP FORM
Kuznetsov was a game-time decision as he dealt with an upper-body injury that forced him out of game two. Yes, the Capitals are deep and could shuffle their lines to cover his absence for a game, but they are unquestionably a better team with him on the ice. Kuznetsov made his presence felt in the second period with an assist to Alexander Ovechkin for the Capitals' first goal, and he added a goal of his own midway through the period.
The 2016 All-Star has been the top scorer in the NHL postseason, and now has 12 goals and 27 points.
Kuznetsov and Ovechkin (14 postseason goals) are the fourth set of team-mates to score at least 12 goals apiece in the last 20 playoffs.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS' OFFENSE?
Vegas tallied 28 shots on goal in the opener and 26 in Game two, but only 22 shots in game three. Many of those were not quality shots this team are used to finding. After scoring six goals in the opener, the Golden Knights have combined for three goals in the last two games. That is a trend Vegas must reverse. The Golden Knights finished fifth in the NHL in scoring in the regular season, but appeared overmatched by the Caps' defense during the past two contests.
FLEURY IS GREAT, BUT HE NEEDS HELP
After all his great years with the Pittsburgh Penguins, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury might have had his best season with Vegas. Although he unexpectedly yielded seven combined goals in the first two games of the Finals, he was back in top form early in the game on Saturday, making a number of spectacular plays among his 23 saves.
But Fleury needs help. The Capitals seemed to be camped out in the Golden Knights' end of the ice most of the night. That led to several shots no goalie should be expected to stop. Case in point: Kuznetsov's second-period goal on a three-on-one breakaway. Vegas must do more to keep the puck at the other end of the ice and give Fleury a chance to breathe.
12. Dezember 2018
|My love for football still burns strong – Toure speaks out amid talk of Premier League return|
|Noble contract extended to 2021|
|Split with Sky is an opportunity, says Brailsford|
|Van der Burgh rolls back the years, two more medals for Hosszu|
|Maitland-Niles praises Sterling for speaking out|
|Life is tough for him right now - Celtic striker Griffiths to take time away from football|
|Froome: Team Sky keen to continue with new partner|
|Emery confirms Koscielny to play against Qarabag|
|Llorente keen on Athletic return|
|I love the guy - Pocock backs under-pressure Cheika|
|Fit-again Ozil in line for Arsenal return against Qarabag|
|Raheem Sterling named Premier League Player of the Month|
|Two more Ligue 1 games postponed due to unrest|
|Pace attack among India´s best ever - Arun|
|Premier League has fostered ´excessive aggression´ among fans, says Scudamore|
|Sharks back Flanagan amid NRL investigation|
|Not good for my recovery! Hoddle delights in Spurs´ Champions League heroics|
|Harris backing Starc to fire in Perth|
|No fears over Atleti´s second-place finish for Simeone|
|Clippers buckled under Raptors pressure - Rivers|
|Icardi: Inter deserved to qualify|
|Team Sky future unclear as Sky opt to end involvement in cycling|
|PSG had to change mentality - Thiago Silva|
|Rockets make change, pick up win over Trail Blazers|
|Everything´s easier when you´ve got Messi – Miranda|
|From George Cross to Arsenal – Montemurro´s rise to make Gunners great again|
|Koulibaly challenges Napoli to win Europa League|
|Raptors star Leonard out against Clippers, may miss matchup with Warriors|
|Butler opens up about heated Timberwolves practice|
|Spurs achieved ´mission impossible´, says Pochettino|
|Dembele stunner pleases Barca boss Valverde|
|Van Dijk lauds ´fantastic´ Alisson|
|Van Dijk´s tackle on Mertens worthy of red card – Ancelotti|
|Klopp ´would have paid double´ for Alisson|
|Klopp: I don´t care about Madrid revenge mission|
|Tension and anxiety got to Inter, laments Spalletti|
|Tuchel hails magnificent PSG as Red Star win seals last-16 spot|
|Mbappe admits frank discussions inspired PSG´s Champions League progress|
|Klopp: Napoli had no answers to outstanding Liverpool|
|Pochettino proud of ´massive, massive achievement´ for Spurs|
11. Dezember 2018
|Barcelona equal Champions League record|
|Composed and controlled Liverpool see off Napoli to progress|
|Tenerife back to winning ways, AEK beat Hapoel|
|Howedes ´hurt´ after emotional Schalke return ends in defeat|
|Kane ´buzzing´ over ´not bad´ draw at Barcelona|
|Robertson hails Alisson´s ´unbelievable´ save as Liverpool progress|
|Red Star Belgrade 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Neymar brilliance helps secure Group C top spot|
|Inter 1 PSV 1: Icardi header not enough for the Nerazzurri|
|Liverpool 1 Napoli 0: Superb Salah sends Reds through|
|Club Brugge 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s men miss out on top spot|
|Barcelona 1 Tottenham 1: Lucas rescues Spurs late on to secure progress|
|Monaco 0 Borussia Dortmund 2: Guerreiro double snatches top spot from Atletico|
|Butler´s groin strain ´nothing significant´ – 76ers coach Brown|
|Woakes, Curran among leading lights at IPL auction|
|Blue Jays release five-time All-Star Tulowitzki|
|Mourinho: Professionals care more than the fans|
|Casillas reaches 100 Champions League wins|
|Expansion franchise Cincinnati sign Garza, send Kamara to Rapids|
|Manchester City sign United States goalkeeper Steffen for reported £7m|
|Schalke 1 Lokomotiv Moscow 0: Russians miss chance for Europa League reprieve|
|Galatasaray 2 Porto 3: Terim´s men into Europa League after penalty drama|
|Jackman leaves Dragons role|
|Tottenham boosted as Barcelona bench Messi|
|Mane and Henderson in Liverpool XI to face Napoli|
|Mourinho shoots down question over how to get the best from Pogba|
|Ronaldo to start as Allegri aims to avoid Champions League big guns|
|Odriozola: I´m in love with Benzema, he´s the best number nine in the world|
|Vikings fire OC DeFilippo after loss to Seahawks|
|Marcelino suggests Valencia open to Batshuayi departure|
|Bottas to make rally debut in title-winning M-Sport Ford Fiesta|