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Stanley Cup Daily 5/21: Let It Ride

Keep the casino references coming: the Stanley Cup Final is headed to Las Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights v Winnipeg Jets - Game Five Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images

Each day during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you game times and broadcast information.

Sunday’s Recap

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights 2, Winnipeg Jets 1 (VGK wins series 4-1)

Can you believe it? The Vegas Golden Knights kept their Cinderella story alive as they closed out their series against the Winnipeg Jets in just five games. Vegas won 2-1 om Sunday behind another outstanding performance from Marc-Andre Fleury, who swatted aside 25 shots. Fleury now has a .947 save percentage and a 1.68 goals against average in this playoff run.

Alex Tuch struck first for the Golden Knights in the first period after the team forced a turnover. Tuch fired a shot from between the circles that beat Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck up high. Josh Morrissey responded later in the period with a slap shot after Bryan Little won the face-off back to Morrissey. The deciding goal was scored by Winnipeg native Ryan Reaves after Luca Sbisa fired a shot from the point and the puck glanced off of Reaves’ stick and past Hellebuyck.

The Knights are now the third team to reach the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season and the first team to do so in the salary cap era. It has not been done since 1968 when the St. Louis Blues advanced out of a conference composed entirely of expansion teams. The Knights now wait to see if they will head to Tampa or host Washington to begin the Stanley Cup Final. - Justin Lape

Monday’s Preview

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals (TBL leads series 3-2)

8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Adjustments Necessary: Over the course of a seven-game series, small wrinkles are often big factors in the course of a game. After seeing the same film, and the same action on the ice against an opponent, anything they can do to change up their “look” can have an effect. Case in point: the line of Cedric Paquette, Ryan Callahan, and Ondrej Palat in Game 5. Lightning coach Jon Cooper started that line at the beginning of the game (and each period) with tremendous success. The energy line produced a quick goal to start the game, then another to start the second period that provided the difference in the game. What sort of line juggling, matchup-playing, or strategy changes are in store for Game 6? Expect Barry Trotz to counter with a move to attempt to jump start his offense. Perhaps Andre Burakovsky will draw back into the lineup on a wing?
  2. Goalie vs. Goalie: While the narrative around the series certainly favors Andrei Vasilevskiy as the superior goalie thus far in the series, the numbers don’t exactly jump off the page for either player. Vasilevskiy sits at a pedestrian .905 save percentage in five games, but his performances in Games 4 and 5 have been key cogs in the Lightning gaining their first series lead. Braden Holtby, on the other hand, has struggled with a .883 save percentage in the series. In order for the Capitals to win this series, Holtby must summon performances in Game 6 and a potential Game 7 on par or better than what Vasilevskiy displayed in the prior two contests.
  3. Home Ice Woes: Throughout this season’s playoff run, the Capitals have struggled with home ice advantage, going just 3-5 at home. In their past history, some of their most gutting defeats have come on home ice where the worried supporters have at times become accustomed to disappointment. Getting out to an early lead to relieve some of the pressure within the arena is certainly a factor in Game 6. Fall behind, and there will be 18,000+ people feeling as though the sand is slipping too quickly out of the hourglass. - Andy House