Stanley Cup Final: Game 2
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 8:00 p.m. ET
T-Mobile Arena - Las Vegas, NV
Watch: NBC - NBC Sports App - NBCSports.com
Washington Capitals Keys to Victory
- Rebound Control: Braden Holtby struggled to hold onto the puck after making an initial save and as a result coughed up many juicy rebounds in Game 1. With many of those finding their way into the back of the net, Holtby must do a better job of controlling the puck. The defense will need to be alert as well as this is an area the Golden Knights have thrived on this postseason.
- Where Art Thou, Ovechkin? Despite playing a large role for his team this postseason, Alex Ovechkin stayed mostly quiet in Game 1. He had an assist on Tom Wilson’s early third period goal but was held to just two shots on net total. Occasionally, he just coasted through the offensive zone. Finding Ovechkin loaded up at the top of the circles ready to fire on net should be a priority for Washington in Game 2. The star winger must have a bigger impact if the Capitals want to head back to DC with the series tied.
- Focus on Number 1: The Capitals must focus on containing Vegas’ top line as it is its strongest force offensively. With two goals coming from the Marchessault/Smith/Karlsson line in Game 1, Washington can’t let a repeat performance happen in Game 2. Vegas’ lack of secondary scoring remains a weakness in which the Capitals must expose through the rest of the series in order to bring home Lord Stanley. Icing ideal defensive matchups such as having the Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen pairing on the ice when Vegas’ first line makes it onto the ice will be a key coaching move that Barry Trotz must make. - Justin Lape
Vegas Golden Knights Keys to Victory
- Rebounding is Key: In Game 1, the Knights were able to score on two rebounds but had many other chances come from rebounds. The Knights need to keep putting pucks on net and driving to the net to pounce on chances. If they can continue to convert these chances, it will create doubt in Braden Holtby’s head. Holtby had back to back shutouts in the Conference Final, but he has also had points in the year where he has struggled. He has the tendency to get in his own head, which could be a huge issue for the Caps if they lose this game.
- Stronger Net Presence: The Caps were able to score multiple goals in Game 1 off of deflections. They were able to establish position in front of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, and get sticks on pucks for re-directions. Fleury has been able to stop everything that he can see in the playoffs thus far, but redirections are virtually impossible for goalies to stop without relying on luck. The Knights defense and centers need to do a much better job of clearing the Caps out in front of the net or getting sticks on Caps sticks to prohibit deflections.
- Home Cooking: The Golden Knights’ have taken advantage of getting the last change at home all playoffs. Vegas has lost only one home game through this point, and head coach Gerard Gallant has been able to get the best matchups for his top line of Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson. This line has been humming all playoffs and added two more goals last game to bring their total up to 18 goals over 16 games. But the Caps have won eight of their 12 wins on the road so far, including winning at least one of their first two away games in each series to this point. If the Knights can take a 2-0 lead going to Washington, they will force the Caps to play well at home, which they have not been able to do to this point. - Zeke Lukow