We’ve got ourselves a series.
The Washington Capitals took Game 2 by a score of 3-2 on Wednesday behind an outstanding effort from goaltender Braden Holtby, who made an all-timer of a save with three minutes to go to preserve the win.
The Vegas Golden Knights, as is their specialty, struck first. James Neal timed a long dump-in well and played the puck to himself. Neal fired a wrist shot high on Holtby for the game’s first game.
But the lead didn’t last long. Just before the period ended, Lars Eller fired a puck past a defeated Marc-Andre Fleury on a tic-tac-toe passing play. With the play at 4-on-4, Eller was able to slip in the back door undetected and put an easy shot in on a wide open net past Fleury.
Midway through the second period, the Capitals set up another great passing play, this time finding Alex Ovechkin back door for the easy one-timer goal top put the Capitals up one. Just minutes later, Brooks Orpik fired a shot on net that pinballed its way through the offensive zone, hit a defender and bounced in to give the Capitals a two-goal lead. Orpik’s goal was his first in 220 games, dating back to March of 2016.
But the Knights weren’t done. Later in the second, Shea Theodore fired a shot from the point and the puck found its way through a double screen into the back of the net past Holtby, who did not see it coming.
In the third, an early period 5-on-3 opportunity was squandered by the Golden Knights in an effort to tie the game at three. Stout defense and a few good saves by Braden Holtby kept it in favor of the Capitals early in the third period.
And then, an otherwordly moment that will go down in Finals lore as one of the greatest saves, given the circumstances and the stakes, in league history.
With two minutes left, Holtby made a miraulous cross crease save on Alex Tuch. Tuch had taken a pass that left Holtby way out of position, but the goaltender scrambled across and denied the tying goal with the shaft of his stick.
The Save of the Year, declared the New York Times. “The winning hand,” said the Washington Post.
Here's The Post Sports front from the Caps' Game 2 victory. Photographer Toni L. Sandys nailed the photo of #Holtby's save. We know we've been saying buy a newspaper a lot recently, but this is another day to get your hands on one. https://t.co/wDfQEAhKZ9 @PostSports #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/3VgkDTs8CW— WashingtonPostDesign (@wapodesign) May 31, 2018
Holtby and the Caps shut down the final two minutes of extra-attacker Vegas pressure to secure the game, taking a tied series back for Game 3 Saturday in Washington.