The Capitals started off Game 4 right where they left off in Game 3: scoring goals. A 6-2 win in Game 4 gives the Capitals a 3-1 series lead and a chance to win the Stanley Cup on Thursday in Las Vegas.
But it was the Golden Knights who almost got the game’s first goal. On a power play, James Neal had a wide open net but fired a shot off the post past a diving Braden Holtby. Neal’s missed opportunity cost the Knights a few minutes later when T.J. Oshie opened the scoring after a fortuitous bounce came his way. Oshie kicked it to himself and fired the puck into the back of the net for the game’s first goal. Later in the period, Evgeny Kuznetsov circled with the puck before finding a wide open Tom Wilson streaking into the slot who shot a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury. Game 3 hero Devante Smith-Pelly then struck with 20 seconds remaining to give the Capitals a three goal lead after a great feed from the defense.
In the second period, the scoring did not stop. This time, defenseman John Carlson got in on the action, sending home a one-timer from the right circle. A few nifty saves by Holtby kept the game scoreless for the Golden Knights, who were getting none of the breaks they had received in the previous three rounds.
Finally, at the 14:17 mark of the third period, the Golden Knights broke through and scored after Neal lifted a puck past Holtby from a tough angle. Reilly Smith brought the game within two with 7:35 to go by going forehand to backhand and lifting the puck past Holtby’s outstretched glove, causing some doubt to start percolating in the home crowd.
But the Capitals would quickly respond. Nicklas Backstrom lasered a pass cross ice to Michael Kempny who fired it into the back of the net to give the Capitals a three goal lead. With the Golden Knights scrambling, the Capitals added an insurance goal after Brett Connolly fired a quick shot past a rattled Fleury after a great pass by Conn Smythe hopeful Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The Golden Knights had previously not lost back to back games in the playoffs, but now have lost three straight to the Capitals. A dejected squad heads back to Vegas on Thursday for Game 5 with the Stanley Cup in the house. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. on NBC.