Alex Ovechkin has led the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. In his first home NHL Finals game at Capital One Arena — the Caps home barn — the veteran and always animated sniper showed that he was ready for the biggest stage in front of his own fans and he wasn’t going to let his opportunity go to waste. The Caps now need only two more wins (one at home) to hoist Lord Stanley, while Vegas needs to figure out a way to bounce back and get themselves into this series.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 3, 2018
Ovechkin was already one of the candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy before the series started. But, now with 14 goals in these playoffs, he’s making a case to run away with the voting. He set the tone in Game 3 and the Golden Knights simply couldn’t match it. He was everywhere while his opponents looked like they were lost, having to play catch-up for nearly the entire game. Vegas did manage a push in the final period but Ovechkin and a returning Evgeny Kuznetsov were the difference. Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist after being questionable for Game 3. Devante Smith-Pelly added the insurance goal in the third to put the game away.
By almost all accounts, this was the Ovechkin show. “You just look at his face,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s so emotional about playing for the Cup. It’s something he’s always wanted to do. We all have. You can tell by the expressions on his face all the time, his emotion. One thing you can see is Alex keeps his emotions on his sleeve. It’s on the outside. It’s not on the inside. You know exactly what he’s thinking.”
His energy is contagious and it likely boosted the rest of the Caps roster, including Kuznetsov who is now, along with Ovechkin, one-half of the 4th set of teammates to score at least 12 goals apiece in the last 20 postseasons. That’s a great feat, but most will still be talking about Ovie, whose numbers alone are scary when compared to the rest of Golden Knights franchise.
Ovechkin vs. the entire Vegas Golden Knights franchise
These numbers are wild. pic.twitter.com/5PNwYiZqAM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 28, 2018
Braden Holtby made 21 saves for the Capitals and will try to stay sharp in Game 4, which will go in Washington on Monday.