Vegas Golden Knights Fight to Keep Stanley Cup Hopes Alive as Game 5 Comes Back to T-Mobile Arena
Posted on: June 7, 2018, 10:00h.
Last updated on: June 7, 2018, 09:28h.
The Vegas Golden Knights have their work cut out for them as they head back home for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final trailing 3-1 in their series against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. The puck drops at 5 pm Pacific Time (8 pm ET) at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas has lost the last three games of the series after winning the opening contest, and will now have to win three in a row in order to win the Stanley Cup.
That wouldn’t be unprecedented in the team’s post-season run. The Golden Knights have won five in a row twice so far in the playoffs, and head coach Gerard Gallant is confident the team can find a way to end the year on one last near-impossible winning streak.
“It shows that you can do it,” Gallant told reporters. “We’ve done it against good hockey teams. Play our game, you get some breaks, and you keep working hard and hopefully it turns for us.”
Capitals Clog Up Vegas Offense
The Capitals have found ways to disrupt the Vegas game plan at both ends of the ice. Washington has done an excellent job of getting in the way of pucks, blocking 85 shots so far in the series, including 24 in their 6-2 Game 4 win.
“They’re getting into the lanes, and we need to move more,” Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s frustrating getting your shot blocked, so we have to find a way to get the puck on goal.”
Washington goalie Braden Holtby showed appreciation for the defensive effort he has seen from his teammates, saying that it’s harder and more complex than it may look to fans.
“There’s more to blocking shots than just going out there and trying to get hit,” Holtby told reporters. “We’re doing a great job of creating the right layers, guys going out there strategically to know which lane I’m picking for sight lines and they’re taking away the other half and making big blocks.”
Home Cooking Could Spark Knights
Vegas will also have to find ways to slow down the Caps offense, which seemed to get an endless supply of open net opportunities in Game 4. Goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury hasn’t always been as sharp as he looked earlier in the postseason, but he has also had little chance to shut down many Washington stops, particularly in the last two games.
The good news for the Knights is that they’ll be back at home on Thursday, where they’ve been dominating the opposition all season long. Bovada gives the Golden Knights the advantage in Game 5, making them a -145 favorite to keep the series alive.
Should Vegas win, they’ll have to head back to DC for Game 6 and hope to win again, which would bring the series back to Las Vegas for a decisive Game 7. But that’s still a long way off, and the Knights say they aren’t thinking that far ahead just yet.
“There’s nothing to focus on the big picture,” Golden Knights forward James Neal told reporters ahead of Game 5. “Big picture’s not there if we don’t win Game 5.”
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