The Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 in game three of the NHL Stanley Cup Final.
The Capitals received a psychological boost immediately when high-scoring center Evgeny Kuznetsov took the ice on Saturday after being a game-time decision due to injury.
That gave the Capitals all the offense they needed as Kuznetsov tallied an assist and a goal in the second period to see Washington claim a 2-1 series lead.
It was the Capitals' first home-ice Stanley Cup Final victory in the franchise's 44-year history.
The Capitals will host game four in Washington on Monday.
KUZNETSOV SHRUGGED OFF INJURY AND RETURNED IN TOP FORM
Kuznetsov was a game-time decision as he dealt with an upper-body injury that forced him out of game two. Yes, the Capitals are deep and could shuffle their lines to cover his absence for a game, but they are unquestionably a better team with him on the ice. Kuznetsov made his presence felt in the second period with an assist to Alexander Ovechkin for the Capitals' first goal, and he added a goal of his own midway through the period.
The 2016 All-Star has been the top scorer in the NHL postseason, and now has 12 goals and 27 points.
Kuznetsov and Ovechkin (14 postseason goals) are the fourth set of team-mates to score at least 12 goals apiece in the last 20 playoffs.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS' OFFENSE?
Vegas tallied 28 shots on goal in the opener and 26 in Game two, but only 22 shots in game three. Many of those were not quality shots this team are used to finding. After scoring six goals in the opener, the Golden Knights have combined for three goals in the last two games. That is a trend Vegas must reverse. The Golden Knights finished fifth in the NHL in scoring in the regular season, but appeared overmatched by the Caps' defense during the past two contests.
FLEURY IS GREAT, BUT HE NEEDS HELP
After all his great years with the Pittsburgh Penguins, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury might have had his best season with Vegas. Although he unexpectedly yielded seven combined goals in the first two games of the Finals, he was back in top form early in the game on Saturday, making a number of spectacular plays among his 23 saves.
But Fleury needs help. The Capitals seemed to be camped out in the Golden Knights' end of the ice most of the night. That led to several shots no goalie should be expected to stop. Case in point: Kuznetsov's second-period goal on a three-on-one breakaway. Vegas must do more to keep the puck at the other end of the ice and give Fleury a chance to breathe.
|Brady ´absolutely´ expects to face Eagles|
|Rugby Championship 2018: Reasons for optimism and concern for Australia|
|Wentz ´gonna be close´ for Eagles opener|
|Cleveland ´victory fridges´ to unlock beer if Browns finally win|
|England´s Watson suffers injury setback|
|Mariners reinstate Cano after 80-game suspension|
|AEK Athens 2 Celtic 1 (3-2 agg): Rodgers´ men dumped out of Champions League|
|Alonso to leave F1: Paddock reacts to Spaniard´s exit|
|Roma sign midfielder N´Zonzi from Sevilla|
|Alonso to leave F1: Who will replace Fernando at McLaren?|
|Extraordinary Zidane is in Real Madrid´s past - Lopetegui|
|Alonso to leave F1: Then and now - how the grid, teams and calendar have changed since 2001|
|Wawrinka and Azarenka receive US Open wildcards|
|Parma sign Napoli pair Inglese and Grassi on loan|
|Sandakan castles Proteas before Sri Lanka squeeze home|
|Ronaldo sale won´t stop Real Madrid winning - Ramos|
|Predators sign Ryan Ellis to eight-year, $50M contract|
|Curran, Woakes, Rashid - who makes way for Stokes in England´s Test XI?|
|Griezmann well positioned for Ballon d´Or, says Simeone|
|Criscito: I was on Genoa bridge shortly before collapse|
|Alonso to leave F1: How the Spaniard´s numbers stack up to the greats|
|Rookie LB Roquan Smith finally signs Bears contract|
|De Villiers enjoying relief from ´unbearable´ Proteas pressure|
|Fernando Alonso to leave F1|
|Spalletti extends Inter contract|
|Godin, Koke, Griezmann and Juanfran named Atletico Madrid captains|
|Ronaldo out of hospital after illness|
|Fury: Beating Wilder and Joshua ´very easy´|
|Dickinson retires to take up academy coaching role|
|Cricket the ´sole focus´ for Stokes as he returns to England squad|
|Cheryshev moves to Valencia on loan|
|Mandzukic retires from Croatia duty after World Cup|
|Ben Stokes found not guilty of affray|
|Tottenham issue new stadium update and apology to fans|
|Chelsea flop Bakayoko moves to AC Milan on loan|
|Gabi urges Al Sadd team-mate Xavi to play on|
|Ronaldo leads UEFA Goal of the Season nominees|
|Federer: Djokovic could be caught up in US Open pressure|
|Ronaldo to Juventus a huge boost for Serie A – Matthaus|
|Werner would welcome Ozil Germany return|
|´Perfectionist´ Serena admits to ´unrealistic´ expectations in tennis and motherhood|
|Klopp praises Deschamps and his ´boring´ France|
|LaLiga 2018-19: Bale or Griezmann - Who will step into Ronaldo´s breach as Messi´s main rival?|
|Woods winning 15th major would be greatest comeback in sport – Faldo|
|Retiring Storm great Hoffman not giving up on Finals dream|
|Folau won´t change aerial approach in All Blacks showdown|
|Racism behind Sterling criticism, says ex-Arsenal star Wright|
|Eto´o joins Qatar SC following Ligue 1 links|
|UEFA Super Cup 2018-19: Atletico academy eclipsing Madrid, La Masia|
|UEFA Super Cup 2018-19: Should Real Madrid cash in on Modric?|
|Scintillating Serena sends warning, Azarenka survives opener|
|DeGrom strikes out 12, Mets hit 5 homers in win over Yankees|
|Djokovic needs nine MPs as Murray crashes out|
|Murray unsure of US Open readiness after Cincinnati exit|
|Van Dijk: Alisson making difference at Liverpool|
|Johnson saves eight MPs but Djokovic prevails|
|Federer anxious ahead of Cincinnati comeback|
|Tevez relishing Messi reunion|
|Ronaldo arrival has taken Juve forward in Europe – Nedved|
|Serena steamrolls Gavrilova in Cincinnati return|
|Packers QB Rodgers doesn´t regret criticising team-mates|
|Indians OF Martin recovering from life-threatening bacterial infection|
|Shoulder injury sends Royals starter Duffy to DL|
|Yankees place Sabathia on DL with right knee inflammation|
|Aubameyang urges Emery to capitalise on his ´spark´ with Lacazette|
|Anderson can play until he´s 40, says Bayliss|
|Keita living childhood dream after securing Inter switch|
|49ers to sign veteran RB Alfred Morris, Kyle Shanahan says|
|Arnaiz leaves Barcelona for Leganes in €5m deal|
|Tottenham´s move to new stadium delayed|