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Stanley Cup Final

Fleury gives Golden Knights a chance in Game 3 loss to Capitals

Makes 23 saves against Washington, which takes lead in Stanley Cup Final

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- It was 1:08 into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final when Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had to make his first big save on a wrist shot from Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

He'd make a few more as the game continued.

After allowing seven goals in Games 1 and 2, Fleury was dependable Saturday, making 23 saves and giving Vegas a chance on the road. The Golden Knights, however, didn't provide much support, losing to the Capitals 3-1.

Washington leads the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 here Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS). 

"Oh man, save after save," Golden Knights forward James Neal said of Fleury. "We've got to clean some areas up and be better, but he gave us a great chance to win that game. It's what he's done all year."

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Fleury robs Ovechkin early on

The Golden Knights have been dynamic and productive throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs but were neither in Game 3. The only goal they scored was when Tomas Nosek capitalized on a giveaway by Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby 3:29 into the third period to make it 2-1.

"Fleury had to make good saves. He was the difference for us to stay close," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said.

The goals Fleury did allow had more to do with what happened in front of him.

 

[RELATED: Golden Knights in unfamiliar territory | Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

Ovechkin scored 1:10 into the second period to make it 1-0 after a wild sequence when Fleury made saves on John Carlson (twice) and Evgeny Kuznetsov before Ovechkin got the loose puck at the side of the net and scored on a backhand while falling down.

"It started with a scramble," Fleury said. "They got a shot, got a tip. It was between my legs. I didn't really know where it was. There was no whistle. They kept coming. It's tough to defend for these guys when [Washington] keeps putting pucks on net and they keep bouncing around a bit. Ends up on Ovi's tape on the other side."

At 12:50, Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore broke his stick on a shot from the point and tried to pinch, but Washington forward T.J. Oshie moved the puck out of the zone, resulting in a goal by Kuznetsov on a 3-on-1 that made it 2-0. Devante Smith-Pelly scored from in front at 13:53 of the third period for a 3-1 lead after Jay Beagle stole the puck from Theodore. 

"Every night he's giving us a chance," Golden Knights forward David Perron said of Fleury. "We can never say anything about his play. He's been unbelievable. One 3-on-2, he made a save on [Tom] Wilson, the Ovechkin glove save. We need him to keep doing that for us to win and we need to support him more."

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Fleury denies Ovi, Wilson with glove

Fleury wasn't at his best the first two games of the Cup Final, but he gave the Golden Knights a chance in Game 3. They didn't take advantage of it.

"He's been the backbone all year long. He's gotten us this far," Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland said. "Our goalie's been bailing us out with huge saves all night and we have to bear down and be better for him."

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