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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final blog: Chandler Stephenson

Capitals forward, teammates still excited after Game 1 loss to Golden Knights

by Chandler Stephenson / Special to

Washington Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson  will be keeping his own blog throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. Stephenson will check in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.

Stephenson, 24, is in his first season with the Capitals. They selected him in the third round (No. 77) of the 2012 NHL Draft. After playing 13 games for Washington from 2015-17, he had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 67 regular-season games in 2017-18 and has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Here is Stephenson's second entry, looking back at the Capitals' 6-4 loss in Game 1 on Monday and ahead to Game 2 of the best-of-7 series at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS):

LAS VEGAS -- I was curious who was going to do the "hot lap" before our practice at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday.

Coach Barry Trotz did it the past two times, but after our 6-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, we needed somebody new to do it.

I wasn't sure if we were going to do one, but then Lars Eller took off and did the full-speed lap. I don't know if he nominated himself for that one. I don't know how that works.


[RELATED: Capitals have been in 'tougher positions' than trailing Stanley Cup Final | Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage]


The "hot lap" used to take place before each morning skate on the road, but with the 5 p.m. start locally for each of the games in Las Vegas, we won't have a morning skate again before Game 2 on Wednesday.

Although we lost Game 1, we're excited. It's still the Stanley Cup Final. We've been down before in series, so we're not new to this and we're looking forward to the next one.

I was nervous for my first Stanley Cup Final game, but it was kind of a different nerves. This is the only hockey that's left, so all eyes are on you. But you have to think of it as just hockey. You can't get caught up in that. You have to go out and play your game and do what you do best.

The atmosphere was crazy for Game 1. When we were in the locker room before the game, we're far enough away that we couldn't hear anything that was going on during the pregame show. That kind of helps.

Then, as you walk out toward the ice you can hear the noise and how loud everyone is. It's really cool just to see it. The seats were full even for warmups. The whole thing was really well done by them.

We know what we need to do better next game and things we have to get better at, myself included. We have to try to control the momentum swings and try to almost use the crowd in our favor, not think too much or try to be too cute. Just play a simple game and do what we were doing in the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Unfortunately, we got off to a slow start in Game 1 and defenseman Colin Miller scored a power-play goal 7:15 into the game to give them a 1-0 lead. I had the puck along the right half-wall and I was going to eat it and try to kill some time until things sorted out.

I didn't really feel Miller on my back, so I thought I could just turn and fire it and it hit him and got caught up the dasher of the boards. They knocked it down and it went behind me. Then, I went to turn and it went back the other way.

I turned the other way and by then, Miller had it and he was already walking to the middle. I tried to get there as quick as I could and it was a good shot by him.

You have to move on quickly from that. It's one goal and it's only one game. You can't win the Stanley Cup in one game. We know that.

You have to have a short-term memory every game. Even if you win, you have to have a short-term memory and get ready for the next game.

You also have to look at small picture for the personal side of things. You have to do what you did during the regular season and what got us here.


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