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 games this season and has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Here is Stephenson's fourth entry, looking back at his disallowed goal in a 3-1 win in Game 3 on Saturday, looking ahead to Game 4 of the best-of-7 series at Capital One Arena on Monday (8 p.m ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS) and reflecting on the Humboldt Broncos' bus crash and how it impacted him:
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ARLINGTON, Va. -- For about five seconds, I thought I had scored a goal in the Stanley Cup Final.
It came 5:04 into the first period of Game 3 on Saturday. Unfortunately, the goal was disallowed because Devante Smith-Pelly was called for goaltender interference with Marc-Andre Fleury.
I didn't honestly know that Smith-Pelly interfered with Fleury and I was going to celebrate when I saw Devante wasn't happy. Then, I turned and saw that the officials were waving it off and talking about it.
It's crazy how things can turn like that. You think you scored and you're up 1-0, but then it's 0-0 and you're killing a penalty.
My parents and my brother, Colton, and their friends were there and my girlfriend and her family, and they were already celebrating before the penalty was called. They said they were getting texts from people back home in Saskatoon jumping and hitting their heads on the ceiling, and they were jumping out of their seats.
I guess I'll just have to get another one.
That would have been a special goal to get, but those things happen. We got one back, our line, when Smith-Pelly scored in the third period, so that was good.
That's something we want to do as a line. We want to show that we can play a good 200-foot game and also put the puck in the net and help out with secondary scoring.
It's crazy that was the first home win in a Stanley Cup Final in Capitals history. All of those things you read and see how long it's been are crazy. The win in Vegas was the first win in a Stanley Cup Final for the Capitals. But you can't really think about those things too much because it's on to the next one.
There's a long way to go. It hasn't hit me that we're two wins from winning the Stanley Cup. Maybe if I actually see the Stanley Cup it might click, but it doesn't feel like that.
I'll probably go for dinner with my family Sunday. During the Stanley Cup Final, it's a balance between focusing on getting ready for the games and spending time with your family. They understand that. I think my dad does more than anyone.
I'll go say, 'Hi' for five minutes and he says, 'All right, you've got to go rest.' I try to tell him I can rest later, but it's good they understand that. Even friends do. They send me texts that are short and sweet. Everyone knows what's at stake and how focused you need to be.
I appreciate the support from people back in home.
I wear a "Humboldt Strong" rubber bracelet on my right wrist to remember the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash April 6. Humboldt is about 45 minutes down the road from where I live in Saskatoon.
I was at home and my girlfriend texted me and said there was a bus crash and it was Humboldt. I looked on Twitter and there were a few tweets about it and five minutes later it kind of blew up.
That was devastating.
It's such a small world, but Saskatchewan is so small too. Everybody knows everyone. There's families I know that were affected by it.
When I'd skate at the Saskatoon Jemini Rink during the summer, I'd see some of the Humboldt players around the rink. Two of the Humboldt players, Kaleb Dahlgren and Brayden Camrud, skate with the same instructor, Casey Bartzen, that I work with during the summer.
Fortunately, they survived the crash. Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Colby Armstrong, who's a Saskatchewan native, flew Camrud in to watch two games during our Eastern Conference Second Round series there and get away from all the media.
Having it be so close to your hometown, you're more likely to know someone. The hockey community is so small and when something like that happens, everyone comes together.
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