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Stanley Cup Final blog: Ryan Carpenter

Golden Knights forward credits fourth line for Game 1 win against Capitals

by Ryan Carpenter / Special to NHL.com

Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Carpenter will be keeping his own blog throughout the 2018 Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals. He will check in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.

Carpenter, 27, joined the Golden Knights on Dec. 13 after he was claimed off waivers from the San Jose Sharks. He had 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 52 regular-season games. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he has five assists in 14 games.

Here is Carpenter's second entry, after Vegas won 6-4 in Game 1 at T-Mobile Arena on Monday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. He talked about the game, the emotional swings during the lead changes and the play of the fourth line of Ryan Reaves, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Tomas Nosek, who had the winning goal.

This was the biggest game of my life and it was amazing right from the start. Michael Buffer, the guy who does the boxing intros, came out to announce the starting lineups and you are like, 'Oh wow, this is the real deal tonight.' Even during warmups, it was basically full in the stands and I couldn't believe how loud it was and the music was buzzing. It definitely had that feel of a really big game.

I feel like this is one of the craziest games I have ever played in, just back-and-forth. I think they said we had four lead changes. It was emotional, but I guess both teams did a good job of finding a way to respond when they were down.

 

[RELATED: Nosek, crowd among top performers in Game 1 | Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

Usually when we score four goals, it's not that close. It felt like it was sloppy a bit for both teams. It always feels good to get the win.

The fourth line was huge for us tonight. Reaves, Belly and Nos … they got it done. They scored all three goals for us in the third. It's ugly, but we got it done. It probably doesn't feel as good as if you win 3-1 or 4-1 or something like that, but that is a really good team over there so it's nice to get the first one. It gives us some confidence.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm1: Reaves roofs home the equalizer

That fourth line is just a bunch of hard-working guys and they led the way for us in the third period. They play that way all the time, so it's nice for them to get rewarded.

We had eight days off between games and it's nice to get that game speed back, that contact and those battles. It was a tough game.

When the lead kept changing and it was pretty wild, some of our leaders stepped up and said, 'Hey, we have been here before and it is a long game and we just need to stick to our game and calm down.' I guess all year when there have been games that we have been down, we haven't really given up hope and have proven that we can come back. It was nice that we did come back and then hold the lead at the end. Sometimes it is a little hectic and it's emotional for both teams.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm1: Nosek nets Theodore's perfect feed

At the end of the game, I was out there and I was able to pick up the game puck. That is something I try to do when I have the chance. It wasn't for me; I was just making sure we got it. The person who got it the game before gives it to the player who deserves it after the game.

Nosek got the puck tonight. The guy deserves it, game-winning goal and the empty-netter with the huge play there to get his stick on the shot by Alex Ovechkin and turn the puck over. It was his defensive play that led to all that. He has such a long stick and he's got such good hockey sense. He made a heck of a read to put his stick in the lane.

It's nice that we had an earlier game. We'll probably be home by 9:30 or so and try to get a meal and just relax a bit. First, I'll see my parents and the rest of the family right after the game because they are staying down here on The Strip, then I'll head home to hang out with the wife. Hopefully the baby sleeps well tonight.

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