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Stanley Cup Final

Golden Knights won't change style against Capitals in Game 3

Expect to bounce back on road in Stanley Cup Final

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Vegas Golden Knights won't change their approach in the Stanley Cup Final after a 3-2 home loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 2 on Wednesday.

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1 with Game 3 here Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

 

[RELATED: Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

"I think we try and play the same game no matter what building we're playing at," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said Thursday. "It's worked really well for us so far in the postseason. [We] just try and play the same game, play a quick, fast game, an up-tempo game.

"Every game is important in the playoffs, so I really don't think it matters if you're playing at home or on the road, just make sure you're focused for that game."

The Golden Knights, who are 6-2 on the road in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, outshot the Capitals 39-26 in Game 2 but are focused on improving their play defensively in Game 3.

"I thought we were OK at times during (Game 2)," Gallant said. "We had lots of opportunities to score some goals but we didn't get them. Basically, we've got to be better in our own zone. We can't give as many odd-man rushes as we gave up last night. So just tighten it up a little bit."

Vegas hasn't lost consecutive games in the playoffs.

"There's no panic. The series is 1-1," Gallant said. "We're switching to the next two games here in Washington, so we've just got to play a little bit better, work harder and compete.

"We know it's never going to be easy to win a Stanley Cup, so you've just got to focus on the next game and you don't worry about the last game you just finished. You get prepared for the next game on Saturday."

Video: How will the series fare as it goes east to D.C.?

Washington was able to limit the Golden Knights' top line of Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson to two assists (each on the power play) in Game 2, after it had two goals and two assists in Game 1.

Gallant said he expects the line to respond regardless of who the Capitals send out against it.

"We don't have the last change, so they can match up what [they] want," he said. "It's never been an issue with our team all season long. I don't really care who they play against. They're going to play well. They're going to work hard and compete hard.

"Last night, they didn't have the offensive outburst that they usually have, but you're not going to be at your best every night. So I expect them to be real good for us like they have all season long. I'm not really worried about the matchups, to be totally honest with you."

Through the first two games of the Cup Final, the Capitals have the edge in hits 84-64, including 46 in Game 2. But the physical element is no surprise to the Golden Knights.

"Every player knows that when you're getting in the playoffs that you're going to have battles with different teams," Gallant said. "We came through a physical [Los Angeles Kings] team, an aggressive San Jose [Sharks] team and another physical team in [the Winnipeg Jets]. Guys are used to getting bumped and banged. It's part of playoff hockey. You fight through that stuff."

The toll that style of game might take now that the season has moved into June is not what the players or the coaches are thinking about.

"At this point, the guys are just excited to play the games," Gallant said. "They know whoever's going to win this series, it's going to be a lot of fun. And the team that loses, it's going to be real tough on them. But it's almost over. There's less than two weeks left to go in the season one way or the other.

"The guys are going to lay it all out on the line and they've got all summer to get ready for the next season, so they're not worried about that. They're just worried about playing one game at a time and battling hard. It's going to be great for both teams that they're going to compete and battle."

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