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Stanley Cup Final Game 3 Live Blog: Golden Knights vs. Capitals

Sights, sounds from Capital One Arena in Washington

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Welcome to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals.

NHL.com Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke has all the sights and sounds from Capital One Arena, where the Capitals took a 2-1 series lead with a 3-1 victory against the Golden Knights.

 

11:05 p.m. ET

The Capitals are two wins from their first Stanley Cup championship after their 3-1 win in Game 3

Forward Devante Smith-Pelly capped the scoring at 13:53 of the third period after a turnover by Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore and a beautiful pass from Washington forward Jay Beagle.

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Smith-Pelly finishes Beagle's feed

The Capitals lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is here Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS, SN).

The Golden Knights lost back-to-back games for the first time this postseason and trail a series after Game 1 for the first time. Vegas lost 3-2 in Game 2.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, in his first Stanley Cup Final game at home in his career, opened the scoring in the second period. Evgeny Kuznetsov, who sustained an upper-body injury in the first period of Game 2 and didn't return, had the second goal and an assist on the Ovechkin goal.

Forward Tomas Nosek scored for the Golden Knights in the third period, his third goal of the Final and fourth of the playoffs. The fourth line -- Nosek, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan Reaves - have four goals in this series.

Braden Holtby made 21 saves for the Capitals. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, brilliant for much of the game, made 23 saves.

Tweet from @NHL: Game 3: @Capitals #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/8yTRsbTWid

 

10:45 p.m. ET

A fluke goal by Vegas forward Tomas Nosek has made things interesting with 10 minutes left in the game. The Capitals lead 2-1.

A bad turnover by goalie Braden Holtby led to the goal by Vegas at 3:29.

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Nosek cashes in on Holtby's turnover

Trying to pass the puck out of trouble from behind the net, Holtby threw the puck off the stick of Vegas forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, coming in aggressively on the forecheck. The puck trickled into the slot and Nosek beat Nicklas Backstrom to the puck and pushed it into the empty net.

It was the fourth goal of the postseason by Nosek, his third in the Final. He had two goals, including an empty-net score, in a 6-4 win in Game 1.

Evgeni Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin scored in the second period for Washington.

Defenseman Deryk Engelland took a defensive-zone tripping penalty at 7:35, but the Golden Knights killed it to keep it a one-goal game heading into the final 10 minutes. Washington is 0-for-4 on the power play.

 

10:10 p.m.

After two periods, the Capitals lead the Golden Knights 2-0 on the strength of second-period goals by forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov made it 2-0 with a brilliant shot from the face-off circle on a 2-on-1 that beat goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury between his blocker and his leg pad and hit the inside of the far post at 12:50.

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Kuznetsov snipes wrister past Fleury

Kuznetsov, who missed the final two periods of Game 2 with an upper-body injury, has 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists), the most by any player this postseason.

Ovechkin scored a rebound goal at 1:10.

Fleury had made several big saves earlier in the period, including one at the start of Washington's second power play of the game with Erik Haula in the penalty box for a hooking at 9:55. 

On the play, a point shot by defenseman John Carlson was deflected in front, but fluttered off the post, hit off Fleury's mask and, as he tumbled to the ice, Fleury used his elbow to push the puck out of the crease.

He made another huge save during the kill, gloving a rising one-timer from Ovechkin, who scored the first goal earlier in the period.

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Fleury snags Ovechkin's wrister

Fleury has 19 saves. Braden Holtby has 13.

Tweet from @NHL: Wait. For. It... #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/4tXuVoVBlj

 

9:45 p.m. ET

Midway through the game, the Capitals have a 1-0 lead, thanks to Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin scored at 1:10 of the second period.

It was goal No. 14 of the postseason for Ovechkin, tying the Washington record set by forward John Druce in the 1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It also tied Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets for most goals this postseason.

Ovechkin capped a crazy sequence by diving for a rebound of a shot by defenseman John Carlson in an extended scramble sequence and shoveling the puck backhand past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The sequence started a few seconds earlier when Fleury came out aggressively to play the puck and collided with Carlson. On the ice, Fleury swept the puck into the corner with his glove, but Washington forward Evgeny Kuznetsov banked it off the net and into the slot for the second shot by Carlson and the ensuing rebound.

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Ovechkin opens scoring to tie record

The Golden Knights had a chance to tie it at 5:53 on a brilliant individual effort by Jonathan Marchessault, who played the puck through the legs of defenseman Dmitry Orlov and then wristed a shot that goalie Braden Holtby got with his glove.

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Holtby denies Marchessault after deke

 

9:05 p.m.

For the second straight period of the Final, neither team scored a goal and we're are 0-0 after 20 minutes.

The Capitals and Golden Knights have each had chances to score and each had one power-play opportunity.

Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made seven saves and Washington's Braden Holtby made six.

The Capitals had their first power play of the game at 11:21 when forward Reilly Smith committed a holding infraction against Washington defenseman Michal Kempny in the attacking zone.

The Golden Knights allowed one shot on the penalty kill. 

Soon after the penalty expired, the Golden Knights nearly took lead. Forward Jonathan Marchessault, yet to score in this series, hit the post with a low shot from the slot. Marchessault has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) this postseason, tied with Smith for the lead on the Golden Knights.

 

8:45 p.m. ET

With 11:21 gone in Game 3, neither team has scored.

Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has his own contender for save of the Stanley Cup Final.

Somehow, Fleury got across his crease to stop a rising wrist shot with his glove as Alex Ovechkin snapped off a shot after a cross-ice pass at 1:08.

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

Fleury's save rivals the paddle save from Washington goalie Braden Holtby with 1:59 left in Game 2 that robbed Alex Tuch of the tying goal in a 3-2 win for the Capitals.

Washington thought it had a goal at 5:04 of the first period when forward Chandler Stephenson beat Fleury from long range, but the goal was immediately waved off by the officials. Washington forward Devante Smith-Pelly crashed into the head of Fleury with his hip, knocking the goalie down before the shot crossed the goal line, drawing minor for goalie interference.

Vegas did not score on the man advantage but did use the power play to wake up its offense, registering five consecutive shots and a hit post by forward James Neal.

 

8:30 p.m. ET

What a start to Game 3!

The arena was rocking throughout the pregame ceremony, bathed in the red glow of batons given away by the Capitals to each fan.

But the highlight was the introduction of the players by "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak.

"Are you excited as I am?" said Sajak, who has had Capitals season tickets for the past 13 seasons. "This playoff series so far has been just breathtaking."

Sajak's introductions of the Golden Knights could not be heard, drowned out by the booing of the crowd. The cheers for the Capitals, when they were introduced were even louder.

Now, onto the game.

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Green and McDonald perform anthem

 

8:05 p.m. ET

Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov is in the lineup for Game 3. He left Game 2 in the first period with an upper-body injury but was in his traditional place between Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson.

There was some additional lineup drama for the Capitals as defenseman Michal Kempny sustained an injury during warmups after crashing into the end boards. He did not return before warmups finished but was in the lineup. Kempny has four points (one goal, three assists) in 21 games.

Vegas, which has won Game 3 in each of its previous three series, dressed the same lineup it has for each of the first two games of the Final.

Tweet from @Capitals: Game 3 lineup #StanleyCup #ALLCAPS Game preview: https://t.co/zMw5U7Oh7g pic.twitter.com/fYn6NjFtIO

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: #StanleyCup lineup for game 381 �� 19�� ������18�� 21 89�� �� ��3 88�� ��������������47 6��#VegasBorn

 

7:00 p.m. ET

Poor weather has not put a damper on the pregame activities here in Washington D.C. Rain, sometimes heavy, has been falling throughout the afternoon.

Washington fans still flooded F Street in front of the arena to cheer on their team. There were a few Vegas fans sprinkled throughout, but red was the dominant color on Saturday in and around the building.

Even more fans gathered near the Smithsonian for a concert by Sting and Shaggy on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery in the Stanley Cup Concert presented by Hulu.

Tweet from @NHL: The streets filled up early as @OfficialSting and @DiRealShaggy entertained a huge crowd downtown before Game 3. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/C6l99aEkW7

But, it was the game that was on the mind of everyone, a vital Game 3 that will set the tone for the rest of the best-of-7 series, which is tied at one game each.

The big question heading toward puck drop is the status of Washington forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, who left Game 2 with an upper-body injury after a hit by Brayden McNabb. Kuznetsov, who practiced Friday, is a game-time decision. He leads the playoffs with 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists).

Vegas is expected to dress the same lineup it has for each of the first two games.

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