Alex Ovechkin has waited 13 years for the chance to win the Stanley Cup and is taking every opportunity he has to make it happen. For the Washington franchise, it has been 44 years in the making.
After a scoreless first period, Washington Capitals came out with a vengeance. Only a minute into the period a flurry of sticks, skates and missed shots, and Ovechkin finding the mark to give Washington the first goal of the game.
After failing to win the Stanley Cup in 1998 against the Detroit Red Wings, last night was one of the most important in the Capitals history. Coming off a 3-2 win against the Golden Knights in Game 2, the Capitals brought out their big guns and showed the world they are in it to win outscoring the Golden Knights 3-1.
Washington’s coach, Barry Trotz felt it was somewhat was the right thing being Game 3 was the first final game at home and Ovechkin scored the first goal saying.
“I thought that was a little bit of poetic justice, if you will, for all the tough times. I love the goal. We kept it alive, maybe four, five, six chances to keep it alive and it finally ended up in the back of the net.”
Last night’s goal was Ovechkin’s 14th in the postseason and ties the franchise record held by John Bruce. Teammate John Carlson said he felt Ovechkin was possessed last night commenting that,
“He’s playing with passion and energy and joy and he’s a one-man wrecking crew. How committed he is. It’s the best he’s played in my opinion.”
What is clear is the Capitals are committed, not just at winning, but being the best they can be. Ovechkin feels the team has yet to play its best hockey but last night was a step in the right direction. Washington managed to keep control of the fast skating Golden Knights, both in the neutral zone and the middle of the ice.
Braden Holtby was again on point time and again last night allowing the puck past to get by him once. Returning from the injured list, Kuznetsov, was also on point scoring the Capitals second goal at 12:50 of the second period to give Washington a 2-0 lead.
“It’s emotional stuff. Like Michael Jordan, when he play his best game he’s sore, right? Got hurt, 53 points. When you’re hurt you play a little better always. You have extra energy.”
The Golden Knights almost looked ordinary and undeserving of being in the finals last night. Alex Tuch and Jonathan Marchessault were relentless in their efforts, but beyond that, the Golden Knights seemed to offer little.
Tomas Nosek managed to get the Knights on the board with his third period goal, but it was too little, too late. Responding Devante Smith-Pelly added another for the Cap’s to make it 3-1 and all but bring an end to the night for the Golden Knights.
Nicklas Backstrom, who has played eleven years of his career with Washington says Game 3 was a night he will not forget as it was not like any other he has played before.
“This is the best feeling. This is where you want to be, too, at the Stanley Cup Final. Great game.”
As the clocked ticked down, and the buzzer about to sound, Washington fans began to chant “We Want The Cup!” This could be a sign of what is to come in Game 4 on Monday night. For the Golden Knights, it is time to regroup and find the magic that has taken them to the finals.