Golden Knights’ fourth line steps up in big way in Game 1

The Golden Knights scored six goals en route to a 6-4 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, taking a 1-0 series lead over the Washington Capitals in the best-of-seven series. Vegas is now three wins away from the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

This game had a little bit of everything. Both teams displayed their firepower. 10 goals and 4 lead changes, and this is just the opener. Vegas’ depth was the difference in the victory.  You need everyone going to win a Stanley Cup.  Entering Game 1, only six of the Golden Knights’ goals from forwards in the playoffs came from their bottom six. Tom Wilson gave the Capitals a 4-3 lead 1:10 into the third period.

Nobody is going to complain about the mind-blowing, end-to-end 60 minutes of action.  Given the importance of this game. (Since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 78.2% of the time (61 of 78 series)

It could have been done with less controversy though. Ninety-one seconds after Wilson’s goal, Reaves tied the game, thanks to a missed cross-check that helped him clear some room in front of Braden Holtby‘s crease.  Reaves goal was a blatant cross-checking/interference penalty.  With the Caps up by a goal, Reaves cross-checks the defenseman in the back, just in front of the net, creating the scoring opportunity.   Vegas’ fourth line took over after that.

The most talked about play is Tom Wilson ’s blindside hit on Jonathan Marchessault in response.

The NHL, as a general rule, has not suspended players in the past for an interference call unless there was head contact or the victim suffered an injury. Marchessault was placed in concussion protocol but returned to the game. He talked to members of the media after the game and appeared to be fine.

Nobody expected any of this from the Golden Knights now they are 13-3 in the Playoffs, with no panic.

“That’s why we’re having fun with it,” Schmidt said. “That’s why our group is as resilient as it is. You go out there and you play loose and play confident, and then you’re able to go back and get a goal when they get one and push back and have that type of resiliency.”

This series is going to fun! I can’t wait to see what adjustments will be made by those teams for Game 2.