Golden Knights Beat Alex Ovechkin, Capitals 6-4 in Wild Stanley Cup Final Game 1

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 28:  Tomas Nosek #92 of the Vegas Golden Knights is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a third-period goal against the Washington Capitals in Game One of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights won Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final 6-4 over the Washington Capitals on Monday night in T-Mobile Arena.

Tomas Nosek scored the game-winning goal 9:44 into the third period and added an empty-net goal to cap off a contest that saw the lead change hands on four occasions.

Nosek was in the right place at the right time for the decisive goal. Shea Theodore found him just outside the crease, and Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby had little chance of stopping Nosek's close-range effort:

As the score would attest, offense wasn't in short supply in Game 1. The two teams combined for 62 shots on goal, and the third period alone featured four goals.

Tom Wilson got things started early when he gave the Capitals a 4-3 edge 1:10 into the period. The lead lasted a little over a minute before Ryan Reaves tied the game at four at the 2:41 mark.

Reaves was a bit fortunate, as the officials failed to whistle what was a clear cross-check by Reaves on John Carlson before the Golden Knights forward poked the puck home. Many were quick to react to the no-call:

Capitals fans felt even more aggrieved when officials minutes later had a lengthy deliberation to discuss a hit by Wilson on Jonathan Marchessault. Wilson was eventually assessed a two-minute penalty for interference, and many in the nation's capital were left wondering why Reaves' goal didn't receive similar scrutiny.

While nobody knows how Game 1 would've unfolded if officials wiped Reaves' tally off the board, it was a big moment in the game. Of course, the missed cross-check could ultimately be a footnote in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final depending on how the series goes.

History will remember Colin Miller scored the first Stanley Cup Final goal in franchise history when he gave the Golden Knights an early 1-0 lead 7:15 into the opening period. The Vegas crowd was already electric to start the game, and Miller nearly blew the roof off T-Mobile Arena with his slap shot past Holtby:

The home fans didn't get to celebrate the one-goal advantage for very long. Brett Connolly and Nicklas Backstrom scored 42 seconds apart in the first period to put the Capitals ahead 2-1.

The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg noted how Monday's start represented a big improvement on the team's last Stanley Cup Final appearance:

William Karlsson answered back 1:41 from the end of the period to bring the Golden Knights level, while Reilly Smith and Carlson exchanged goals to make it a 3-3 game entering the final frame. That set the stage for a dramatic third period.

Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET in Las Vegas.

Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant will clearly be happy with the result, but he likely won't be to enthralled with what turned into a shootout Monday night.

Entering the Stanley Cup Final, the Golden Knights ranked second in goals-against average (1.80) and the Capitals were second in scoring (3.47 goals per game). Vegas could be in trouble should the rest of the series continue to be a high-scoring affair, because that would seemingly favor Washington.

Related

    P.K. Subban Placed on IR with Upper-Body Injury

    NHL logo
    NHL

    P.K. Subban Placed on IR with Upper-Body Injury

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    Preds' Arvidsson Out 6-8 Weeks

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Preds' Arvidsson Out 6-8 Weeks

    TSN
    via TSN

    Matthews Skates with Maple Leafs for 1st Time Since Injury

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Matthews Skates with Maple Leafs for 1st Time Since Injury

    NHL.com
    via NHL.com

    Blackhawks Blank Blues, End Losing Streak at 8 Games

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Blackhawks Blank Blues, End Losing Streak at 8 Games

    James O'Brien
    via ProHockeyTalk