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.