Alexander Ovechkin waited 13 years to play a Stanley Cup Final game at home.
On Saturday, he finally got the chance—and he delivered.
Playing in front of a frenzied crowd at Capital One Arena, Ovechkin set the tone with seemingly boundless energy and led the Washington Capitals to a 3-1 Game 3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Capitals now own a 2-1 series lead.
Ovechkin burst out of the gate with eight first-period shots. And although none of those looks found the back of the net, it felt like a matter of when—not if—he would beat Marc-Andre Fleury.
As it turns out, that moment came 70 seconds into the second period. Following a frenetic scramble that included a series of sensational stops by the Golden Knights goaltender, Ovechkin pounced on a loose puck and opened the scoring with some acrobatics:
That tally represented Ovechkin's 14th of the postseason, tying him with John Druce for the franchise record, and his activity around the net provided Washington with a major spark.
Evgeny Kuznetsov—who left Game 2 with an upper-body injury—followed suit a shade under 12 minutes later, capitalizing on an odd-man rush with a pinpoint snipe past Fleury to give the Caps a 2-0 lead:
Not only did the Capitals channel Ovechkin's aggression and finish with a 26-22 edge in shots on goal, but their defense also looked as sharp as it has all postseason with blocked shots galore and disciplined denials of transition scoring opportunities.
Perhaps the only lapse came courtesy of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who committed a serious blunder three minutes and 29 seconds into the third period when he tried to play the puck back in front of his net, which gifted Tomas Nosek a yawning cage to draw the Golden Knights within a goal:
Otherwise, Holtby was stellar, as he logged 21 saves following a stout showing in Game 2.
With their goalie standing tall, the Capitals seized a big opportunity late and sealed things when Devante Smith-Pelly registered his fifth goal of the playoffs following a brutal turnover by Shea Theodore:
Now firing on all cylinders, Washington is two wins away from its first Stanley Cup.
The Caps will have a chance to grab a commanding 3-1 series lead when the puck drops in the nation's capital Monday night.