The Golden Knights' Tomas Nosek (92) celebrates with teammates after scoring a third-period goal against the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final on May 28, 2018, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

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Golden Knights Outlast Capitals 6-4 In Stanley Cup Final Opener

May 28, 2018 - 11:24 pm
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Marc-Andre Fleury and Braden Holtby have been two of the hottest goaltenders during the postseason.

Their duel between the pipes looked more like survival in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final as the Vegas Golden Knights outlasted the Washington Capitals, 6-4.

Fleury came into the series with a 1.68 goals-against average for Vegas with Holtby not far behind at 2.04. Giving up nine goals between them seemed unlikely but that's exactly what happened Monday night as both goalies were screened relentlessly, caught out of position at times and left out to dry on occasion by defensemen trying to keep up with two swarming offenses.

For Washington, scoring against the Golden Knights was taking advantage of Vegas defenders failing to clog the slots and Fleury making his own mistakes.

Brett Connolly's redirect that went through defenseman Colin Miller's legs in the first period caught Fleury overcommitting on Michal Kempny's shot from the point. Less than a minute later, Nicklas Backstrom backhanded a shot past Fleury, who couldn't recover after sprawling to his right with T.J. Oshie coming around the back of the goal.

Fleury didn't stand a chance against John Carlson, who scored an easy backhander after a beautiful feed from Oshie, who wrapped a pass around defenseman Shea Theodore across the slot. And while Tom Wilson got credit for Washington's fourth goal, the puck slid into the net after Fleury kicked it in himself after getting caught under his skate.

Fleury stopped 24 shots and has now allowed four goals in four games in a single postseason for the first time — and he has given up at least four goals five times in 15 postseason games against Washington.

Holtby stopped 30 shots, but Game 1 was the second time he had allowed five goals this postseason (Vegas got its sixth goal on an empty-netter by Tomas Nosek).

Miller caught Holtby leaning to his right, peeking over Carlson's shoulder, and got caught with the one-timer that went beneath his glove on the Golden Knights' first
goal. William Karlsson was able to tie the game just before the end of the first period when he grabbed a rebound off the end boards and caught Holtby out of position, after he overcommitted on a Reilly Smith's shot.

Smith also got a goal thanks to a fortunate rebound from the end boards, after Holtby failed to scoop up Deryk Engelland's wrist shot and the puck caromed off his pads. Jonathan Marchessault then one-timed it past the goal and off the boards, allowing Engelland to feed Smith in front of the net.

Rebounds have continued to haunt Holtby throughout the postseason.

Ryan Reaves scored his second goal of the postseason, in as many games, when he smacked a loose puck over the knob of Holtby's stick, just 1:31 after the Capitals had taken a 4-3 lead in the third period.

Both goalies and their defenses don't have much time to turn things around. Game 2 is Wednesday night.

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