Stanley Cup finals: Game 2

Washington Capitals 3, Vegas Golden Knights 2

Series: Tied 1-1

Next game: Saturday, June 2, 8 p.m. ET | TV: NBC

• The story: Capitals buckle down after losing Evgeny Kuznetsov for crucial Game 2 win. (Read more)

• Top takeaways: So, about that save by Braden Holtby … (Read more)

• Statistical stars: Lars Eller looms large in Kuznetsov’s absence. (Read more)

• Highlights: The Capitals took a 3-1 lead in the second period on a power-play goal by Alex Ovechkin and another even-strength tally by Brooks Orpik, however the Golden Knights added a power-play goal of their own to make it 3-2. Washington sweated it out in the third period, but after a stunning save by Braden Holtby and a 5-on-3 penalty kill by the Capitals, they emerged with the win.

However, Evgeny Kuznetsov left the game with an apparent left-arm injury and did not return.  (Read more)

• The Capitals are hoping for a better playing surface in Game 2 after “pretty bad” ice conditions at T-Mobile Arena. (Read more)

Capitals see another star fall, but seize Game 2 anyway
by Isabelle Khurshudyan

LAS VEGAS — Evgeny Kuznetsov was grimacing, clearly in pain as he skated off the ice. He didn’t pause as he walked straight down the tunnel leading to the Washington Capitals’ locker room, and the team’s dream playoff run was suddenly looking like a nightmare without its top scorer.

But less than three minutes later, there was center Lars Eller smiling and laughing in disbelief. “What a pass,” he said to Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny as the two hugged. They had connected for a tally that tied the game and seemed to revive Washington as the team reeled off three unanswered goals in a 3-2 win in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Vegas Golden Knights. Eller played a part in all three, assisting on Alex Ovechkin’s and Brooks Orpik’s goals in the second period.

Kuznetsov didn’t return to the game, and it’s unclear how long Washington will be without its No. 1 center. But on Wednesday night, the Capitals persevered in large part because of Eller’s effort against the Golden Knights, tying the series at a game apiece with the next two games in Washington. This was the first Stanley Cup finals game win in franchise history.

“You lose one of our top players . . . your bench sort of rallies around it,” Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said. “Obviously, a guy like Lars Eller, when all of a sudden Kuzy’s not back, Lars has to step into that role. He just stepped up.”

The most unlikely of game-winning goals came 9:41 into the second period, from a stay-at-home defenseman who hadn’t scored in more than two years. Eller carried the puck into the offensive zone before passing it to Orpik in the left faceoff circle. Orpik’s point shot clipped forward Alex Tuch’s elbow, taking an unpredictable bounce in front of Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to get past him and lift Washington to a 3-1 lead. Orpik’s last goal was in February 2016.

“I haven’t yelled that loud for someone to score a goal since [Alex Ovechkin] scored one of his milestones,” forward T.J. Oshie said.

Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore made it a one-goal game with his power-play goal later in the second period, and then Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby saved the game late in the third with arguably the best save of the postseason, an outstretched stick denying Tuch’s point-blank shot in the final two minutes of the game. Holtby finished with 37 saves, none more important or stunning than that one.

“I honestly thought for a second there, when it bounced right out to them, I was like, ‘Oh, no,’ ” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “But then I was like, ‘Oh, yes.’”
Said Holtby: “I was just trying to get something there, trying to see where I thought someone would shoot that and luckily it hit me.”

Teams struggle to survive the first 10 minutes at T-Mobile Arena, as the Golden Knights have made a habit out of scoring early. Less than eight minutes into the game, Vegas defenseman Luca Sbisa lofted a pass through the neutral zone, and Washington’s Dmitry Orlov attempted to bat down the high puck near the blue line but missed. Golden Knights forward James Neal got an open chance as a result, beating Holtby from the left faceoff circle. Through nine home playoff games, Vegas has scored the first goal in the first 10 minutes six times, and the team fell to 11-2 in the postseason when scoring first.

The game went from bad to worse for the Capitals. With 5:21 left in the first period, Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb crunched Kuznetsov against the glass, and Kuznetsov skated off the ice in distress, clutching his left arm or wrist. He retreated to the locker room and didn’t play the rest of the game because of an undisclosed “upper-body” injury. Trotz didn’t have an update immediately after the game, but he considered McNabb’s hit “questionable.”

Depending on the severity of the injury, the loss could be devastating for the Capitals. Kuznetsov has been Washington’s leading scorer during the playoffs with 11 goals and 14 assists through 21 games.

With Kuznetsov out, Nicklas Backstrom centered the top trio with Ovechkin and Tom Wilson while Eller’s role was elevated to a second line with wingers Oshie and Jakub Vrana. During a stretch of four-on-four play less than three minutes after Kuznetsov got hurt, winger Andre Burakovsky won a battle along the boards, falling down as he flung the puck to Kempny on the left side. With Fleury turned to the left, Kempny passed the puck across the slot to Eller in the right circle, and Eller one-timed the puck into a half-open net to tie the game.

It was redemption for the 29-year-old Dane, who has played well this postseason. In the final minute of Game 1, Eller had a chance to tie the game with a tap-in at the goal mouth, but he wasn’t able to get his stick on the puck after he was arguably slashed by McNabb on the play.

“There’s tough breaks during a series and during a season,” Eller said Tuesday. “Give me 100 of those, I’ll put 99 in.”

Before Tuesday’s practice, Eller was tabbed to skate the hot lap, a trip around the ice that has become a road tradition for the Capitals during these playoffs. He didn’t disclose why he was selected, but perhaps his teammates sensed he would play an important role for them in Wednesday’s Game 2. He finished third among Capitals forwards in ice time, behind just Backstrom and Oshie.

“Yeah, he’s a guy who is kind of our secret weapon,” Ovechkin said. “It’s hard to play [against him] when he’s on top of his game and when he feels the puck, when he creates the moment for us. He was pretty big for us.”

Taking Kuznetsov’s place on the top power-play unit, Eller then helped Washington take the lead. Tuch was called for cross-checking in the offensive zone, and the Capitals capitalized with a tic-tac-toe sequence with Eller recording the primary assist on Ovechkin’s power-play snap-shot strike. Eller capped a three-point performance with his helper on Orpik’s improbable goal, which gave Washington a 3-1 lead midway through the second period.

Eller has 17 points through 21 playoff games, and he has especially had a knack for rising to the occasion. When Backstrom missed the first three games of Washington’s Eastern Conference finals series against Tampa Bay, Eller centered Oshie and Vrana, scoring five points in those three games. When the Capitals were playing double overtime against Columbus in Game 3 of the first round, in a 2-0 series hole after dropping their first two home games, Eller scored the game-winning goal, arguably sparking Washington’s deep playoff run.

And then on Wednesday night, he had a hand in all three of the Capitals’ goals in the first Stanley Cup finals game the organization has ever won.

“The more I’m out there, the better I feel,” Eller said.

“He just played outstanding,” Oshie said. “It seems like he’s one of those guys who has a knack for the stage, for the extra responsibilities, and he does a great job with it.”

Top takeaways
By Scott Allen

The Save: Braden Holtby’s incredible effort to deny what looked like the sure game-tying goal by Alex Tuch with two minutes remaining in regulation may go down in Capitals lore as The Save, the same way Dale Hunter’s overtime winner against the Flyers in the 1988 playoffs is referred to simply as The Goal. After looking nothing like the player who was coming off consecutive shutouts with Washington facing elimination in the Eastern Conference finals in Game 1, Holtby returned to form, stopping 37 of 39 Vegas shots and improved to 5-2 after a loss this postseason. Before his stick save on Tuch, he turned away nine shots during an extended Golden Knights power play early in the third period, which featured more than a minute of 5-on-3 play.

A first: It took 44 years and five games over two trips to hockey’s ultimate stage, but the Capitals finally earned the first Stanley Cup finals win in franchise history. At the very least, Wednesday’s 3-2 triumph ensured Washington won’t be swept like the 1998 team was by the Detroit Red Wings. The win evened the best-of-seven series at one game apiece, which is kind of a big deal, as teams that fall behind 2-0 have gone on to lose the Stanley Cup finals 90 percent of the time.

Team effort: Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was riding a franchise postseason record 11-game scoring streak, headed to the locker room clutching his left arm after taking a hit from Brayden McNabb in the first period and did not return. Playing without their leading scorer, the resilient Capitals rose to the occasion in the second period with an Alex Ovechkin power play goal that gave Washington a 2-1 lead and Brooks Orpik provided the eventual winning margin with his first goal, in the playoffs or regular season, since Feb. 26 … of 2016, a 220-game drought.

Road warriors: What Vegas Flu? The Capitals improved to 9-3 away from Capital One Arena this postseason while handing the Knights their second loss in nine games at T-Mobile Arena. Nothing like some late-night Mario Kart action on the Nintendo 64 to keep players out of the casinos. The Capitals became only the fifth team with at least nine road wins in the playoffs. Three of the previous four went on to win the Stanley Cup. The other lost in the Stanley Cup finals. The series now shifts to Capital One Arena, where the Capitals are 4-5 this postseason. Vegas is 6-2 outside of Sin City.

Statistical stars
By Neil Greenberg

1. Lars Eller: 1 goal, 2 assists and 6 hits

2. Braden Holtby: 37 saves, including all 11 high-danger chances faced

3. Alex Ovechkin: 1 goal, 2 scoring chances, 5 hits and a blocked shot

Lars Eller stepped up big for Washington after its top-line center, Evgeny Kuznetsov, was lost with an apparent arm injury. Eller scored a goal and assisted on two others, plus added six hits and 10 faceoff wins (out of 16) in 18:37 of ice time. Brooks Orpik scored his first goal since 2016 and Alex Ovechkin added another on the power play to secure the win.

Washington’s penalty kill, meanwhile, was every bit as responsible for the victory. Braden Holtby stopped all six of the scoring chances he faced from the Golden Knights power play, including four shot attempts from the slot and the crease during the third period, which included almost a minute of 5-on-3 play for Vegas. And Holtby had one save just after the two-minute mark of the third period that will be on every highlight reel for the next few days.

Game 2 highlights

Final: Capitals 3, Golden Knights 2

It took a 5-on-3 penalty kill, a ridiculous save by Braden Holtby and a game-winning goal by Brooks Orpik, but the Capitals have won their first Stanley Cup finals game in franchise history. It’s on to Game 3 with the series tied at 1.

THE SAVE: Yes, capital letters are required. This save hit all 10 bells. Braden Holtby made the save of the night with 1:59 remaining in regulation to preserve the Capitals’ 3-2 lead. Alex Tuch was staring at a wide open net when he ripped a one-timer off a pass by Cody Eakin, but Holtby somehow denied him with his stick. After watching the replay from the bench, Alex Ovechkin covered his eyes with his gloves in disbelief. – SA

No jinx, but: This is now the latest the Capitals have ever led in a Stanley Cup finals game. Or even a Stanley Cup Final game, if you prefer. They had a lead with a bit more than four minutes left in Game 2 of 1998’s finals, before losing in overtime. On second thought, this is definitely a jinx. All blame should be placed upon whichever editor published this. – DS [Editor’s note: This was not added until after the game ended because the editor likes his house as it is and not engulfed in flames.]

Under 5: An offsides call preceded another TV timeout with 4:58 remaining in regulation and the Capitals still clinging to a 3-2 lead. Washington has the last four shots of the period. The Capitals would’ve had one more, and quite possibly an insurance goal, if Jakub Vrana’s slapper hadn’t gotten a piece of William Karlsson on the way to the net and gone wide. – SA

Tick, tock: Midway through the third period, the Golden Knights were on pace to outshoot the Capitals 20-4 in the frame, which was not ideal for the guys in white.

While some Capitals fans are undoubtedly curled up in a ball, Braden Holtby has stood tall, and there’s now 7:09 standing between Washington and a 1-1 tie in the series.  – SA

Caps survive … for now: Vegas had nine shots on the power play, including two at 5-on-3, but Braden Holtby squeezed a slapshot from the point by Reilly Smith and Jay Beagle blocked a last-ditch effort before Lars Eller emerged from the box to complete the penalty kill. That felt like an important stretch in this game. – SA

Make it 5-on-3: A hooking penalty on Lars Eller to deny Colin Miller a scoring chance gave the Golden Knights a two-man advantage for more than a minute. Buckle up. – SA

Still no Kuznetsov: It appears the Capitals will have to hang on without Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was last seen since leaving the ice after taking a high hit with more than six minutes to play in the first period. Tom Wilson taking a penalty for interference, as he did a little more than three minutes into the third, won’t make that challenge any easier. – SA

Imagine no possessions: How about a second intermission interview with Wayne Sermon, lead guitarist of Imagine Dragons? That followed Game 1’s second intermission interview with Lil Jon, and again raised the question: How will Washington respond in the celebrity fan category when this series returns to D.C.? Please don’t be Wolf Blitzer please don’t be Wolf Blitzer please don’t be Wolf Blitzer. – DS

Golden Knights continue to assault Capitals: Washington had two goals in the second, giving them a temporary, and dreaded, two-goal lead, but Vegas does what it always does and came back with a goal of their own to cut the Capitals lead to one. Not only are the Golden Knights getting the momentum back, they took it to Washington in the second period.

Vegas had more shots attempts (15 to 5) and more scoring chances (6 to 3) in the second period at even strength and appear to be attacking Holtby’s stick side. And that makes sense: heading into the series, Holtby was allowing more than a third of his goals against (43 percent) on his blocker side. – NG

Pinnnnng: There might be nothing more remarkable about playoff hockey than this: Amid tens of thousands of screaming fans, and pro athletes going 700 miles an hour on the ice, and Doc Emrick’s voice box dangling out of his mouth while spurting beautifully composed exclamations of incredulity, a hockey puck pinging off the post still manages to sound like a frickin’ thermonuclear explosion. That Vrana ping late in the second period? The sound echoes in my ears still. So loud. Such a loud ping. Wild. – DS

End Period 2: Capitals 3, Golden Knights 2

On Washington’s sixth odd-man rush of the game, Jakub Vrana rang a shot off the outside of the post late in the second period, which is why the Capitals’ lead remains 3-2 at intermission. Washington’s two goals in the frame came from the most likely (Alex Ovechkin) and unlikely (Brooks Orpik) sources, and without the services of Evgeny Kuznetsov, who remained in the locker room after taking a hit from Brayden McNabb in the first period. The Capitals are 9-2 when leading after 40 minutes. They’re 20 minutes away from heading back to D.C. with a split. – SA

What?: Since Brooks Orpik joined the Capitals in 2014, 444 NHL players had scored at least one playoff goal, according to a quick Hockey Reference search. Orpik was not one of them. At least until Wednesday night, when he scored his third career playoff goal. – DS

Knights get one back: A frustrated T.J. Oshie was whistled for interference in the offensive zone after leveling Colin Miller in retaliation for a late hit that went uncalled late in the second period. The Golden Knights capitalized on their third power play of the night, with Shea Theodore ripping a shot from the point past Braden Holtby to pull Vegas within 3-2. – SA

Oxygen break: After six minutes without a whistle, a goalie stoppage led to a TV timeout with 2:55 left in the period. Shots were 22-19 Golden Knights, but the score remained 3-1 Capitals. – SA

Power play gone bad: Ryan Reaves, one of Vegas’s fourth-line heroes from Game 1, gave the Capitals a power play shortly after Brooks Orpik’s goal when he was whistled for roughing Tom Wilson. Washington managed one shot with the man advantage before Ryan Carpenter skated in on Braden Holtby with no Capitals defender in front of him. Dmitry Orlov had no choice but to hook Carpenter, resulting in a premature end to Washington’s power play and 1:32 of 5-on-4 time for the Golden Knights. Vegas wouldn’t score. – SA

Washington is working against Schmidt: Vegas blue-liner Nate Schimdt had the upper hand when skating against Ovechkin in Game 1 but hasn’t been as effective at stopping Washington’s star winger in the second game of the series. Ovechkin and his linemates have five shot attempts — four of those scoring chances — when skating against Schimdt and his defensive partner Brayden McNabb at even strength. – NG

Brooks Orpik, yes, Brooks Orpik scores to put Capitals up 3-1: It’s a two-goal lead for Washington. Lars Eller, who opened the scoring for the Capitals, had the primary assist on Brooks Orpik’s shot that deflected off Alex Tuch in front of Marc-Andre Fleury and into the back of the net to give Washington a 3-1 lead with 9:41 gone in the second period. It was Orpik’s first goal, in the playoffs or the regular season, since Feb. 26, 2016. – SA

More 4-on-4: While racing to a puck that was dumped in the Capitals’ zone, Nicklas Backstrom and Erik Haula got tangled up and went down. Officials sent both players to the penalty box for holding, a strange call that resulted in two minutes of 4-on-4. – SA

Ovechkin ties it on the power play: Officials didn’t call a penalty when a Ryan Reaves cross-check to the back of John Carlson flattened the Capitals’ defenseman and led to a  Golden Knights goal in Game 1, but they whistled Alex Tuch for the same offense with 14:47 to play in the second period on Wednesday. Washington made the most of its first power play, as Alex Ovechkin buried a one-timer from his spot to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. – SA

Party on F Street: There were 14,485 fans at Capital One Arena’s watch party Wednesday night. To watch a game being played in Las Vegas. That’s easily more than the Caps averaged during Alex Ovechkin’s rookie season. And the fans weren’t being quiet, either. Will they chant profanities at the officials before the night is over? Will the officials hear them? — DS

Caps kill a questionable penalty: The first period didn’t feature a power play, but a little more than two minutes into the second period, Brooks Orpik was sent to the box for an illegal check to the head of James Neal. For the record, the only contact to Neal’s head appeared to come from his own glove following a legal hit by Orpik. No matter, the Golden Knights, who scored on their only power play in Game 1, had two shots at 5-on-4 but the game remained tied. – SA

Kuznetsov watch: “I hope they see him back in uniform, because I don’t know if they can get the job done otherwise,” NBC’s Mike Milbury said at intermission of Evgeny Kuznetsov, who clutched his left arm and headed to the locker room after taking a hit from Brayden McNabb. “This is a huge blow to the Washington Capitals lineup. They already have a wounded Nicklas Backstrom. They need something better from him now.”

“In this game, you need everyone available,” fellow analyst Keith Jones said. “Losing a forward early in the game against Vegas is not good news. Major advantage for Vegas moving forward in this game.”

That, of course, is IF Kuznetsov doesn’t return. There was no update on his status at intermission. Kuznetsov, who entered Game 2 with 11 goals and 14 assists in 20 playoff games, wasn’t on the Washington bench to start the second period. The team said he is questionable to return. – SA

Tense times: The Caps and Knights have either been tied or within one goal of each other for all but 3 seconds in this series. The teams were tied after the first period in Game 1, and tied after the second period in Game 1, and now tied after the first period in Game 2. The only two-goal lead of the finals came after Vegas got a meaningless empty netter as the clock wound down on Monday. In a related story, I’m making infused vodka for the first time. I’m using strawberries and mint. It should be ready by Game 3. — DS

The Kuznetsov fallout: The injury to Kuznetsov means Ovechkin and Backstrom are skating together again, at least for the time being. Those two have shared 608 even-strength minutes of ice time during the regualr season, outscoring opponents 28 to 21 with a 325 to 298 edge in scoring chances.

Eller is now with Oshie and Vrana. That trio has very limited time together — just 27 minutes — but they managed to generate nine shot attempts in the slot and crease while only allowing three, a potentially good omen as Washington tries to break the tie near the start of the second period. – NG

Caps continue to struggle with shot attempts on net: In Game 1, Dmitry Orlov led the team with four at even strength and in Game 2 four defenseman — Orlov, John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Michal Kempny — have more shots in the first period than all the forwards except for T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin and Chandler Stephenson. – NG

End Period 1: Capitals 1, Golden Knights 0

“As you watch this, you feel like you’re a nail on the inside of a pinball machine, and everything is just happening all around you,” NBC Sports Network play-by-play man Doc Emrick said early in the first period. That’s a pretty dang good description of the first 20 minutes, which, for the second consecutive game, ended with the teams tied.

The Golden Knights scored first for the ninth time in nine home games this postseason on James Neal’s fifth goal of the playoffs. Lars Eller scored the equalizer late in the frame. Washington outshot Vegas 9-2 over the final 12 minutes of the period and has a 12-10 advantage in shots at the break. Something to keep an eye on in the second: Evgeny Kuznetsov didn’t return to the bench after taking a high hit from Brayden McNabb. – SA

Caps tie it up: Lars Eller’s sixth goal of the playoffs tied the game 1-1 with 2:33 remaining in the first period. Eller, who started the play that led to the equalizer by winning a faceoff in the Vegas zone, had a wide-open net after a pair of tape-to-tape passes from Andre Burakovsky and Michal Kempny. – SA

4-on-4 action: Some extracurricular activity after a Marc-Andre Fleury save on Matt Niskanen with 3:17 to play in the first period led to coincidental roughing minors on T.J. Oshie and Deryk Engelland. Jakub Vrana appeared to get the worst of it during the scrum, when Jonathan Marchessault came in and rocked him from behind. – SA

Kuznetsov hurt: There’s some big concern for the Caps. With less than six minutes to play in the first period, Evgeny Kuznetsov took a big hit from Brayden McNabb along the glass and immediately appeared to grab his left arm. Kuznetsov is Washington’s leading scorer in the playoffs and is riding a franchise postseason record 11-game point-scoring streak. – SA

So close: Jakub Vrana made a bid to tie the game when he grabbed the rebound off a shot by T.J. Oshie behind the net, but his wraparound attempt with Marc-Andre Fleury on his back went through the crease. – SA

Big hit by guess who: Tom Wilson leveled Ryan Carpenter in front of the Capitals’ bench before a TV timeout with 9:51 to play in the first period. Hits are even at 10 apiece, but the Golden Knights are doubling Washington in shots, 8-4. – SA

James Neal gets the scoring started: With 12:02 remaining in the first period, James Neal chipped a lofted puck past the Capitals’ defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who tried to knock down with his glove, resulting in a breakaway. Minutes earlier, Braden Holtby gobbled up a point-blank shot by Neal, but Neal found the back of the net with a wrister this time to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead. Vegas is 11-1 when scoring first this postseason. – SA

A better start for Washington: After the Golden Knights dictated the pace of play and had eight of the first 10 shots on goal early in Game 1, the first great scoring chance of Game 2 belonged to the Caps. Less than three minutes in, T.J. Oshie skated in on Marc-Andre Fleury, but couldn’t get enough of the rolling puck to backhand it over Vegas’s sprawling goalie. With 16 minutes to play in the first period, shots were two apiece. – SA

Encore: A Capitals victory tonight would ensure there’s a Game 5 in Las Vegas, which is excellent news for everyone who enjoys the Golden Knights’ over-the-top pregame spectacles. Look, if you can’t appreciate Vegas’s Medieval Times-meets-Disney on Ice-meets-WWE production, I don’t know what to tell you. Game 1’s extravaganza was a tough act to follow and Wednesday’s intro was something of a disappointment given the amount of material that was repeated.

After the Golden Knight vanquished the last of Vegas’s invaders from the East(ern) Conference following a brief sword fight at center ice, he pointed to his castle inside T-Mobile Arena, where a small string orchestra provided the lead-in for a performance by the Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons.

Both teams are willing to do “Whatever It Takes” to win Game 2, and if you can imagine a Capitals defense that doesn’t allow a bunch of high-danger — “Radioactive”? — scoring chances, there’s a decent chance Washington will head back to D.C. with a split. – SA

Caps’ defense can’t rest: From the net outward, the Capitals defense was underwhelming in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. The team allowed 14 high-danger chances over 53 even-strength minutes, a rate of 15.8 per 60, and Holtby stopped just 10 of 14 of those chances against (.714). Both rates are significantly worse than their performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the playoffs. Making Holtby’s workload easier has obvious benefits: in wins this season, Holtby’s save percentage is .928; that drops to .860 in losses. The fewer high-danger chances he has to face, the more likely he is to keep the Golden Knights off the scoreboard. — NG

Washington needs to get out of the gate quickly: Washington needs to get off to a faster start than it did in Game 1. The Capitals didn’t get their first shot on net until more than halfway through the first period and it took them more than five minutes of playing time to get their first shot on net in the second period. To illustrate how little the shot volume was for Washington in the series opener look no further than the team’s shot leader at even strength, defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who ended the game with four shots on net. Brett Connolly, T.J. Oshie and another blue liner, John Carlson, tied for second with three shots on net and four others, including Alex Ovechkin, had only two all game.

Ovechkin has taken two shots or less 25 times in the playoffs and the Capitals record in those games is 17-8. — NG

Rocking the red on the road: There was a lot of red visible in the lower bowl of T-Mobile Arena during warmups before Game 2, which was a sore sight for Golden Knights owner Bill Foley.

“I don’t like it,” Foley told of the clusters of red-clad fans at Game 1. Foley estimated there were about 2,000 Capitals fans in the arena on Monday, including 100 Monumental Sports and Entertainment employees who flew out for the game on Capitals owner Ted Leonsis’s dime. As one means of combating the issue, Foley said he planned to look into splitting up blocks of tickets on StubHub, Vegas’s secondary ticket partner.

“I can move around the ticket locations,” he said. “I don’t want to see them together.” — SA

Postgame reading
Immerse yourself in the Capitals’ postseason with The Post’s coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs: