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Capitals draw 14,485 for Game 2 watch party of Stanley Cup Final

Capitals draw 14,485 for Game 2 watch party of Stanley Cup Final

In a chaotic game busy with collisions and vengeance, wicked shots and pretty passes, smart decisions and dumb luck, sometimes there's a singular moment that transcends hockey's attractive mess. A called-shot home run or a timely stick measurement request.

On the night, Holtby stopped 37 of 39 Vegas shots.

The Washington goalie's coaches and teammates weren't quite so calm about a save that will go down in Capitals history as the key to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night, evening the series at one game apiece. Los Angeles went 14-2 in 2012 and the last team to open 13-3 was the 1999 Sabres after they won Game 1 of the final in Dallas on Jason Woolley's overtime goal. It very almost, did as the Knights tried to go tic-tac-toe between the boards, Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch. Eakin made a snap pass to speedster Alex Tuch to the right of the goal mouth.

Holtby capped his energetic performance with a jaw-dropping stick save with 1:59 to play, stretching back to rob Alex Tuch of a possible tying goal. But regardless of what caused you in to watch Vegas win 6-4 in Game 1, before losing 3-2 to Washington in Game 2, chances are you weren't disappointed.

The reaction from fans and players was priceless. It seemingly was going in, but a sideways Holtby made the stop.

For the newbies, the futures book represents betting on teams to reach a certain milestone, like win a championship - rather than winning one specific game. "I have three or four years left in my tank where I can compete at the highest level...that's why I'm here and that's why I want to sign in the National Hockey League". If healthy but not what he once was from a transition/all-around standpoint, Kovalchuk could at least be a premium version of a "trigger" on a power play (see: Sam Gagner's greatest moments with the Columbus Blue Jackets). "Maybe the save of a lifetime". Looking at reporters, he then drew laughter when he said, "That's smooth, real smooth" to perfectly mimic the Patrick Kane-Duncan Keith commercial that's been running ad nauseum on NBC during the playoffs.

"I haven't yelled that loud for someone to score a goal since Ovi scored one of his milestones", Washington forward T.J. Oshie said. "I mean, it's unbelievable". That's what we need.

"It's awesome. I've got a lot of friends at NHL Network that came over from ESPN, so when I work for NHL Network, it's basically like working for ESPN".

Holtby: "Luckily it hit me".

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And while Washington outhit the Golden Knights, 46-39, it was some of Vegas' bigger hits that ignited the Capitals in the second period. They lost Kuznetsov. They refused to lose the game.

"Every time this team has faced some adversity, whether it's been down in a series, in games, or we've lost important players at crucial times, players have just stepped up to the plate and everybody has just been a little bit better", Eller said. Trotz joked it's just more "adversity" the #Caps will have to overcome. He admits the Capitals, too, have had issues with trying not to lose instead of trying to win - a death knell for athletes.

"I think they got energy from that, I think they were pissed off, that's how sports go", Vegas forward Erik Haula said. "At the end of the day you really have got to see where your game is at". I could never root against Tampa, but that's a big difference in payout. I know how resilient this group has been all year.

It was 98 degrees at game time in Las Vegas.

Game two of the final goes at 5:00 p.m.

Marc-Andre Fleury may be hitting a wall. Prior to game one, Fleury had only allowed 27 goals in 15 games, including four shutouts. There are bad storms in the area and they have not been able to deplane. I don't care who they play against. "You can talk to Dave about that", Gallant said.

No doubt. But Holtby is better now.

"Everything else, that's for the off-season and in the future, where you can think about that", says Holtby, also a Zen master.

And make our best saves.