When I think of Las Vegas, Nevada two things come to my mind: magic shows and the place where our hockey team, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup. Tuesday night, the Caps and the Vegas Golden Knights will square off inside T-Mobile Arena for the first time since that June 7th night and there will be a whirlwind of emotions for the players, coaches and fans.
The Caps won seven in a row before squandering a 5-1 lead which resulted in a loss to the Anaheim Ducks but being back in a setting where they achieved the pinnacle of success should bode well for the guys in red and white.
“Lot of good memories. Especially the locker room. Hopefully they’ve regrouped from that,” Nicklas Backstrom told reporters after Sunday’s game.
“Obviously it’s a great memory and lots of good times over there. But that was last year. This year is a new year. Of course when you’re coming back you’re going to have memories, you’re going to have a smile on your face but as soon as the game starts it’s a different day,” added Alex Ovechkin.
The Capitals lost both regular season games to the Golden Knights and dropped Game 1 before ripping off four straight en route to the Stanley Cup. Vegas has, well not quite recuperated from the defeat.
— Craig Laughlin (@Laughlin18) December 3, 2018
— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) December 3, 2018
The Capitals knew entering this season was going to be tough. Yes winning seasons and best records in the regular season gives your team a target on your back but perhaps no target is larger than the one on the back of a team coming off a championship. It’s perhaps why the Ducks got a major confidence boost coming back from a four-goal deficit on the road against the defending champs. Braden Holtby believes that although they might’ve suffered their most disappointing loss of the year, it came at the right time with the next game happening in that special setting.
“Obviously that’s a special place for us but if there’s a blessing in disguise, it’s this game happened right before it. So now we know we have to focus on the game we’re going to play and not worry about what happened in the past. It’s these games that are after (tough losses) that show the true character of your group and that’s one we’re going to push forward to put our best game on the ice there,” said Holtby.
Head coach Todd Reirden spoke more about the felling of landing in Las Vegas and walking inside T-Mobile Arena for the first time since June after the team held an optional skate on Monday.
“Pretty awesome feeling remembering the last time we were in this building. Special time for us as individuals, our team, our organization, everything. It’s awesome,” said Reirden.
Get your coffee ready if you’re watching from D.C. Puck drop is at 10:00 p.m.