Nate Schmidt Makes His Old Team Pay, Caps Fall 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights

michael banner 2A Stanley Cup Finals rematch happened on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Washington Capitals returned to the scene of the place where they captured their first Stanley Cup but the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t feel too well welcoming the Stanley Cup champs in their house. They got revenge in the rematch with a 5-3 win with the game-winning goal coming from….. Nate Schmidt

Yes the pregame intros are still epic, even in the regular season. Sadly they didn’t show it on TV, or happily depending on how you look at it.

Nate Schmidt said in an article that he wanted to best his former team, saying that while he was happy for his friends on his former team, losing to them in the finals was a bad feeling. It was no doubt that the home team wearing silver, black and gold was ready for this rematch and it showed in the opening minutes. 63 seconds into the game, Brett Connolly was whistled for goaltender interference even though it kind of looked like he was pushed in. That put the Golden Knights on the power play and they wasted no time. With no defense near the goal crease, Ryan Reaves banged a puck in at 2:30 to put Vegas up 1-0. Clearly the penalty kill was out of position.

Braden Holtby was able to make this great save after a turnover in the neutral zone. Minutes after the play, Madison Bowey was called for holding Alex Tuch. Two power play opportunities for the Golden Knights in just over the first eight minutes of the game.

This time the power play was short-lived after the Golden Knights were called for too many dudes on the ice (stick tap to Vogs). Nobody converted but the Caps would even the score at 15:33. Coming down the ice towards the goal, Connolly whiffed a cross-ice pass to Jakub Vrana. V finished it for his seventh goal of the season.

The score would be 1-1 after one with shots in favor of the Caps, 9-7. The second period began with Alex Ovechkin leveling Tomas Nosek.

At 8:35, Nick Holden and Evgeny Kuznetsov each lost their sticks. Holden’s stick was caught in between the boards and Kuznetsov grabbed Holden’s stick and not his. By the time he realized it, it was too late. He was penalized for illegal use of equipment.

Ovechkin gave the Caps the lead with a backhanded rebound off the boards for his 20th goal of the season.

At 15:42, Ryan Reaves laid out a hit on Tom Wilson that was so bad, his face hit the surface of the ice. He was given a match penalty and was ejected from the game. Wilson left the game, likely with a concussion.

“It was tough to see to be honest,” Jakub Vrana told the media after the game. “I don’t really know what to say. I think it was pretty dirty because his body was already turned the other way, he couldn’t see him there. Honestly I was just focusing on the game. I think it was dirty but we’ll see what’s gonna happen.”

Capitals head coach Todd Reirden was vocal about Wilson’s ejection from Friday night’s game. He had another interesting take from Wilson getting blindsided by Reaves. As of this writing, there isn’t an update but he will be evaluated in the morning

“It’s a rivalry. There’s a good battle there but that was something that he targeted all game. Reaves targeted him the entire game,” Reirden explained. “You could hear it on every face-off. You can hear the things that were being said and that’s a blindside hit where a guy, unsuspecting player, hits his head on the ice so that’s disappointing. You can put two and two together but he targeted him the entire game. Like I said, you can figure it out from there.”

The Caps power play was carried over into the third. The second period ended with the Golden Knights outshooting the Caps 10-9, Washington leading in total shots 18-17. The Golden Knights killed off the lengthy penalty and gained momentum from it with two unanswered goals from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and former Capital Cody Eakin to put them out front 3-2. The goals came 16 seconds apart.

The Caps tied it with Vrana’s second goal of the game. This blast was V’s eighth goal of the season and the second two-goal game of his career.

At 14:46, Nic Dowd was called for a double-minor high-sticking penalty near the boards in a tussle with Brayden McNabb. The Golden Knights got a four-minute power play as a result. With two big components of the Caps PK out, Wilson and Dowd, this presented a challenge they nearly executed. There was a scrum for a loose puck in front of the net and Chandler Stephenson knocked the puck away. So far so good. But then things got awkward.

Point in case from earlier in the article, Nate Schmidt said he wanted to best his former team. He got his wish. Schmidt let out a shot that Holtby just missed with his glove to give the Golden Knights the lead. The goal came with 10 seconds left on that long power play. Schmidt also got an empty net goal to seal the win. The former was Schmidt’s first goal of the season. Awkward.

That would be the difference as the Capitals fell 5-3 to the Golden Knights. Shots in the third were 11-8 Vegas and Golden Knights overall 28-26. The Caps drop their second straight game after winning seven in a row, their record dropping to 15-9-3, however, they’re still in first place one point ahead of Columbus.

“We didn’t get the result today. We already have to focus on the next game,” said Vrana.

The Caps will take on the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night in another late nighter but this one starts at 9 p.m. If there’s one thing the Caps need to improve on it’s the power-play. They failed to take advantage of a five-minute power play and went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage the whole night.


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