The Washington Capitals evened up the Stanley Cup Final at one game each by holding on for a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2 of the series.

Stanley Cup Game 2
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury reacts after giving up a goal to the Washington Capitals in the second period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Image: Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Capitals now have home-ice advantage after nabbing a win at T-Mobile Arena, and will look to increase their advantage when they host Game 3 back in Washington on Saturday.

Knights Deliver Early Attack

Game 2 didnt look to be going Washingtons way in the early going. The Golden Knights did what theyve done in all nine of their home games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring the first goal during the first period. James Neal opened the scoring this time, scoring less than eight minutes in, on a goal assisted by Colin Miller and Luca Sbisa.

Things only got worse for the Capitals from there. A hit by Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb sent Washington forward Evgeny Kuznetsov to the locker room a few minutes later. Kuznetsov, who has been the leading scorer for the Capitals during the playoffs, did not return to the ice, and Washington did not provide an update on his condition after the game, only saying that he had an upper-body injury.

But rather than fold in the face of a difficult situation, the Capitals dug in. Lars Eller tied the game late in the first period. Washington then looked to take control of the game in the second period, as Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Orpik both found the net, giving the visitors a 3-1 advantage.

Holtby Shuts Door, Locks It

Vegas stayed in touching distance thanks to a power play goal by Shea Theodore with just over two minutes remaining in the second period. But the Knights werent able to take advantage of that momentum, as a scoreless third period left the final score at 3-2 in favor of the Capitals.

Most of the credit for closing the door in the third period went to goaltender Braden Holtby. The Golden Knights had a five-on-three power play in the final period, but couldnt score despite putting several shots on goal. Holtby then made an incredible save on what looked to be an open net opportunity for Alex Tuch with two minutes left in the game.

We have a really proud group of penalty killers, Holtby told NBCSN after the game. They did an amazing job. That was the turning point of the game.

Vegas coach Gerald Gallant also praised Holtby, who had 37 saves on the night.

We didnt play our best game, but I thought we had 39 shots and we still created a lot, Gallant told reporters after the game. Its one of those games where Holtby played real well. He was probably the difference in the hockey game.

The loss was only the second for the Golden Knights at home during the playoffs, and the first to come in regulation. However, they have reason to feel confident heading into Game 3 in Washington: Vegas is 6-2 on the road this postseason, while Washington has only gone 4-5 at Capital One Arena during the playoffs.

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