Tomas Nosek scored two goals, including what proved to be the game-winner with 10:16 remaining in the third period, to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a wild 6-4 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final on Monday night. Midway through the second period, the Capitals and Golden Knights are tied 3-3.
After 10 goals and a Final-record four lead changes overall in a fantastically entertaining opener, it's tough to imagine what these unlikely opponents will do for an encore. "A lot of times you feel like the game is going in one direction and then they score and we score".
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant will clearly be happy with the result, but he likely won't be to enthralled with what turned into a shootout Monday night.
The Game 1 victor has won the last six Cups and 61 of 78 overall. Washington faithful will recall their own franchise's struggles in their first final appearance, too.
Don't take that to mean Washington is going to come out and embarrass Vegas in Game 1, however.
Braden Holtby made 28 saves for the visitors.
"I think next game is going to be different, and all the nervousness, all the bad thing goes away in this game", said captain Alex Ovechkin, who had an assist. Seven games of this, please.
In fact, the opening game of the final series of the season has only headed to extra time on 15 occasions.
The Capitals pressed late with Holtby on the bench, with Lars Eller flubbing on a wide-open net, but were unable to find an equalizer before Nosek sealed it. Coincidentally, both were triple-overtime outings and both were won after 50-plus minutes of extra time.
The Winnipeg-born Reaves scored the game-winner and series-clincher in Game 5 of the West final between Vegas and the Winnipeg Jets eight days ago.
Of course, the beauty of it all is that history only matters until the moment the puck is dropped and Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup final begins.
The electric atmosphere around T-Mobile Arena started two hours prior to the late-afternoon start time, with rapper Lil Jon revving up the crowd in a packed plaza outside the rink before a pre-game spectacle on the ice with actors portraying a knight and his archers defeating an invading army - in this case, the Capitals.