In a game full of stars, Vegas’ fourth line made the difference in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final; Nosek, Bellemare, Reaves, Backstrom, Smith and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Tomas Nosek, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan Reaves – The Golden Knights’ fourth line proved to be the difference, scoring three third-period goals in a 6-4 Game One win over Washington.
Nosek scored a pair of goals, giving him four points (3 G, 1 A) in the past three games. Reaves added a goal, the second straight game in which he’s found the net.
Not only did they score the game’s decisive goals, but Vegas’ fourth line had a dominant possession game (18 for, 6 against, 75.0 CF%, 9-1 scoring chances).
Nicklas Backstrom – The Capitals centre contributed a goal and an assist in Game One at Vegas. He has five points (3 G, 2 A) in the past three games.
Reilly Smith – Vegas’ first-line right winger produced a goal and an assist in the Game One win over Washington. He has 18 points (3 G, 15 A) in 16 playoff games.
Chandler Stephenson, Jay Beagle and Devante Smith-Pelly – While Vegas’ fourth line was contributing to victory, Washington’s fourth line had a tough night. The trio spent most of the night in their own end (3 for, 13 against, 18.8 CF%, 0-5 scoring chances) and they were on the ice for two goals against during 5-on-5 play.
Braden Holtby – The active goaltender with the best playoff save percentage, the Capitals netminder surrendered five goals on 33 shots in a 6-4 Game One loss at Vegas. It was the first time in five years that he allowed five goals in a playoff game.
Marc-Andre Fleury – Vegas’ star netminder, who had a playoff-leading .947 save percentage entering the Final, gave up four goals on 28 shots in a 6-4 Game One victory. Game One against Winnipeg was the only time in his year’s playoffs that Fleury had given up four goals against with fewer than 28 shots.
Officials – It was not a banner night for the men in stripes. From Ryan Reaves getting a free pass for his cross-check on John Carlson before Vegas’ fourth goal to no call on Wilson for a clearly late hit on Marchessault, to just generally allowing tackling to go on without penalty, it was not the best officiating for a game that was otherwise exciting.
STANLEY CUP HALF FULL/HALF EMPTY
Tom Wilson – The Capitals winger scored a goal, but also delivered a way-late hit to Golden Knights star LW Jonathan Marchessault. It was pretty much the standard Tom Wilson Experience.
Golden Knights D Deryk Engelland recorded a pair of assists, his first points of the playoffs, and was on the ice for four goals for and two against in a 6-4 Game One win over Washington…Capitals RW T.J. Oshie chipped in a couple of assists in Game One at Vegas. He has 13 points (4 G, 9 A) in the past 12 games.
Scott Cullen can be reached at email@example.com