Kuznetsov's wizardry brings Capitals within 1 win of first Stanley Cup

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In a can't-miss situation, that's exactly what he did.

The Washington Capitals have taken a 3-0 lead into the first intermission of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. Make them move the puck sooner than they want to, hold the blue line, make them dump it and then you have numbers back for good breakouts. "And then you shoot it and you're like, 'Oh!"'

What Kuznetsov is doing now is exactly what Golden Knights GM George McPhee envisioned when selecting him 26th overall in 2010.

After the Capitals, who were swept by Detroit in their only other Cup appearance 20 years ago, weathered that Vegas surge thanks to some good luck, along with poor execution from the visitors, Oshie made it 1-0 at 9:54 of the first on the power play.

Left winger Ryan Reaves said the Knights need to "get away from the cute game and get back to the grind".

"One win away; it's the hardest one", said Alex Ovechkin, who is trying to become the first Russian player to captain a Stanley Cup champion.

The Golden Knights have found how hard it is to try to come back against the Capitals and need to adjust quickly down 2-1 in the Cup Final going into Game 4 Monday night.

Vegas' success has been due to its star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. "We have to commit to giving them a lot of different looks". "It's fine with us", said Vegas forward David Perron, whose team will look to even the series 2-2 in Monday's Game 4.

Teammates celebrate with Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie, center of the huddle, after his goal in the first period. "The Post" is a symbol of the frustration Vegas has experienced in this series after winning 12 of 15 in roaring to the Western Conference title. Teams with a 3-1 advantage in the Cup final have won 31 consecutive series and are 32-1 all-time since 1939.

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Vegas got a power play early in the second, but were unable get past Holtby, and found iron twice more as the period wore on.

"We don't dwell on the game before, let alone things that happened in years past", Oshie said. "And somehow it didn't go in". "Somehow, it didn't go in".

"It's do-or-die for us", said Neal.

Vegas acquired Tatar at the trade deadline from the Red Wings for a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and a third-round pick in the National Hockey League draft. Probably won't be the last. You try to do what you've always done, not just with the way the game has changed. Devante Smith-Pelly beat Fleury glove side with 6:06 remaining the increase the Capitals' lead.

Capitals fans are starting to believe in something for the first time in their franchise's history, so we'll see how they behave if they do actually win the Stanley Cup. He's a physical presence back there and maybe gives guys a second less to think with the puck, I guess you could say, and maybe rush a play or something if they don't want to get hit. "That's what we'll focus on".

"I think it's a great stat when you talk about winning, because it shows you that players are ready to play, ready to compete, ready to battle and do whatever it takes to win", Gallant said. We can tell you Oh is leaning toward the over, and he has a strong money-line pick that you can get only over at SportsLine. "We have a good bunch of character guys in this room". The Golden Knights instead selected defenseman Jon Merrill. Tuch and Brayden McNabb both lined shots off the post after Neal, who scored with just under 16 minutes left to make it 4-1.

Vegas swarmed goaltender Braden Holtby in Game 1, peppering him with shots and creating chaos by getting bodies all around him for second and even third chances. He gave up six goals on 23 shots as Vegas dropped its third straight game.

Gallant said he never considered pulling Fleury. "There was a lot of that tonight".

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