Now, down 3-1 the beloved expansion, the beloved Vegas Golden Knights and their phenomenal inaugural season are teetering on the brink of elimination. If you’re wondering whether Vegas can rise to the challenge to keep their season alive when they host the gritty Washington Capitals in the nation’s capital on the NHL Finals on Thursday night, let’s find out right now.


Game Information

🏆: #NHL Finals
🏒: Washington Capitals (63-32-9) at Vegas Golden Knights (64-28-8)
🏟: T-Mobile Arena
⏰: Thursday, June 7, 2018, at 8:00 PM ET
📺: NBC
🎰: Vegas Golden Knights -1½ +215 | -130 | U 5½ -110


The Golden Knights were on the wrong end of an embarrassing 6-2 loss on Monday night that put them in a crushing 3-1 hole against Washington and now, they need a huge effort in Game 5 to avoid elimination.

The Golden Knights were held scoreless until where James Neal scored at 5:53 of the third period followed by a Reilly Smith goal at 12:26 that cut the deficit to 4-2. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed all six goals on 25 shots.

NHL Finals Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights Game 5

“It probably changes the game,” Neal said. “It’s probably a different game after that I had a wide-open net, and then I just hit the post.”

Fleury called the loss “frustrating and demoralizing.” Coach Gerard Gallant was quick to absolve his goaltender of the blame.

“At least five of the six goals were wide-open nets,” Gallant said. “Nothing he could do on them.”

NHL Finals Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights Game 5 2

Washington got out of the gate quickly by scoring three first period goals as TJ Oshie (PP), Tom Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly all lit the lamp. Evgeny Kuznetsov had four assists in the emphatic win.

“I’ve never been there,” Kuznetsov said after just the fourth four-assist game in Cup Final history. “And I don’t really care about that yet, so it’s kind of easy for me. You know me, I always stay lose a little bit, especially off the games. I’m pretty sure when game gonna comes, we’re gonna a little bit think about it. It’s pretty hard to not think about that.”

NHL Finals Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights Game 5 3

John Carlson and Brett Connolly closed out the scoring for Washington in the stunning rout.

“It can be easy in a game where you can clinch to get a little bit ahead of ourselves,” Oshie said. “But we’ve got a good group of leaders in the room … and we’ll be focused at the start.”


Prediction

While things certainly aren’t looking good for Vegas right now, this is a team that has answered the call time and time again when they’ve been tested this season and I believe they’ve got one more solid performance in them to keep their season alive for one more game at the very least.

NHL Finals Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights Game 5 4

Golden Knights are a robust 16-2 in their last 18 home games against a team with a winning road record, 7-1 in their last 8 vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600 and a near-perfect 6-1 in their last 7 after allowing 5 goals or more in their previous game. Conversely, Washington is just 1-5 in their last six Thursday games.

Pure, unadulterated desperation, combined with the fact that they’re playing at home, will lead the Vegas Knights to the season-saving win!

Pick: Vegas 4 Washington 2


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