(Photo by Getty Images)

Las Vegas–The Stanley Cup Finals continued tonight between the Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals in front of a record breaking crowd of 18,702 at T-Mobile Arena.

For the Golden Knights they took the opening game of the finals by a 6-4 score over the Capitals that knotted their first ever victory in the 4th round of the playoffs in club history.

The pregame entertainment opened up with local group Imagine Dragons that kicked started the crowd prior to puck drop of game two.

Vegas all season long have never been shy at making their in game entertainment at “The Fortress” one of the best around the National Hockey League and it showed again tonight.

The performance by the Imagine Dragons was later followed up by the first ever 4 ship flyover during the Stanley Cup Final by the United States Air Force. The flyover, featured their newest fighter jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, code-named “Lightning II”.

These fighters are based out of Nellis Air Force Base and are assigned to the 6th Weapons Squadron.

As the Golden Knights opened the scoring in the previous game on the Capitals, that trend continued at the 7:58 mark of the first period in Act 2 in which James Neal scored his 5th goal of the playoffs.

On the scoring play, Golden Knights defenseman Luca Sbisa for that moment acted as an NFL quarterback where he air mailed the pass to Neal and with entry into Capitals territory painted his target and went far side on Braden Holtby that gave Vegas a 1-0 lead.

Neal also recorded his 30th Stanley Cup Playoff goal of his NHL playing career.

After the Neal goal that broke the ice for the Golden Knights both Vegas and Washington stepped the physicality with a string of hits that reached 11 combined the two clubs.

That span of hits, it eventually led to Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov taking the worst of them as it was Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb dishing out the unfortunate hit at the 14:39 mark of the frame.

The video below shows how bad it was for Kuznetsov being on the receiving end of the McNabb hit.

Kuznetsov was later ruled out for the rest of the game as Washington would be without the leading point scorer of the playoffs.

Currently Kuznetsov has 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points.

So for Washington they were down a forward, but for them it created an opportunity as it would be Lars Eller filling the void and stepping up in his absence in the scoring department.

With less than 3 minutes remaining in first period, Eller knotted the contest up for the Capitals when Marc-André Fleury for the second time in the series left his net exposed in a key situation.

On the scoring sequence, Golden Knights forward Erik Haula managed to win the face off but with the relentless play the Capitals they were opportunistic.

With desperation in their game, the puck found it’s way on Andre Burakovsky‘s stick and after that, he connected with Michal Kempny courtesy of a cross ice feed pass and with Eller down low, he cashed in by putting the rubber into the wide open 4 by 6.

Eller recorded his 6th goal of the playoffs on Fleury’s miscue.

For the third time in the series both teams took a tie with them into their respective dressing rooms during an intermission break.

After the first 20 minutes, the hits heavily favored the Capitals 22-16 on the Golden Knights after a very physical first period in game two of the Stanley Cup Final.

5:13 into the middle frame, the Golden Knights would be down a man when Vegas forward Alex Tuch received a cross checking minor on Capitals defenseman John Carlson.

On the power play just 15 seconds in, it was worth the wait for a one Alexander Ovechkin as he has waited 13 seasons to score his first ever Stanley Cup Final goal.

Eller and Nicklas Backstrom teamed up to deliver this very special moment in Ovechkin’s career.

As Ovechkin was parked down low he took the pass from Eller and with Fleury exposing his right side of the net managed to get it by him on the short side that gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead in the game.

This would be Ovechkin’s 13th goal of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and his 59th of his career.

Later in the period, the Capitals would get an insurance goal from veteran blueliner and 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Brooks Orpik.

Getting involved on the play, would be Eller once again as he help set up Orpik and the former Penguin took care of the rest as his wrist shot deflected off of Tuch’s left elbow that fooled Fleury and made it a 3-1 Washington advantage.

This ended a 220 game goal scoring drought for Orpik as he recorded his first of this year’s playoffs.

In the late stages of the second period, the Golden Knights would pull within a goal as Shea Theodore converted on the power play.

With Reilly Smith feeding him the puck at the center point, Theodore’s long range wrister beat Holtby that tighten things up for a 3-2 game.

Theodore’s power play marker gave him his 3rd goal of the playoffs.

As the Golden Knights were within striking distance on the Capitals they stepped up their efforts and made Holtby work in the 3rd period all the way towards end of the contest that included the save of night on Vegas forward Tuch with 1:59 to go.

Holtby’s game saving save on Tuch, managed to get a reaction out of Ovechkin and his expression on his face was one for the ages.

The Capitals would hold on to the very end and defeat the Golden Knights 3-2 to take game two of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Holtby with yeoman’s work earned this win for Washington as he turned away 37 of 39 total shots and would record a .949 save percentage.

At the end of the night, the Capitals dished 46 hits to Vegas’s 39.

Fleury in the loss, looked shaky in net once again for the Golden Knights in game two with his .885 save percentage performance.

With a 1-1 series tie, the next two games take place in the Nation Capital at Capital One Arena on Saturday and Monday.

3 Stars Of The Game

Washington Capitals: Lars Eller (1 goal and 2 assists)

Washington Capitals: Braden Holtby (37 saves)

Washington Capitals: Alexander Ovechkin (1st ever Stanley Cup Final goal)

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