(Photo by Getty Images)

Las Vegas–Tonight, the Stanley Cup Finals shifted to the our Nations Capital where Washington hosted the event for the first time in 20 years.

The Golden Knights and Washington Capitals each earned a series split back in Vegas. Vegas took the series opener by a 6-4 final while the Capitals responded in game two with a 3-2 win.

Before the puck dropped at Capital One Arena in front of 18,506 sea of red Capitals with some Vegas fans in attendance, the opening act of the night featured Sting and  Di Real Shaggy.

Sting and Di Real Shaggy performed outside on the streets of downtown DC that had a large crowd of Capitals fans enjoying the pregame festivities.

That was later followed up by Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak who announced the starting lineups for both teams, much like Michael Buffer did back in Vegas. Sajak has been a 13 year season ticket holder with the Washington Capitals.

In the early stages of the first period, Alexander Ovechkin and Evegny Kuznetsov had a prime 2 on 1 scoring opportunity on the Golden Knights and if it wasn’t were the stellar play by Marc-André Fleury in net at 1:07 into the game, the Capitals would have been up by a goal.

Later in the period, the Capitals thought that they scored the first goal of the game when Chandler Stephenson put the puck in the back of the net past Fleury with 14:56 remaining in the first.

The goal was however called off by the officials because Devante Smith-Pelly made contact with Fleury as he was called for a goaltender inference penalty. Vegas however would not score on the power play and it remained a 0-0 game.

Game three would remain deadlocked at 0-0 after the first period of play was over. This marked the first time of the Stanley Cup Final where both the Golden Knights and Capitals would not score a single goal in the opening frame.

1:10 into the middle frame, the Washington Capitals would get on the board first after Fleury coughed off the initial shot by John Carlson, this would then cause a mad scramble during the sequence, and at the tail end of the play, Ovechkin cashed in with the backhander for a 1-0 lead on Vegas.

Ovechkin’s 14th goal of the playoffs and his 60th of his career erupted the crowd at Capital One Arena.

With 7:10 left in the 2nd period, the Capitals would find the back of the net once again, this time it was from Kuznetsov.

On the scoring play, Jay Beagle dished the puck over to Kuznetsov who eventually led a 3 on 1 into Golden Knights territory and with plenty time painted his target and went far side post on Fleury for a 2-0 Washington lead on Vegas.

Kuznetsov the playoffs leading point scorer earned his 12th goal on the scoring sequence.

The Capitals kept the Golden Knights off the scoresheet for two full periods until they put themselves on the board with a mistake by Braden Holtby in the third frame of the game.

Holtby tired to backhand his pass out to open ice but the puck catch Pierre-Edouard Bellemare‘s stick and that led to an opportunistic Tomas Nosek to capitalize and pumped it home that pull Vegas within a goal for a 2-1 score at 3:29 into the period.

Nosek scored his 4th goal of the playoffs on Holtby’s miscue.

At the 13:53 mark of the period, the Capitals would restore their 2 goal cushion on the Golden Knights when Shea Theodore made a mistake and turned the puck over to Beagle in Vegas territory and with an open Smith-Pelly sent the rubber over to him where he toe dragged it and went upstairs on Fleury for a 3-1 lead.

Smith-Pelly would go on to record his 5th goal of the playoffs.

That’s all the Capitals would need at the end of the night as they defeated the Golden Knights 3-1 in game three of the Stanley Cup Final to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Holtby came up big once again for the Capitals with his 21 save performance along with his .955 save percentage.

For Fleury his struggles continued in net for the Golden Knights as this was the third time in the finals where he has yet to reach the 90% mark in save percentage. His shaky performance in game three, he stopped 23 shots of 26 the Capitals threw at him and would record a .885 save percentage.

Monday is game four where the Golden Knights find themselves in a must win situation.

3 Stars Of The Game

Washington Capitals: Evengy Kuznetsov (1 goal and 1 assist)

Washington Capitals: Jay Beagle (2 assists)

Washington Capitals: Braden Holtby (.955 save percentage and 21 saves)

Honorable Mentions: Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin and Devante Smith-Pelly (1 goal each)

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