After a sloppy start defensively for the Washington Capitals en route to a 6-4 high scoring loss in Game 1, it was time to tighten up and improve clearing the puck out of the goal area and reduce the unforced turnovers in their defensive third. As for the Golden Knights, they were looking for more of the same fast-paced loose play that put them on the winning end for so much of their inaugural season. Both teams were hoping for better ice conditions, as Game 1 brought soft ice and some unpredictable puck bounces, due to the scorching Vegas temperatures.

One specific match-up that would continue to be closely watched in Game 2 was Vegas defenseman and former Capital Nate Schmidt and Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. In Game 1 Schmidt had been all over Ovechkin, limiting his chances. Washington needed to get Ovechkin and his line shifted into a higher gear to have success against the Golden Knights.

Capitals defenseman Orpik provides game winner

The Capitals came out playing much tighter than in Game 1, but that didn’t stop the Golden Knights from drawing first blood, going up 1-0. Golden Knights defenseman Luca Sbisa was able to play a pass through to forward James Neal, who beat Washington goal tender Braden Holtby. By the end of the first period, Lars Eller tied it at 1-1 for the Capitals.

The second period belonged to the Capitals as Lars Eller assisted Alex Ovechkin in putting Washington up 2-1. Later in the period, Eller assisted Brooks Orpik in the eventual game-winning goal to put the Capitals up 3-1 on a power play.

This was a sweet one for Orpik, who hadn’t scored in more than two years. Later in the second period, Vegas drew to within one on a power play goal of their own, provided by defenseman Shea Theodore.

Holtby steals show in Capitals win

Washington goaltender, Braden Holtby, who looked more than a little shaky in the first game, came up big, with arguably the best save so far in the playoffs.

With about two minutes left in the third period, the Capitals were clinging to a 3-2 lead and neither team had scored since the second period. Vegas winger Alex Tuch was played a perfect puck and had a point-blank shot against an opposite side leaning Holtby, who managed to extend his stick back in the direction of Tuch’s shot, just blocking the puck enough to keep it out of the goal. In Washington, it’s already being called simply “The Save.”

Washington held on to win 3-2 and head home with the series tied at one game apiece.

Potentially devastating to the Capitals odds of winning the cup, was the injury to leading scorer Evgeny Kuznetsov, who received a crushing hit that sent him out of the game. As of this writing, there is no update as to his condition or prospects for playing again in the series, but that did not stop Capitals fans from celebrating the Game 2 victory.