The storylines are storybook-worthy for this year’s Stanley Cup finals. The Las Vegas Golden Knights started their first ever season under the sorrowful cloud of the Las Vegas massacre, and willed their way through the season to a title shot, something never done before in the NHL. The Washington Capitals were previous Stanley Cup favorites many times, always “choking” by the second round, usually to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This year, however, they vanquished the Penguins curse and have beaten the odds in each round.

At many points this season, they were doubtful to even make the playoffs.

There’s the GM’s of the Golden Knights, George McPhee, and the Capitals’ Scott MacLellan, who go back decades, even rooming together for three years. Not to be overlooked is Alex Ovechkin, arguably one of the best players in NHL history never to have won a Stanley Cup. He is on a mission to finally lead the Capitals to the NHL promised land, but the odds-makers are favoring Vegas.

Vegas held a hockey game after the show

Epic battles with knights, pyrotechnics, and a drummer parade led by none other than Carrot Top were all part of the pre-game build-up, Vegas style. The Washington Capitals, like all the other teams playing at T-Mobile arena, would just have to wait until after the show to get the party started, so to speak.

These pre-game antics could be what gave the Golden Knights such a home-ice advantage all season long.

Game 1 was going to be a match determined by which team remained more focused and which team best executed their game plan.

Washington sure seemed off their game, at least defensively in a goal-laden slugfest.

Holtby far from perfect in game 1

Washington goaltender, Braden Holtby, entered game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals with two straight shutouts in the final matches that eliminated Tampa Bay. Alex Ovechkin entered game 1 having one of his best post-seasons of his career.

The Capitals had been playing lights-out defense of late.

That all came to a screeching halt in game 1. At times, the Capitals defense looked completely out of sorts, and just plain sloppy. Braden Holtby played the kind of game that got him benched in the regular season. With such a poor defensive showing, Washington’s offense showed signs of life which led to a high scoring affair. They somehow managed to take a 4-3 lead early in the third period, but their defense failed to hold that lead very long and Vegas’s fourth line looked stellar in route to scoring three unanswered goals including an empty-netter, to take game 1, 6-4.

If the Capitals do not tighten up their play, this could be a short-lived series. They need to ignore the glitzy Vegas show and focus on the Hockey that got them past both the Penguins and Tampa Bay.