Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson defends hit on Vegas Golden Knights' Jonathan Marchessault

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The lead lasted a little over a minute before Ryan Reaves tied the game at four at the 2:41 mark.

No matter who wins this series, someone is getting their first Cup, with the Golden Knights taking the first step Monday night.

The Eastern Conference champion Capitals hadn't given up this many goals in 29 games since March 18, but they hadn't seen anything like this charmed run by the upstart Knights. While true that only one player from each team has a Stanley Cup ring - Washington's Brooks Orpik was on the same 2009 Penguins team that won a Stanley Cup with Vegas' Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes - the trend in the seven-game era has been that the franchise making its first Stanley Cup final appearance has lost Game 1.

Wilson delivered a blindside hit on Jonathan Marchessault with the puck nowhere near the Vegas centre in the immediate aftermath.

Gallant employs his fourth line for key face-offs in the defensive zone.

"We're going to look to go to Game 4 in D.C. next Monday night".

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Notes: The victor of Game 1 has lifted the Cup 78.2 per cent of the time since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1939 (61 of 78).

Braden Holtby made 28 saves for the visitors. I trust myself. I play the game hard.

"I think next game is going to be different, and all the nervousness, all the bad thing goes away in this game", said captain Alex Ovechkin, who had an assist. On three occasions, the overtime victor has been scored within the first two minutes, and the latest single-overtime victor was an absolute buzzer-beater, coming when Mike Bossy scored with two ticks remaining in the first overtime of Game 1 in the 1982 Stanley Cup final.

"I saw the hit".

Reaves was a bit fortunate, as the officials failed to whistle what was a clear cross-check by Reaves on John Carlson before the Golden Knights forward poked the puck home. The two teams combined for 62 shots on goal, and the third period alone featured four goals. Nicklas Backstrom then gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead with 4:37 remaining with his fifth goal of the postseason.

Marchessault, by his own account, is going to be OK, but such a hit could well have brought an end to a playoff performance that's generating some Conn Smythe buzz.

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