The Washington Capitals are one game away from winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in its 44 years of existence.
When the Capitals take the ice for Thursday night’s Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights, they will have to get through 60 minutes of play in order to achieve hockey’s greatest accomplishment. It won’t be easy. Head coach Barry Trotz and the Capitals understand they cannot afford to get too ahead of themselves and underestimate the now desperate Golden Knights.
“There’s a very proud team on the other side,” Trotz told reporters on Wednesday. “They’re going to come with their best game. We’re not going to beat them with anything less than our best game. We’re going to have to match their work ethic . . . we’re going to have to leave it out there. It’s just one game. You just focus on the next game.”
How Vegas became the most successful expansion team in sports history
As Washington fights to quickly put an end to the series, the Golden Knights face an uphill battle to keep their season alive. Vegas played its best game in Game 4, where a bit of ‘puck luck’ wasn’t favorable to the Golden Knights.
Vegas outshot the Capitals 30 to 23, but James Neal failed to score on a virtually empty net and the power play was held scoreless while Washington built upon its initial 4-0 lead. As a result, the Golden Knights now stare down the possibility of an abrupt conclusion to their miraculous season.
“We can’t be scared of losing,” Vegas’ goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury told NHL.com. “I think we’ve got to go out there and play hard and attack. Be on our toes and go create some good stuff.”
Vegas forward William Karlsson wasn’t a participant in the team’s practice on Wednesday morning, but teammates reiterated that Karlsson is ‘fine.’ It’s more likely than not that Karlsson dresses for Game 5.
Sporting News will provide updates throughout Game 5 (All Times Eastern)
8:08 — Panic! at the Disco just wrapped up. Almost time for the National Anthem . . . then it’s puck-drop! In the meantime, enjoy Alex Ovechkin and Marc-Andre Fleury’s exchange during warm-ups.
Alex Ovechkin vs. Marc-Andre Fleury in warmups pic.twitter.com/p4pW4XYN7V
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 8, 2018
7:44 — Both team have taken the ice for warm-ups. Ryan Reaves and Ryan Carpenter will not play tonight. William Carrier and David Perron check in.
6:30 — All the way over on the east coast, Caps fans are filling up Capital One Arena ahead of Game 5.
How many inflatable #StanleyCups are at @CapitalOneArena right now? Not one … #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/uvSmz25qbY
— David Steele (@David_C_Steele) June 7, 2018
Noon — Despite trailing 3-1 in the series, Vegas’ fans show their full support at today’s optional skate.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 7, 2018
11 a.m. — Capitals fan or not, check out the immaculate job Washington’s digital staff did with their hype video.
? #ALLCAPS #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/hZ7Wi63Y0b
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 7, 2018