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Nosek leads Golden Knights to 6-4 win over Capitals in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

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Steve Marcus

Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring in the first period during Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals at T-Mobile Arena Monday, May 28, 2018. Also pictured are Reilly Smith (19) and Jonathan Marchessault (81).

Updated Monday, May 28, 2018 | 8:07 p.m.

In a Stanley Cup Final matchup full of stars, Game 1 was decided by the lesser-known players.

The Golden Knights received two third-period goals from their fourth line to come from behind and beat Washington 6-4 to take a 1-0 series lead Monday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Ryan Reaves scored his second goal as a member of the Golden Knights to tie the game 4-4 early in the third. Reaves used his physicality to clear a path in front of Washington’s goal, then lifted a puck over the shoulder of goalie Braden Holtby for the score.

The game-winner came off the stick of Tomas Nosek, who also only has two goals this postseason. Defenseman Shea Theodore pinched from the blue line to hold the puck in the Capitals’ zone, then fed a gorgeous pass through the defense to Nosek, who one-timed it into the wide-open net.

Nosek added an empty net goal in the final seconds to ice the game.

Jonathan Marchessault left the game midway through the third period with an injury after being blindsided by Washington’s Tom Wilson near center ice, but returned to action later. Marchessault wasn’t near the puck, and never saw Wilson coming on the collision.

Golden Knights, Capitals tied 3-3 after two periods

Capitals forward T.J. Oshie made an amazing, no-look pass to John Carlson to tie Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final for the third time.

Oshie faked the shot, dropping Marc-Andre Fleury to his knees, then slid the puck over to Carlson, who scored the easy goal to make it 3-3 midway through the second period.

Vegas took the lead 3-2 earlier in the period with Reilly Smith’s third goal of the playoffs.

The initial shot went wide of the goal as Washington goalie Braden Holtby sprawled to his right, but the rebound ricocheted hard off the end boards.

Karlsson scooped the rebound up and fed it in front to Smith, who blasted it into the wide-open goal as Holtby was again caught out of position.

Golden Knights, Capitals tied 2-2 after one period

The Golden Knights and Capitals are tied 2-2 after a rollercoaster of a first period to start the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena.

Vegas got off to its usual hot start at home, taking an early lead, but the Capitals stormed back with two goals of their own to lead 2-1 after the first period.

William Karlsson then tied the game 2-2 with a great hustle play to retrieve a rebound behind Washington’s net and tuck it into the goal before goalie Braden Holtby could recover.

Early on, Colin Miller opened the scoring with a missile of a slap shot from the letters reading “Stanley Cup Final” on the ice at T-Mobile Arena. The puck sailed through traffic and past Holtby.

The power play goal gave the Golden Knights an early 1-0 lead and Vegas dominated play early, outshooting the Capitals 8-2.

Brett Connolly tipped a shot by Michal Kempny past Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the game 1-1 with just over five minutes remaining in the first period. Connolly redirected the puck to the short side post, just past the sliding pads of Fleury, who was lunging to the far side to stop the original shot.

Nicklas Backstrom gave Washington its first lead when he streaked into the slot and put a loose puck into a wide open net as Fleury tried to lunge across his crease. T.J. Oshie attempted a wraparound shot from behind the goal, but the puck slipped off his blade and right to Backstrom.

Karlsson’s goal evened the game and the Golden Knights outshot Washington 11-9 over the first 20 minutes of hockey.

Pre game

Deryk Engelland woke up this morning, drank his normal cup of coffee and hung out with his boys before heading to the practice rink, just like every other day.

Except it isn’t.

Today Engelland will step on the ice at T-Mobile Arena for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, as the Golden Knights host the Washington Capitals.

“I think we’ve done a good job all year just staying even keel,” Engelland said. “We have to worry about the game tonight and go from there.”

It’s been eight days since the Golden Knights took out the Winnipeg Jets in five games to win the Western Conference title.

“We’re anxious,” he said. “It’s been a long wait and it seems like forever since we’ve played last so I think guys in the room are just itching to get going.”

Most players grow up winning an imaginary Stanley Cup in their driveway, but defenseman Nate Schmidt said he always got matched up against his older brother and his friends, so he never won.

Today he woke up knowing he has a chance to play for the real thing.

“I feel great. I was pretty excited when I woke up this morning, I’m not going to lie,” Schmidt said. “Everybody has taken on the persona of making sure that you understand this is the same game we’ve been playing all of our lives, just on a little bit bigger stage.”

But as much as the players attempt to downplay the moment, tonight is special.

“It’s awesome,” Engelland said. “This is what you dream about all your life growing up, is a chance to play for it. Living here (in Las Vegas) for a long time now, and now playing here is kind of surreal.”

Prediction: Golden Knights 4, Capitals 2

Playoffs record for predictions: 10-5

Season record for predictions: 38-26

Puck drops: 5:00 p.m.

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM

TV: NBC (DirecTV 3, Cox 1003, Dish Network 3)

Betting line: Golden Knights minus-150, Total 5.5 minus-125 to the under

Golden Knights playoff record (12-3) (6-1 home)

Coach: Gerard Gallant

Playoffs goal leader: Jonathan Marchessault (8)

Playoffs assist leader: Reilly Smith (14)

Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (12-3, 1.68 goals against average)

Washington Capitals playoff record (12-7) (8-2 away)

Coach: Barry Trotz

Playoffs goal leader: Alex Ovechkin (12)

Playoffs assist leader: Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson (13)

Expected goalie: Braden Holtby (12-6, 2.04 goals against average)

Golden Knights expected game day roster

Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Carpenter, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Tomas Nosek, David Perron, Ryan Reaves, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.

Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, Luca Sbisa, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.

Goalies (2): Marc-Andre Fleury and Maxime Lagace

Jesse Granger can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Jesse on Twitter at twitter.com/JesseGranger_.

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