- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Capitals didn’t need “The Save” to save them in Game 3.

In Washington’s 3-1 win Saturday, the Capitals’ defense did a solid job in keeping the Vegas Golden Knights from the front of the net.

The Golden Knights’ chances were limited — and goaltender Braden Holtby recorded 21 saves to keep Vegas in check.

While there was no moment that will be as distinctly remembered as his stick save in the closing minutes of Game 2, Holtby pitched a shutout through two periods. 

Vegas’ lone goal came off a rare turnover from Holtby, but he stopped six more shots in the third to seal the Capitals’ win.

The Capitals were, again, disciplined defensively throughout the night. Washington went from allowing six goals in Game 1 to only one in Game 3.

“I think Game 1 was just a strange game and we did a great job of just leaving it at that,” Holtby said. “Analyzing what we could to see where we could get better and guys have done a great job of adjusting and the commitment level has been outstanding. “

Holtby said he felt off in Game 1, which he attributed to days off between the Eastern Final and the start of this series. In Game 1, the Golden Knights had 34 shots and Holtby gave up five goals in a 6-4 loss.

But the Capitals have adapted as the Stanley Cup Final has progressed. On Wednesday for Game 2, Washington did a better job of sticking with Vegas in the neutral zone — preventing the Golden Knights from breaking out in transition.

In Game 3, the Capitals didn’t allow Vegas to have many odd-man rushes.

“We gotta get back to our game,” Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves said. “We’re playing too cute. We’re trying to finesse things out of our zone, trying to finesse things into their zone, and we’re turning pucks over. They’re a good transition team, and we’re feeding their offense.”

Capitals center Jay Beagle said his team focused on “boxing out” the Golden Knights in front of the net.

According to Natural Stat Trick, Vegas had just eight high-danger chances on 48 shot attempts. The Golden Knights had only 13 scoring chances, as well. 

The Capitals, meanwhile, led 26-9 in blocked shots, meaning the team is taking away looks from the Golden Knights.

“Our guys have been phenomenal in front of the net, taking sticks, blocking shots,” Holtby said. “Doing everything all playoffs. That was just a game that somehow the pucks just went in and our guys stayed confident and have been doing the exact same job they’ve been doing all playoffs. And that’s full commitment from not only from our six d-men, but forwards. O had a couple of huge blocks tonight.

“Everyone is pitching in every way defensively, offensively, neutral zone, everything. We’re just committed to each other and we’re gonna push that forward into Game 4.”

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