Kuznetsov's wizardry brings Capitals within 1 win of first Stanley Cup

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Evgeny Kuznetsov and the red-hot Washington Capitals just steamrolled their way to positioning themselves to within a win of their first Stanley Cup.

Washington came out and treated the raucous crowd at Capital One Arena to a 6-2 victory over the Golden Knights in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night. The Caps were lead by Kuznetsov and his four assists, while T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, John Carlson, Michal Kempny and Brett Connolly scored for the Capitals, who now take a 3-1 series lead to Sin City.

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Oshie added two assists for a three-point effort, while Nicklas Backstrom also posted a three-point game with a trio of helpers. Alex Ovechkin added an assist as well, and he sits second in playoff scoring, five points behind Kuznetsov’s postseason-leading 31.

James Neal and Reilly Smith tallied a pair of third-period goals for the Golden Knights, who have scored just five times over the last three games. A nightmarish stretch continued for Marc-Andre Fleury, who allowed six goals on 23 shots and has been scored on at least three times for the fourth straight contest after entering the series with a .947 save percentage. Braden Holtby has been quite the opposite, turning in his third straight dominant performance in stopping 28 of the 30 pucks he faced. 

The Golden Knights also held the advantage in slot shots (36-35) while boasting a 7:18 to 6:39 edge in offensive zone possession. The Capitals’ power play was once again lethal, going 3-for-5 on the night, while Vegas went 0-for-4. The Golden Knights have lost three straight for the first time this postseason after losing just three contests total coming into the Cup Final.

Kuznetsov continued to build on his Conn Smythe bid, becoming just the fifth player this century to record 30 or more points in a single postseason. The Capitals, meanwhile, find themselves in an enviable position to capture the crown, as 31 of the 32 teams to ever hold a 3-1 series lead in a Stanley Cup final have gone on to win.

The Mug will be in the house for Game 5 on Thursday in Vegas.

Washington is on the verge. (Getty)
Washington is on the verge. (Getty)

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