NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 regular season continues as the Washington Capitals host the Vegas Golden Knights at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday Night Hockey. You can watch the game online by clicking here.
We don’t have to wait very long to get a Stanley Cup rematch. Last year, the Capitals were able to put an end to the Golden Knights’ Cinderella-like run by eliminating them in just five games. Vegas managed to rattle off a big win in Game 1, but they eventually lost four straight. And that was it. The run was over. Winning tonight would probably be sweet, but it won’t make up for the fact that they didn’t get the job done last spring. So, yeah, this might be a “revenge” game for Vegas in a sense, but not really.
“I’m still not over it,” goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said, per NHL.com. “When you watch tapes of them celebrating and stuff, it still [stinks]. But it’s a new season, right? You start from scratch. Different year.”
Sure, the Golden Knights lost James Neal and David Perron in free agency, but in an attempt to be even better this season, they made an effort to improve their roster over the summer. They added Paul Stastny via free agency and they made a huge splash when they acquired Max Pacioretty from the Montreal Canadiens last month.
So far, all the changes have led to a 1-2 record through three games. It’s early. Pacioretty has scored once, while Stastny has been held pointless. You’d have to imagine that it’s only a matter of time before both newcomers start producing. We’ll see what kind of difference they’ll make on Wednesday.
As for the Capitals, this rematch is special for them too, apparently.
“I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a little bit more special than playing some other team that you don’t have history with,” said Caps center Lars Eller, per NHL.com. “You do feel you have some kind of history with that team, especially because most of both teams are intact and looking very much the same. And it’s not that long ago.”
The Capitals, who are 1-0-1 this season, will be without forward Tom Wilson for this one. He’s serving the third game of a 20-game suspension. Wilson will be able to sit down with commissioner Gary Bettman for an appeal next week, but that won’t make him eligible to play in the rematch. Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt will also miss the game because of a suspension. He was suspended for violating the NHL’s performance-enhancing substances policy.