Notes & Quotes From 2018 Stanley Cup Final Game 2
NBC Sports' exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Final continued tonight on NBCSN, as the Washington Capitals defeated the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, 3-2, in Game 2 in Las Vegas. Alex Ovechkin scored his 13th goal of the playoffs and Braden Holtby made 37 saves, including a critical save in the waning minutes of the third period, as the Capitals evened the series.
Six-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mike 'Doc' Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and analyst Eddie Olczyk, and Emmy Award-winning 'Inside-the-Glass' analyst Pierre McGuirehad the call from Las Vegas. This marks the 12th consecutive year that Emrick, Olczyk and McGuire have combined to call the Stanley Cup Final for NBC Sports.
Pre-game coverage began on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET with a two-hour edition of NHL Live. Host Liam McHugh anchored pre-game, intermission and post-game coverage on-site, alongside analysts and former players Mike Milbury and Keith Jones. In addition, Kathryn Tappen and Paul Burmeister hosted pre-game and post-game coverage from outside sets in Las Vegas, capturing the scene amongst the fans alongside analysts and former players Jeremy Roenick, Brian Boucher, and Anson Carter.
NHL Live included: features on Vegas' William Karlsson and Washington's T.J. Oshie, which included Oshie's personal story with 10-year-old Addy Flint, whose battling cancer; a segment with Roenick and Blue Man Group; an interview with UNLV assistant hockey coach Nick Robone, who was injured in the tragic October shooting in Las Vegas, and later joined Tappen and Carter on-set; NASCAR driver and Las Vegas native Kurt Busch joined Paul Burmeister to talk Golden Knights-Capitals; Burmeister's pre-game interview with Golden Knights' Karlsson, as well as McGuire's pre-game interview with Capitals' John Carlson; a segment on the top postseason goals and Vegas' Ryan Reaves; an on-ice breakdown of Game 1 with Carter, Roenick and Boucher; and a feature on the passionate Golden Knights fanbase.
Coverage shifted inside the arena at 7:30 p.m. ET with McHugh, Milbury and Jones.
Wayne Gretzky - The Great One - starred in a Hulu opening tease prior to puck drop. In the spot, Gretzky - the leading scorer in NHL history and winner of four Stanley Cups - skillfully used a hockey stick to procure his remote control, allowing him to easily access all the Stanley Cup Final content available on Hulu from the comfort of his home.
NBC Sports broadcast the Golden Knights' elaborate pre-game show, which included a live performance by Las Vegas residents and Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons. Tappen later interviewed lead guitarist Wayne Sermon during the second intermission.
Emrick on the series: "It has been straight-ahead hockey, aggressive hockey, ornery, mean-spirited, and there have been surges by both teams, and this is just Game 2."
Jones on Washington's victory: "It was a great all-around effort by the Capitals, and they were undermanned when Kuznetsov left this game."
McHugh: "Remember Nate Schmidt called it the Stanley Cup Final that was never meant to be. Well, it's quickly become the Stanley Cup Final that we cannot get enough of."
McGuire on Holtby's save on Alex Tuch's shot in the final minutes of the period: "In Washington, they'll be calling that 'The Save.' That's got to be the save of the year."
Added Emrick: "It's six attackers and an empty net and all the reason that it's fun to watch hockey, as long as you don't care about either of the two teams. If you do, you're agonizing right now."
Milbury on Fleury's first period: "You can't ask for better goaltending than that."
Milbury on the injury to Evgeny Kuznetsov: "I hope to see him back in uniform because I don't think they can get the job done otherwise. It's a huge blow to the Washington Capitals' lineup."
Jones added: "It is a major advantage for Vegas moving forward in this game."
Pre-Game on NBC (8 p.m. ET)
Milbury on the key to the Capitals' success in Game 2: "Holtby needs to find his rhythm again. He needs to be as good as he was in the Tampa series at the end for these guys to win this game."
Jones on the Golden Knights: "Fearless, right? There is nothing that seems to scare this team."
NHL Live on NBCSN (6 - 8 p.m. ET)
Boucher on Braden Holtby's performance in Game 1: "For Holtby, he looked a little overwhelmed to start the hockey game."
Roenick on Ryan Reaves' impact this postseason: "He's totally surprised me. A lot of people look at Ryan Reaves as an enforcer, a guy who's out there to make sure he watches after the star players, but when he works as hard as he has, hits as hard as he does and goes to those high-traffic areas that are uncharacteristic to what Reaves normally does, that's why this team is where they are. Everybody is jumping on board and doing things that are not in their repertoire."
Boucher on the performance of Vegas' fourth line in Game 1: "They seemed unintimidated by the moment. Stanley Cup Final? They didn't care."
Busch on what the Golden Knights mean to Las Vegas: "It's been huge for our city. I always wondered as a kid, 'Why don't we have a professional sports team?' You have to have a population center, but yet Vegas as a tourist destination is what's drawn all of this together. But most importantly, I think from the Golden Knights' heart, all of this started October 1 last year. And everybody has rallied around this."
Busch on sports in Las Vegas and the impact the Golden Knights have had on the city: "It started when I was a kid from what I knew with Jerry Tarkanian at UNLV. That's the last time we felt this kind of energy around Las Vegas."
Boucher on the best Capitals' line in Game 1: "It was not the Ovechkin line, it was the (Nicklas) Bäckström line that carried the offense in (Game 1) for the Washington Capitals. They're going to need more than this second line for today's game. They're going to need Ovechkin's line to pick it up as well."
Boucher on Tom Wilson's hit on Jonathan Marchessault: "I was fine with it. There's no DOUBT it was a penalty. For Tom Wilson, he's a guy that plays on the edge. He's a physical guy, this is what he's paid to do, to be a physical presence. Was it late? I think it was."
Carter added: "Tom Wilson is a ferocious player, a physical player. He hits you to hurt you. He has to make sure he plays within the whistle."
Jones on Ovechkin's performance in Game 1: "I don't think he got involved enough early in the game. I thought his third period was a little bit better, he made a couple of good plays and an assist on the Wilson goal ... There's another level to his game, we know that. He'll be focused and ready to go."
Olczyk on how Washington can win this series: "I don't think they can get into a track meet. I don't think they mind that, but at the end of the day, they're going to have to win defensively."
NBC Sports' coverage of Game 3 begins Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Pre-game coverage begins with a special two-hour edition of NHL LIVE at 6 p.m. ET.