2018 Stanley Cup Final: Five takeaways from the Capitals' dominant Game 3 victory over Golden Knights

After the Capitals got their first Stanley Cup Final win in franchise history earlier this week, the series headed back to Washington. The Capitals followed up by getting their first Stanley Cup Final win at home.

The Caps beat the Golden Knights for a second straight game, this time taking a 3-1 victory in Game 3 to pull in front in the series. Here's what you need to know from Saturday's contest in D.C.

Ovechkin was on a mission

The Capitals superstar came out of the gate like a man possessed in this game. He was a monster in the first period but didn't get on the score sheet despite a couple of great chances.

However, it didn't take him long to find the back of the net on the other side of intermission. Ovi scored just over a minute into the second frame on a mad scramble in front of the Vegas net. He dove and shoveled the puck into Marc-Andre Fleury's net to open the scoring.

That's Ovechkin's second goal of the series so far.

Kuznetsov not only played, he contributed

The big question heading into Game 3 was whether or not Evgeny Kuznetsov would be able to play. The Capitals center, who leads all players in scoring these playoffs, injured his wrist and missed a good portion of Game 2.

He was a game-time decision for Washington on Saturday and, boy, the Caps are probably glad they put him in the lineup. Even if he wasn't 100 percent, his wrist didn't seem to be bothering him much. His passing was still on point, and he got on the board with a goal in the second period.

Losing Kuznetsov would have been a massive blow to the Washington lineup, and his presence and production in the lineup on Saturday helped ease a lot of worries for Capitals fans.

Holtby had one huge mistake, but was solid

This game was all Capitals for most of the first 40 minutes and they carried a 2-0 lead into the final period. However, Braden Holtby gifted the Golden Knights some life to kick off that third frame thanks to a brutal turnover while handling the puck behind his own net.

Holtby's miserable giveaway allowed Tomas Nosek to score on an empty net and cut Washington's lead in half.

Aside from that one blunder, Holtby had a very solid night in net. He made 21 saves in the victory.

Theodore had a night to forget

There weren't too many Vegas players that looked good on Saturday, but Shea Theodore was one that looked particularly bad. He had a couple of major mistakes that he may lose some sleep over.

First, his lack of effort helped eliminate a Vegas power play in second period. While on the man-advantage, Theodore didn't hustle back to a loose puck and was roasted by Matt Niskanen, who earned a tripping penalty that led to a 4-on-4.

But Theodore's most costly mistake came late in the third, when he had an ugly turnover that led to the Capitals' third and final goal of the night -- the second of which Theodore was on the ice for. Jay Beagle took the puck away from Theodore and fed Devante Smith-Pelly in front of the net.

Vegas' line featuring David Perron, Erik Haula and James Neal also had quite a bad night at the office. They were on the ice for all three goals against.

Washington played their second straight defensive gem

 
The Capitals were excellent defensively for most of Game 2 (they also got help from big-time goaltending -- and some luck -- down the stretch) and that was the case again in Game 3.

The Caps' defense did a good job of stifling the Golden Knights' offensive attack  and seriously limited their chances. Vegas only had 22 shots on net and had a load of trouble getting high-danger chances in the slot.

Just look at how well the Caps were able to limit Vegas' opportunities directly in front of Holtby.

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via NaturalStatTrick.com

With Holtby playing as well as he has been over the past couple of contests, the Knights need to do a better job of generating traffic and sustained pressure directly in front of the net. That hasn't been easy for them, as the Capitals' defense has done a great job of clearing out and pushing the puck the other way.

Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so there's a good chance you don't like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often... Full Bio

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