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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Washington Capitals close in on Stanley Cup with Game 4 win over Vegas Golden Knights

First franchise victory is within touching distance as they are 3-1 up with three games left of the series

Washington Capitals players celebrate their success against the Vegas Golden Knights. Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports
Washington Capitals players celebrate their success against the Vegas Golden Knights. Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports

The Washington Capitals cruised to a 6-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday to move within one victory of the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship.

The Capitals withstood a furious start by Vegas, who botched a pair of glorious early scoring opportunities, before pulling away with first-period goals from TJ Oshie, Tom Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly.

With the win, Washington holds a commanding 3-1 lead in the National Hockey League's best-of-seven championship series, which resumes in Las Vegas on Thursday.

The first-season Golden Knights almost opened the scoring but sent one shot off the side of the net, while another hit the post with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby out of position on both efforts.

The Capitals made no such mistake when their first big chance presented itself on the power-play with Oshie burying a rebound of an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot past Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury nearly 10 minutes into the opening period.

Washington struck again seven minutes later when Kuznetsov got the puck to a wide open Wilson, who quickly wristed a shot under Fleury's glove from in close.

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With the red-clad crowd still on their feet, Smith-Pelly delivered a knockout punch when he pounced on a loose puck to the left of Fleury and roofed it with 21 seconds remianing in the first period.

Kuznetsov picked up his third assist of the night on John Carlson's power-play goal late in the second period that all but sealed the victory.

Vegas responded with third-period goals from James Neal and Reilly Smith, the latter coming with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining, but the Capitals pulled clear again when Michal Kempny and Brett Connolly each found the net.