NBCSN’s Stanley Cup Final Week: Holtby’s save, Vegas’ pre-game theatrics

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NBC Sports presents Stanley Cup Final Week on NBCSN, reliving classic Stanley Cup Final games and original films and shows from the past decade across seven nights. Today, we give our memories from the the 2018 Cup Final between the Golden Knights and Capitals.

JAMES: Injuries are murky even heading into the most mundane game. Try shaking loose many specifics from NHL coaches, even if it’s the dog days of the season in January, or some exhibition in September.

Also, let’s face it; players don’t want to be seen as making excuses.

So, I’m not sure we will fully know how much Tom Wilson‘s borderline hit late in Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final affected Jonathan Marchessault. Honestly, if there’s one thing I feel pretty confident about, it’s that Wilson deserved to sit out at least a game or two. It was bad:

The first-year Golden Knights relied heavily on Marchessault, and you could see him creating chances, as I argued during the series.

But no doubt, those chances weren’t going in. Marchessault generated eight goals and 18 points through the 15 games it took to get Vegas to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, leading the Golden Knights in scoring up to that point. Marchessault failed to score a goal during that series against the Capitals, settling for three assists as Vegas lost in five games.

Maybe the Capitals just clamped down and/or Braden Holtby shut the door. Perhaps Marchessault simply ran out of gas.

Ultimately, I’ll always wonder if that series might have gone differently if that Wilson hit didn’t happen.

SEAN: After an unforgettable first NHL season, you knew Las Vegas wasn’t going to disappoint when it came to hosting the Cup Final. Game 1 saw a Lil Jon concert outside of T-Mobile Arena followed by a marching band parade leading into the rink, showgirls surrounding the lower bowl during warmups and then a fantastic game. All of that built up to another edition of the greatest pre-game show in the league:

[FULL NBCSN STANLEY CUP WEEK SCHEDULE]

JAKE: After Vegas won a wild, back-and-forth Game 1 that saw a Cup Final-record four lead changes, Washington spent the majority of Game 2 in the lead as they looked to even the series.

Up by one goal with two minutes to go, the Capitals were out of position following an unlucky bounce in their own zone. Out of nowhere, Vegas had a point-blank chance to tie the game. Unfortunately for Alex Tuch, the paddle of Braden Holtby’s stick was in the perfect place.

“The Save” kept the game from going to overtime, as the Caps held on to even the series. They went on to win the next three games to claim their first-ever Stanley Cup.

If Tuch converts on that chance to tie the game, would history be any different?

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NBC Sports presents Stanley Cup Final Week on NBCSN, reliving classic Stanley Cup Final games and original films and shows from the past decade across seven nights, beginning on Monday, June 8.

Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Saturday, June 12 on NBCSN
• 2018 Stanley Cup Final Game 1: Washington vs. Vegas – 8 p.m. ET
• 2018 Stanley Cup Final Game 5: Washington vs. Vegas – 9:30 p.m. ET
• 2018 Washington Capitals Championship Film – 11 p.m. ET
• 2018 Stanley Cup Final Game 5: Washington vs. Vegas – 1 a.m. ET
• Gamechangers: Knight Fever – 2:30 a.m. ET