Washington recorded a 3-1 win in Game 3 Saturday night to take a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final. The Golden Knights lost consecutive games for the first time this postseason but will look to bounce back and tie things up in tonight’s Game 4 matchup.
Even with the win in Game 3, Washington remains 5-5 on home ice this postseason. The Capitals had some prime scoring opportunities early but were unable to convert thanks to some stellar netminding by Marc-Andre Fleury, who had his sharpest game of the series.
The biggest news heading into tonight’s tilt is that Tomas Tatar will make his Stanley Cup Final debut. Tatar, who hasn’t played since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, has one goal in six playoff games this postseason but adds another element to the offense with his goal-scoring capabilities and strong possession numbers. It’s likely Tatar will skate on the team’s third line with Cody Eakin and Ryan Carpenter, with Alex Tuch moving back to the second line to play with Erik Haula and James Neal. The early assumption is that David Perron, who skated with the other scratches during today’s morning skate, will be the odd man out, though that has not yet been confirmed. Gallant also indicated there could be another change to the lineup, the details of which are not yet known. Oscar Lindberg, Jon Merrill and Brad Hunt are possibilities, while William Carrier remains out. However, it’s doubtful Gallant will split up the fourth line, which took advantage of a gifted empty-netter from Braden Holtby in Game 3 and has four goals in the series.
Washington is not expected to make any lineup adjustments. Though there was some uncertainty surrounding the health of defenseman Brooks Orpik after he was on the wrong end of a crushing reverse hit by Neal in Game 3, it appears as though he will suit up.
As of now, here are the projected lines for both teams:
Golden Knights lineup
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Reilly Smith
Alex Tuch — Erik Haula — James Neal
Tomas Tatar — Cody Eakin — Ryan Carpenter
Tomas Nosek — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb — Nate Schmidt
Shea Theodore — Deryk Engelland
Luca Sibsa — Colin Miller
Alex Ovechkin (#8) — Evgeny Kuznetsov (#92) — Tom Wilson (#43)
Jakub Vrana (#13) — Nicklas Backstrom (#19) — T.J. Oshie (#77)
Andre Burakovsky (#65) — Lars Eller (#20) — Brett Connolly (#10)
Chandler Stephenson (#18) — Jay Beagle (#83) — Devante Smith-Pelly (#25)
Dmitry Orlov (#9) — Matt Niskanen (#2)
Michal Kempny (#6) — John Carlson (#74)
Brooks Orpik (#44) — Christian Djoos (#29)
Braden Holtby (#70)
Philipp Grubauer (#31)
ICYMI, check out our preview for tonight’s game.