WASHINGTON — Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his sixth goal of the season, Jonas Siegenthaler added the first of his NHL career and the league-leading Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 Saturday night in a meeting of the 2018 Stanley Cup finalists.
Kuznetsov revived his famous bird celebration, flapping his arms after scoring 58 seconds in, and added an assist in the Capitals’ sixth consecutive victory. Washington has won 10 of 11 and hasn’t lost in regulation since Oct. 14.
Tom Wilson, who was concussed on a hit by Vegas forward Ryan Reaves last season in the teams’ most recent meeting, beat Marc-Andre Fleury in the first period for his eighth of the season. Nicklas Backstrom sealed it with a power-play goal and an empty-netter.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made nine of his 30 saves on the penalty kill when the Golden Knights had some of their best chances.
Max Pacioretty and Reilly Smith scored for Vegas, which was again plagued by turnover troubles that contributed to a slow start this season. Giveaways contributed directly to the goals by Wilson and Siegenthaler.
Fleury allowed four goals on 33 shots but made a spectacular save on T.J. Oshie on a 5-on-3 Capitals power play in the final minutes. The Golden Knights’ point streak ended at five games.
This was the third game between Vegas and Washington since the Capitals won the 2018 Final for their first title in franchise history. There were 24 players on the ice who participated in that series.
Siegenthaler’s goal came in his 44th game and on the first anniversary of his NHL debut. … Pacioretty scored for the third time in four games. … With the primary assist on Backstrom’s power-play goal, John Carlson passed Hall of Famer Scott Stevens for second on the Capitals’ franchise scoring list among defencemen. … Capitals LW Carl Hagelin is day to day with an upper-body injury. He was replaced by C Nic Dowd, who returned from a three-game absence because of a lower-body injury. … World Cup winning U.S. Women’s National Team soccer player Kelley O’Hara became the latest champion to chug a beer and receive a standing ovation at Capital One Arena. The World Series champion Nationals were honoured for their title last week.
Golden Knights: Wrap up their four-game Eastern Conference road trip Sunday at Detroit.
Capitals: Look for a seventh consecutive victory when they host Arizona on Monday.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press