LAS VEGAS — Nate Schmidt scored twice in the final two minutes to lift the Vegas Golden Knights over the Washington Capitals 5-3 on Tuesday night.
It was the first time Washington skated at T-Mobile Arena since winning and hoisting Stanley Cup in June.
Schmidt burst through the neutral zone and beat goalie Braden Holtby with a tiebreaking wrist shot with 1:24 left for his first goal of the season. The former Capital added an empty-netter moments later.
Ryan Reaves, Pierre Edouard-Bellemare and Cody Eakin also scored for the Golden Knights, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves.
Jakub Vrana had two goals and Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington. Holtby also stopped 23 shots.
Reaves and Washington’s oft-suspended Tom Wilson renewed their fierce rivalry, with several brutal hits that ignited the crowd, including a vicious shoulder-to-shoulder connection that ended Wilson’s night in the second period. After trading shots and verbal jabs throughout the first two periods, Reaves levelled Wilson, who was helped from the ice. Reaves was ejected and given a game misconduct penalty
Reaves scored 2:30 in after taking a feed from Eakin. Reaves has six goals this season, one shy of his career high.
Vrana tied the game late in the period, and Ovechkin threaded a backhand from a sharp angle for his 20th goal and a 2-1 lead during the second period.
Bellemare redirected Brayden McNabb’s shot from the point early in the third to tie it, and 16 seconds later, Eakin jumped a rebound for his team-leading 11th goal. The goal was also his 200th career point.
Vrana notched his second goal of the game and eighth of the campaign when he one-timed a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov past a shielded Fleury, who had Vegas defender Nick Holden blocking his view.
NOTES: Two-time World Series champion Shane Victorino and wife Melissa attended the game. … Vegas’ Daniel Carr played in his 100th game. … Ovechkin is one shot shy from 5,000 career. … The Capitals have scored three or more goals in nine straight and 20 of 27 games this season, including 10 games with five or more goals. In games when the Capitals scored three or more goals, Washington is 14-3-3. The Capitals are 1-6-0 when scoring two or fewer goals.
Capitals: Visits Arizona on Thursday night.
Golden Knights: Hosts Chicago on Thursday night.
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W.G. Ramirez, The Associated Press