Vegas Knights Out-Joust Capitals 4-3, Chandler Stephenson Strikes Again

The Washington Capitals fell to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 Sunday afternoon at Capital One Arena. Chandler Stephenson would notch the game’s first tally, but Vegas would respond, making it 1-1 at the first intermission. Matt Niskanen would give the Caps a lead in the second, but the Knights would answer with a power play goal to keep the game tied 2-2 at the second intermission. The Caps would once again strike first in the third period only to be quickly answered by Vegas. Vegas would take their first lead of the game with 5:12 remaining and hang on for the 4-3 win. The Capitals next have a home-and-home set with the Columbus Blue Jackets starting Tuesday in Columbus. Puck drop is 7:00 PM. 

Philipp Grubauer (4-6-3, 2.60 GAA, .916 sv%) started between the pipes for the Capitals. Marc-Andre Fleury (14-4-2, 1.79 GAA, .942 sv%) started in goal for the Knights. The Capitals starting forward lines and defensive pairs:


Scratches: Taylor Chorney and Alex Chiasson

The Capitals struck first with a break away snipe by Chandler Stephenson at 7:22 of the opening frame. This was the first time the Capitals scored the first goal in a game in the last 10 games.

Jay Beagle would make a fantastic save mid way through the opening frame, protecting the Capitals one goal lead.

The Knights would tie things up just before the end of the period with a goal by Ryan Carpenter at 16:06 of the first period. This was Carpenter’s first goal of his NHL career.

The period would conclude with the game tied 1-1. The Knights outshot the Capitals 10-8 for the opening frame. Vegas also won the faceoff battle 67-33% for the first 20 minutes.

The Capitals would regain the lead with a goal by Matt Niskanen at 8:38 of the middle frame. This was Niskanen’s fourth goal of the season.

Vegas would tie the game with a power play goal by Reilly Smith at 18:53 of the second period. This was the seventh straight game the Knights have scored on the power play.

The second period would end with the game tied 2-2. Shots on goal were tied 9-9 for the middle frame. Vegas led 20-17 after two periods of play.

The Capitals would once again score the first goal of the period. This time Christian Djoos would feed Nicklas Backstrom for the Capitals third goal. Andre Burakovsky was credited with the second assist, making it a completely Swedish score.

And of course Vegas would respond. Reilly Smith would add his second of the game, tying things up 3-3 at 9:21 of the final frame.

Vegas would take their first lead of the game with a goal by Alex Tuch at 14:46 of the final frame.

Vegas would hold on for the 4-3 win.


  • First game in Washington for the Vegas Golden Knights.
  • Capitals scored the game’s first goal for the first time in 10 games.
  • Chandler Stephenson scored the game’s opening goal, his third goal in his last three games.
  • Christian Djoos recorded an assist, his third-straight game with an assist.
  • Nicklas Backstrom scored the Capitals’ third goal of the game. That marked Backstrom’s 11th goal of the season. He’s one goal shy of 200 career goals. Backstrom tied Evgeny Kuznetsov for the most face-off wins in the game (six).
  • Capitals are swept in the two game series with the expansion club.
  • Capitals have lost four of last five home games.
  • Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals 392nd consecutive sellout at Capital One Arena.
  • The Capitals will have a day off tomorrow. The Capitals will resume on Tuesday with an 11:30 a.m. morning skate at Nationwide Arena before facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
  • NHL box score is here.

By Jon Sorensen


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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