It's a recipe the Capitals think they can continue at home, where they haven't played since May 21, when they played arguably their best home game of the playoffs, a 3-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. Trotz did not provide an update when asked about Kuznetsov's status at his press conference.
Washington also showed its mettle on the penalty kill, limiting the Golden Knights to a single goal in four attempts - including a 5-on-3 on the third period.
"The Save" was the defining moment of Game Two.
With sizzling heat outside and a frenzied sellout crowd inside, T-Mobile Arena's ice melted into an inconsistent playing surface for the Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals in the series opener.
Washington forward Jay Beagle, who was backchecking, called the play "huge".
Vegas is 13-4 in the post-season, but was tied 1-1 through the first two games against both the San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets after sweeping the Los Angeles Kings in the opening round. Former Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig said it was the greatest save he'd ever seen. It would be more hard to sustain that effort and adrenaline for an entire game without him, though it's a test they passed without Backstrom earlier in the playoffs. "He's a veteran player who has good hockey sense, and he's strong on the puck, and I think his game translates well in the playoffs".
"A player who is behind an opponent, who does not have the puck, may not use his stick, body or free hand in order to restrain his opponent, but must skate in order to gain or reestablish his proper position in order to make a check".
"(That hit) galvanized us as a group", Trotz said. Anything they can put a jersey on, they've got a jersey on; statues, buildings, it's insane.
"It'll be a big loss, but as you saw in the Pittsburgh series when Nick went down, sometimes that kind of energizes some other guys to get in there and be able to make some plays", Oshie said. "We're going to push on'".
In the Washington locker room, Ovechkin struggled to find words. The Caps avoided any hotheaded retaliation and concentrated on a gritty effort that was enough to even the series. After scoring the first Stanley Cup Final goal of his 13-year, 1,121-game National Hockey League career, he skated to the glass with both arms raised triumphantly.
The persistent Knights earned a power play and cut the Caps' lead to 3-2 late in the second on Theodore's shot through traffic. In his mind these sorts of gods did not answer Monday, perhaps too preoccupied watching that breathless track meet like everyone else (including the referees who missed Ryan Reaves's obvious cross-check on the game-winning goal). T-Mobile Arena reported 18,702 fans in the sold-out building, setting a franchise record for attendance.