The Vegas Golden Knights return to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Tuesday for a Stanley Cup Finals rematch with the Washington Capitals after producing four points on a recent three-game road trip.
Vegas is in a good state of mind despite a 2-1 loss at Edmonton on Saturday night that snapped the Golden Knight's five-game winning streak.
"Getting four points out of six is OK, but we wanted this game and we were close," goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It 1/8stinks 3/8 to lose. It doesn't matter how much you've won, it's always disappointing when you're so close to winning another."
Washington (15-8-3 and leading the Metropolitan Division with 33 points) is also coming off a prolonged winning streak of seven games with a disappointing end.
The Anaheim Ducks scored five unanswered goals in the last 26 minutes of the game to beat Washington 6-5 on Sunday, dealing the Capitals their first loss since Nov. 14. The Ducks became the first team in 19 years to overcome a four-goal deficit on the road to win in regulation.
"We thought it's done, but we can't stop playing," captain Alex Ovechkin said.
Added coach Todd Reirden: "That's definitely not an easy way to lose your streak, let alone lose the game. We got away from our team identity, and we worked really hard to establish that identity in our run of games we were winning there."
Vegas (14-13-1 with 29 points) averaged 4.3 goals per game in winning six of their last seven games entering the game against the Oilers. The Knights struggled against Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen, who stopped 32 of 33 shots to win his third consecutive game.
"You're going to run into a little bit of a hot goalie and it seemed like pucks were just hitting him tonight," forward Reilly Smith said. "But I think, overall, we played a good game and if we keep that momentum and that pace into the next one, it will give us a good outcome."
The Capitals won the first meeting this season 5-2 in Washington in October as part of the Knights' 1-4 start. The Knights are not the same team as then because of their confidence with the recent five-game winning streak.
"Any time you're on the road and you pick up more points to put you over .500, you take it as a positive," Smith said. "We had chances to win so you can be frustrated about that, but I think you have to look at the positives and keep moving forward."
Washington goalie Braden Holtby had posted a .935 save percentage in 10 appearances since Nov. 1 before Anaheim scored six goals on 25 shots against him Sunday.
"I don't think there's any pointing fingers in here," Holtby said. "It's hard to keep that consistent play up every game in this league, and tonight's one of those games that just humbles myself, humbles our group. You have to make sure we keep our foot on the gas, keep pushing forward. You can't sit back at any time against any team in this league."