WASHINGTON — Shoves, slashes and taunts filled the final minutes of the Washington Capitals’ 6-2 victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.
Capitals center Tom Wilson liked the scene, one instigated by Vegas Golden Knights players who now find themselves one game away from seeing their unlikely run end.
“That’s perfect,” Wilson said. “You don’t want the other team to be happy. You want them to be frustrated. That says you’re doing something right. I liked our compete (level).”
The Knights’ composure really began to break down with about two minutes remaining as Brayden McNabb took a run at Caps forward T.J. Oshie.
McNabb blindsided Oshie into the boards, a collision that left Oshie on the ice for a few moments.
McNabb was called for the cross-check and received a misconduct, and the hit could be reviewed by the NHL’s department of player safety for potential supplemental discipline.
Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland also received a misconduct in the fracas that ensued.
Oshie’s night was also over since because he received a misconduct, although it wasn’t clear in replays what he did except get thrust into the boards by McNabb.
“Guys were winning battles,” Wilson said. “Guys were sticking up for each other. Guys were playing hard on the body, and that’s what you want this time of year.”
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Vegas committed eight penalties for a total of 32 minutes, and Washington scored on three of their five power-play chances. The Capitals had six penalties for 20 minutes and held the Knights scoreless on their four power-play opportunities.
Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant explained in his postgame news conference why Oshie might have been a target: He said Oshie broke Colin Miller’s nose earlier in the third period.
“They didn’t see a penalty,” Gallant said. “I think everyone saw it. He gave him a pretty good elbow.”
The play happened immediately before Michal Kempny gave the Caps a 5-2 lead with six minutes left in the game. Oshie was skating with the puck when he stopped suddenly and Miller careened off him.
“I don’t think you ever hope somebody has a broken nose or a broken bone, but sometimes that’s the way it goes,” Oshie said. “I haven’t gotten through these playoffs scot-free. You kind of have to battle for it.”
Miller returned to the game after the collision with Oshie.
“I imagine he’s going to come back and have a hard game as is the rest of his team,” Oshie said. “I don’t think we’d want it any other way.”