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James Neal had the puck on his stick and was staring at an open net. In a can’t-miss situation Youth Le'Veon Bell Jersey , that’s exactly what he did.

Poised to give the Vegas Golden Knights the opening goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the veteran leader of this upstart expansion team hit the right post . Ping! The puck skipped behind Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and slithered harmlessly toward the back boards.

”You want those chances. Nine times out of 10 you probably put that in the back of the net,” Neal said. ”I had the composure to wait. And then you shoot it and you’re like, `Oh!”’

The Golden Knights, a team in desperate need of a boost of confidence, collectively shrugged as a golden opportunity slipped away.

”It definitely would have changed the outcome of the game and would have given us momentum,” said right wing Alex Tuch, who knows a thing or two about being coming up empty on a close-in shot.

Not surprisingly, the Golden Knights sputtered the rest of the way Monday night in a 6-2 defeat that put them on the brink of elimination. Washington is up 3-1 and can win its first Stanley Cup on Thursday night in Las Vegas.

”Go home, win one game and the pressure is on them,” Neal said, hopefully.

Although the Capitals have blown many a playoff series in the past, only one team, the 1942 Detroit Red Wings, has lost the Stanley Cup Final after holding a 3-1 lead.

”Not where we want to be, that’s for sure Michael Palardy Jersey ,” Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. ”But we have a good bunch of guys with a lot of character in the room. Nobody’s quitting.”

Barring a comeback of historic proportions – an unlikely occurrence after being outscored 12-5 over the past three games – the Golden Knights will always remember this series for ”The Stick” and ”The Post.”

”The Stick” was wielded by Holtby , who used it late in Game 2 to snuff a seemingly sure goal by Tuch in a 3-2 Washington victory. ”The Post” is a symbol of the frustration Vegas has experienced in this series after winning 12 of 15 in roaring to the Western Conference title.

Who knows if things would have been different on Monday night if Neal put the puck in the net?

This much is certain: The reeling Golden Knights were looking for something, anything, to build on when they entered Game 4, and a 1-0 lead would have been splendid. Presented with a power play in a scoreless first period, Vegas worked the puck around smartly in the Washington zone. Then, Erik Haula whisked a cross-ice pass to Neal on the left side of the net, and Holtby was slow to react.

”We obviously got some breaks at the start of the game,” the goaltender said. ”Honestly, I thought it was in. Somehow, it didn’t go in.”

Said Neal: ”It’s not like anyone made a save. I shot it off the post on the far side. It’s done with. It’s not the first time it’s happened. Probably won’t be the last. But at this stage, at that moment, it changes the game.”

The Capitals rattled off three straight goals before the period ended to take full control.

Game over. On to the next one for the Golden Knights, who face elimination for the first time during the playoffs.

”You can’t feel sorry for yourself. You’ve got to win a game at home,” Neal said. ”That’s what we’ll focus on. I like the way we played. You’ve got to take the positives.”

Coach Gerard Gallant insisted: ”Tonight’s game was a step forward. Obviously, though Authentic Shea Weber Jersey , we have no more room for error.”

The Golden Knights could use a little luck. Tuch and Brayden McNabb both lined shots off the post after Neal, who scored with just under 16 minutes left to make it 4-1.

But the outcome by then was all but decided.

The Golden Knights have struggled to generate offense against the tenacious Washington defense, and Fleury has not been as sharp as he was in Vegas’ three previous series. He gave up six goals on 23 shots as Vegas dropped its third straight game.

”Obviously, when you’re a goalie, you don’t want to get scored on,” Fleury said. ”There was a lot of that tonight. It’s never a good feeling.”

More Stanley Cup coverage: Miguel Cabrera ruptured his left biceps tendon Tuesday night, an injury that will sideline the slugger for the rest of the season, and the Detroit Tigers lost 6-4 to the Minnesota Twins.

The two-time AL MVP will have surgery this week, the Tigers said. Cabrera, playing his 12th game since missing 26 with a hamstring strain, exited in the third inning and underwent an MRI during the game.

Ehire Adrianza hit his first career grand slam to help Minnesota rally. Ryan Pressly (1-1) got three outs for the win, and Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

Louis Coleman (3-1) was charged with the loss.

ASTROS 6, ATHLETICS 3

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Evan Gattis hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs, Carlos Correa returned from a four-game absence and homered on the first pitch he saw, and the Astros earned their sixth straight win.

Lance McCullers Jr. (8-3) pitched seven innings of two-run ball. Ken Giles got three outs for his 11th save in 11 tries.

Correa was back in the lineup at shortstop after missing a series sweep at Texas with soreness in his right side.

Oakland’s Daniel Mengden (6-6) was charged with six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.

MARINERS 6 Garry Gilliam Jersey , ANGELS 3

SEATTLE (AP) – Mitch Haniger and Ryon Healy each homered twice as the first-place Mariners shook off two homers by Mike Trout for the second consecutive night.

Trout took sole possession of the major league lead with 23 home runs. He also hit a pair in the Angels’ 5-3 loss Monday night at Safeco Field.

Mike Leake (7-3) allowed one run in six innings for Seattle, which has won three straight and 10 of 12. Edwin Diaz worked the ninth for his big league-best 25th save.

Angels right-hander Jaime Barria (5-2) surrendered two earned runs in five innings.

DODGERS 12, RANGERS 5

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and Yasiel Puig homered off Bartolo Colon, sending the Dodgers to the victory.

The 45-year-old Colon (3-4) has allowed 19 homers this season. He recorded his 2,500th career strikeout against Muncy in the first.

The Dodgers pounded out 16 hits in winning their second straight game.

Edward Paredes (1-0) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief. Daniel Corcino pitched three innings for his first save.

YANKEES 3, NATIONALS 0

NEW YORK (AP) – Didi Gregorius homered twice for New York, Washington slugger Bryce Harper left in the eighth inning after he was hit by a pitch for the second time, and the Yankees earned their 10th win in 12 games.

Harper fell to the ground in pain when hit on the right elbow by a 90 mph pitch from CC Sabathia (4-1) in the fifth inning. The 2015 NL MVP came out after he was hit on the left foot by Dellin Betances‘ 89 mph slider leading off the eighth.

Gregorius drove a hanging curveball from Tanner Roark (3-7) into the Yankees bullpen in right-center during New York’s two-run second. He sent a fastball into the right-field second deck leading off the sixth for his fourth multihomer game.

Sabathia allowed four hits in 5 2/3 innings. Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save.

BREWERS 4, CUBS 0

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Chase Anderson pitched seven innings of one-hit ball, and the Brewers moved back into first in the NL Central.

Anderson (5-5) struck out six and walked two. The Brewers had been shut out in Anderson’s three most recent starts against Chicago.

Travis Shaw hit a pair of two-run doubles for Milwaukee, which had dropped seven in a row against Chicago.

Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-5) worked five innings, yielding four runs, three earned, and five hits.

RED SOX 6, ORIOLES 4

BALTIMORE (AP) – Home runs by Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi helped Eduardo Rodriguez win his fifth straight start Josh Bailey Jersey , and Boston extended Baltimore’s losing streak to six games.

Rodriguez (8-1) gave up two runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings to increase a career-best run of success that began on May 20 against the Orioles.

Joey Rickard homered for the Orioles, who own the worst record in the big leagues (19-47). David Hess (2-3) stumbled in his sixth big league start, allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings.

Baltimore reliever Zach Britton made his season debut, six months after undergoing surgery for a ruptured right Achilles tendon. The lefty pitched a scoreless seventh.

WHITE SOX 5, INDIANS 1

CHICAGO (AP) – Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez homered to lead off Chicago’s three-run first, and James Shields won for the first time since opening day.

Shields (2-7) gave up one run and four hits in seven innings after going 12 starts and 13 appearances without a win. Joakim Soria got one out for his ninth save.

Moncada and Sanchez connected on consecutive pitches from Adam Plutko (3-1), helping the White Sox beat the AL Central leaders after losing their first four meetings this season.

Cleveland had won five of six.

PHILLIES 5, ROCKIES 4

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Aaron Nola struck out 10 in another dominant performance and Scott Kingery hit a three-run homer, leading Philadelphia to the win.

Nola (8-2) allowed one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.27. Seranthony Dominguez escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth for his third save.

Kingery drove a 1-2 pitch from Jon Gray (6-7) out to left-center to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead in the first. He added a sacrifice fly in the third.

The Phillies have won two in a row for the first time since a three-game winning streak May 13-17.

The Rockies have lost five straight and nine of 11.

BRAVES 8, METS 2

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