“I hit the post,” Neal said, his lip bloodied, his laugh laced with frustration, his locker surrounded by reporters for the wrong reason. “It probably changes the game. It’s probably a different game after that. You know we get the first one ... It’s tough.”

It’s a good example of a play I’m not really sure how to divvy up the classification of luck and skill. NHL players don’t usually squander open nets like that; surely that’s just awful luck for Neal. And yet ... he missed it. No one else.

And who knows how the game might’ve gone if Vegas was sitting on an early lead? “I’ve been on the other side of that, it’s deflating,” Caps forward Brett Connolly noted. It’s also an illustration of how the smallest of sample sizes can have effects writ large; large as an engraving on a certain cup, perhaps.