Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images
The job is halfway done. To win this series, the Capitals will likely need to win both Games 3 and 4 in Pittsburgh to get this series back to Washington 2-2. On Monday night the Capitals won Game 3 3-2 in overtime.
It was not a good night for the Penguins. Just over five minutes into the game Matt Niskanen cross checked Sidney Crosby in the side of the head and neck area. Crosby missed the rest of the game with what most assume is a concussion.
Pittsburgh had a five-minute power play early and instead of scoring, Malkin took a penalty. Once his penalty expired, the Penguins failed to score on the remaining power play time.
While the Penguins failed on their big power play moment, the Capitals did not. Later in period one, Washington had a 5 on 3, and Backstrom got the Caps on the board first.
A nice play from the Capitals second line of Williams-Kuznetsov-Johansson made the score 2-0 midway through the third.
It seemed as if the Capitals were clearly on their way to a Game 3 win, but two quick goals late in the third period, one by Malkin and one by Schultz (another lucky goal), forced overtime where Kevin Shattenkirk won it with a power play goal.
Moving on to the stats.
After dominating Games 1 and 2 in shot attempts, this game was a lot closer in that category. The game finished with Washington winning the attempts battle 63-55.
The period that had the biggest gap was the second period where the Caps out attempted Pittsburgh 22-15 while 5v5, but looking at that period in all situations the Penguins ended up winning that period 24-23.
Something impressive is the overtime shot attempts. After Pittsburgh tied the game late in regulation, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if the Pens had come out firing and dominating OT in the early going. That wasn’t the case, Washington won the period 8-3 while 5v5 and 9-3 in all situations. That one extra shot attempt ended up as the OT winner.
Scoring Chances ended in the Capitals favor at 35-32. While 5v5 scoring chances were 25-17, also in the Capitals favor.
T.J. Oshie had a pretty good night. He was +9 in the shot attempts department. The Caps got 16 attempts for and 7 against while Oshie was on the ice.
Orlov also had a good night. The 14 attempts for is pretty good, but the 6 attempts against is impressive for a defenseman.
The fourth line is something I continue to watch and Winnik and Beagle were not great at possession in Game 3, Winnik 40% in possession and Beagle just 31%.
Pittsburgh had just four players over 50% Corsi, Kunitz 62%, Kessel 58%, Malkin 55%, and Cole at 52%. Bryan Rust was right at 50%.
There were 67 faceoffs in Game 3. The Capitals won 31 of them equaling 46%.
Backstrom was just 12-30 and 40% on draws, Eller was 5-12, and Kuznetsov was 6-12. Beagle was the only Capital over 50% going 6-9 or 67%.
Evgeni Malkin went 9-15 at the dot. Bonino took the most draws for Pittsburgh winning 15 of 30.
A win is a win and that is all the Capitals needed in Game 3. It didn’t matter how, just get a win. In my opinion the Capitals should be thankful it doesn’t matter how because I didn’t think the game was that impressive.
Washington is the deepest team in the NHL. The Penguins are beat up and without Letang, their number one goalie Murray (can make an argument that still is Fleury), and for most of this game Crosby and Sheary. Hornqvist and Hagelin were game time decisions and are obviously not 100%.
You’d think this deep Capitals team could play better than they did in Game 3 with the way Pittsburgh’s health is.
I’m still looking at the fourth line and am seeing nothing. This is the best fourth line in the NHL. Wilson has gone up to the third line and Connolly has been scratched for two games this series in favor of Carey and a defenseman. The Capitals depth is not playing well enough.
Special teams were huge in Game 3. Early in the game the Capitals were able to kill off about 3 minutes of a 5 minute power play. Malkin negated 2 minutes with a penalty during the 5 minutes. Not long after that the Caps scored on a 5 on 3.
Both teams had 5 power plays, Washington went 2/5 and Pittsburgh went 0/5. The overtime game winner was scored on the power play as well.
It wasn’t the best game, but it was a win nonetheless. And what a huge win it was. The series is now 2-1 with Game 4 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Another must win game.
By CJ Witt