Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Well the Washington Capitals did it again: they lost a two goal lead in the third period that ultimately led to a game 1 loss. And it all happened in a five-minute span, just a few minutes into the 3rd period. A lot of people will say the Capitals choked again, but did they really? Yes they gave up three goals in five minutes to lose the game, but was it like their “usual” regular season collapses? I’d argue differently.
Throughout the regular season, and even in the first series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, once the Capitals took a lead they would “turtle”, meaning they would go into a defensive posture to protect the lead, rather than pressing play and continuing their offensive pressure.
When reviewing the Penguins three goals, did you ever think “the Caps are sitting back too much”? I know I wasn’t. The Caps seemed to be playing with the same pace and intensity they were playing with in the first two periods. And the numbers appear to back that up.
Below you’ll find three images from Corsica that show results from the entire 3rd period. The dots represent goals. The red #2 is Ovechkin’s goal, then the blue #3, #4, and #5 are the Penguins goals.
From a shots, shot attempts, and expected goals standpoint, the Capitals kept up with the Penguins all the way from Ovechkin’s goal through all three of the Penguins goals. So if the Capital’s were “turtling”, it certainly didn’t show up in the numbers. In fact, it looked like they put up quite a few shots right before the Penguins first goal.
I think what we witnessed was truly just a stretch of bad luck. Tipped shots go in less than 15% of the time, but the Penguins manufactured two deflected goals in a short period of time to tie the game.
And not only were they tipped but they had eyes, especially Jake Guentzel’s goal, which is one of the best tips this season.
Then sandwiched between those two goal was Sidney Crosby’s very lucky goal that wouldn’t have happened if Ovechkin didn’t accidentally redirect it right to him at the perfect speed.
As a fan we shouldn’t see what happened as a choke job because it wasn’t. The Capitals wanted that game and it showed through the whole 60 minutes. They hit a very rough patch but the effort was there. If they play the same way, capitalize on their chances more and don’t befall anymore bad luck they should come out of game 2 with a win.
Ovechkin on the loss: “I think we played a solid game. They have a lot of chances; Holts was unbelievable today. One mistake, one bad bounce and they’re back in the game. That’s it. Nothing you can say. It’s over, so we have to focus on next game.” #Caps #CapsPens
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) April 27, 2018
By Luke Adomanis