After three gloomy games, the Washington Capitals finally put a win in the books tonight at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Their 3-2 victory in Game 4 in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders forces a Game 5 on Thursday (time and networks to be determined). In tonight’s “After Puck Drop”, we’ll be taking a look at the postgame comments from players and head coach Todd Reirden.
Captain Alex Ovechkin had an impressive night scoring two goals and passing Gordie Howe and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby for the 18th most goals in playoff history. On the team finding their game again, Ovechkin said, “We know if we play like that, we have a good chance at coming back.” Although the Capitals have one win under their belt, they still need to win the next three games to win the series and advance the Round Two. Ovechkin mentioned center Evgeny Kuznestov’s goal was “huge” for the team and he complimented goaltender Braden Holtby’s stellar performance and the Capitals’ great penalty kill throughtout the game.
Kuznetsov also had a fantastic game. He opened the scoring for the Capitals with his third goal of the postseason and his 60th career playoff point. “We tried to play fun hockey…it’s about the joy and having fun.” Puck possession and having fun are two keys to success, according to Kuznetsov. He and some Capitals players sported shaved heads and goatees for Game 4. When asked about it, Kuznetsov said, “What happen[s] on the team, stay[s] on the team.”
“Momentum is a crazy thing in this game and you have to earn it,” defenseman John Carlson said. He picked up two assists in Tuesday’s game. He explained the team’s commitment changed and they were focused on “making them [Islanders] work for every inch like they were to us.”
Holtby earned his 50th postseason win in Game 4. He called the comeback “exciting” but described how important the second and third periods were for the team. “If we play every period like that, it’s going to be really, really hard to beat us because we had everyone going, everyone pulling on the same rope and our job now is to make sure that filters over into the next game.” He also reitered how commitment is the key to success for the Capitals.
“We’ve got a strong leadership group and bond…that was the most buy-in we’ve obviously had in the playoffs.” Reirden said he saw the Capitals flip the switch during that middle frame and Kuznetsov’s goal gave the team “some life”. He mentioned the team will have to match their Game 4 work ethic and physicality for Game 5 if they want stay in the playoffs. On Ovechkin, Reirden said, “No one can score goals like this player…it’s the other stuff that went on…it’s the stuff that was said in the locker room, it’s the stuff that was said to the team, it’s the stuff that was said on the bench.” He said the Capitals captain “always comes through in the big moments”.
Game 5 is set for Thursday. Time and networks to be determined.
By Della Young