In the third straight game to reach overtime in the first round series against the Bruins, the Capitals lost in double overtime, 3-2, after a clumsy miscommunication behind the net between Ilya Samsonov and Justin Schultz.
The Capitals held the game’s momentum and control late in the third period until Nic Dowd committed an egregious penalty about 100 feet behind the play on Charlie McAvoy, and Brad Marchand scored on the ensuing power play to tie the game 2-2.
Overall, in regulation, the Capitals had a strong outing. They had out-performed the Bruins in high danger chances generated, 7-1, in regulation, which was an area the Capitals struggled in the first two games of the series. Unfortunately for the Caps, the Bruins out-performed the Capitals 6-1 in high danger chances in the two overtime periods.
This game was an interesting one statistically. Let’s take a look at the period by period breakdown:
In the first period, the Caps were severely out-performed in Corsi shot attempts, with the Bruins owning 80% of the share in the first frame. Interestingly enough, the Capitals and the Bruins did not put up any high danger chances, but the Capitals out-generated the Bruins in scoring chances.
The second and third periods were where the Caps were the strongest, generating more shot attempts and scoring chances.
The Bruins took hold of the game in the two overtime periods, though. The Capitals did not look like the same team as they did in the second period after the Marchand power play goal to tie the game up.
Samsonov stood on his head in the first overtime period, stopping all 17 shots he faced, including 15 scoring chances faced and three high danger chances against. The Capitals were outshot 19 to 8 in the two overtime periods, which is nowhere near the mark needed to win a game that goes extra frames.
It’s unfortunate that the game ended the way it did for Ilya Samsonov. In his first game since May 1st and his NHL playoffs debut, he showed flashes of brilliance saving 40 of 43 shots faced, good for a .930 save percentage.
Here’s how this game’s stats stack up to the first two games in the series:
Game 3’s regulation performance was a lot closer to a winning formula than Game 2’s performance. The Capitals were able to take the share of high danger chances in this game, but it just didn’t end up as a victory.
Overall, the Capitals need a much more holistic effort up and down the lineup to take Game 4. Additionally, the Caps need more from their top six forwards. Nicklas Backstrom has yet to tally a point through three games this series, and didn’t have the best game tonight, either.
The Capitals’ real identity as a team showed in the second and third periods at even strength. They were strong on the puck, controlled the pace of play, and owned the majority share of possession metrics. The penalty Dowd took on McAvoy changed the complexity of the game, and ultimately led to a blown lead late in a third period.
Some people won’t like the way Ovi absolutely torched Samsonov the moment the game ended, but when you’re a leader and you see people make that dumb of a mistake, you have to let them know how unacceptable it is.
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) May 20, 2021
The Caps will have to rebound on Friday to split the series at two games a piece to head back to Washington for Game 5. If the Caps fall again on Friday, we may be looking at a second straight post-season where the Caps are eliminated in the first round in five games.
By Justin Trudel