The Capitals are one loss away from their season coming to an end after falling in overtime in Game 3 to the New York Islanders on Sunday.
Check out a recap of the game here.
Observations from the loss
The Caps have been thoroughly dominated at 5-on-5 play this series with only two goals in three games. The team has actually looked its best on the penalty kill and even the power play showed signs of life on Sunday, but Washington will have no chance in this series if they do not start to play better at 5-on-5.
Owning the net-front
Another aspect in which the Islanders are dominating? Net-front presence. The Islanders are forcing the Caps to shoot from the perimeter while their offense is getting free reign in front of Braden Holtby.
You are not going to win this way.
You’ve got to feel for Jakub Vrana
Vrana has had a terrible postseason with zero points not just in this series, but including the round robin as well. This was always going to be a difficult matchup for Vrana as New York’s entire game plan is to take away all the things that Vrana does well, but you can’t help but feel for him given the way Game 3 ended. In overtime, Vrana had the game on his stick with a breakaway chance, but was denied not once, but twice by Semyon Varlamov. A chance on one end turned into a goal on the other as the Islanders turned the quick break into the overtime winner.
That’s a devastating finish to the game for Vrana.
Something to consider about a 3-0 deficit in the bubble
In a normal year, the Caps would be feeling an enormous amount of pressure. They are one loss away from the end of their season, another year of their careers will be over and they will have to start all over again next season. That pressure is still there, but that’s not the only thing waiting for the players if they lose this series. These guys have been away from home for weeks, away from their families. Does the thought of being home and getting to see their wives and their kids start to creep into their minds?
Of course they want to win. Of course they want to rally back, win this series and win the Stanley Cup, but this is the dynamic of playing in the bubble that they have never faced before. How many of them are feeling the pressure and thinking about how they can rally back to beat the Islanders and how many of them are starting to think about being home in a few days with their families? That dynamic, to me, is going to make any sort of a comeback in this series really tough.
The Caps may have lost this game, but the turning point was Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal in the second period. After a putrid start, it looked like the Islanders would be able to blow this one out of the water early on. Instead, Kuznetsov was able to get the Caps on the board and the game was tight after that.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) August 16, 2020
Play of the game
You have to give credit to Barzal. This was a great play.
— NHL (@NHL) August 16, 2020
First, he has the presence of mind to drag his foot to stay onside, then he uses his speed to cut to the middle to get behind John Carlson, deke Holtby and tuck the puck past the outstretched pad.
Stat of the game
Given how revered Dale Hunter is in Washington (as a player anyway), the fact that Kuznetsov is passing him is pretty significant.
Evgeny Kuznetsov ties the game at 1-1 with a power play goal his 26th career playoff goal. He has passed Dale Hunter (25) for the fourth most playoff goals in franchise history.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) August 16, 2020
Quote of the game
Ovechkin remains defiant despite the 3-0 deficit:
“Obviously, we’re down 3-0, but you just have to move on. I know it’s a hard situation, but it’s not over yet. How I said before, we never going to stop believing in it and we’re going to play. LA did it. We won the Cup when we were down 2-0 against Columbus, coming back, and we’re going to try.”
Somebody will lose.
— Kroge (@KentuckyKroge) August 16, 2020
Two goals from Gudas
— Кендрик Ламаров (@mad_ballistic) August 16, 2020
I love the boldness. Did you know Gudas was the team’s leading scorer in the postseason heading into the first round?
Caps start slow. Maybe score 1 or 2. Isles come back and win by 1.
— Obsessed Caps Fan (@juliejmoses) August 16, 2020
You pretty much nailed it.
The remote gets thrown before the 2nd period.
— TylerKaroway (@BC_2DC) August 16, 2020
Status update- Remote has been thrown.
— TylerKaroway (@BC_2DC) August 16, 2020
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