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Prediction recap: Crosby injury tosses Game 3 on its head

Prediction recap: Crosby injury tosses Game 3 on its head

The Pittsburgh Penguins lost Sidney Crosby and the game on Monday as the Caps finally earned their first win of the series.

Here's a recap of the three bold predictions for Game 3.

1. Sidney Crosby will have a multipoint game - Push

Crosby left the game just over five minutes into the game after a hit from Matt Niskanen. Who knows how he would have played over the course of the night, but I am not going to mark this one as wrong when Crosby didn’t even last half a period.

RELATED: Sullivan sidesteps questions about Niskanen's hit on Crosby

2. There will be a fight - Wrong

This will be the last time I make this prediction in the playoffs. Nobody is willing to drop the gloves in the postseason anymore. That’s just the way it is. There’s bad blood between these two teams even before Crosby was knocked out of the game. Yet, both teams did just about everything they could except fight.

3. Washington will outshoot Pittsburgh in the first period by at least 2-to-1 - Wrong

Despite the team meeting and despite the Penguins being without Crosby, Washington led the shots on goal margin just 9-8 after the first 20 minutes. A five-minute major to Niskanen didn’t help.

2017 Results: The loss of Crosby changed the trajectory of the game and my predictions went out the window.

Correct: 10
Wrong: 15
Push: 2

MORE CAPITALS: Niskanen addresses hit that knocked Crosby out of the game

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.