Down 0-2 in the series, the Capitals desperately needed a win Tuesday over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 3.
They gave up a 1-0 and a 2-1 lead, but this time it was Washington who came away with the 3-2 victory at Nationwide Arena.
Here's how the Caps won Game 3 and got right back in the series.
Three Reasons Why The Capitals Won Game 3
1. Two slashes on Jakub Vrana
Columbus apparently has something against Vrana because the Blue Jackets spent much of the first period hacking the limbs of the young Capitals defenseman. It finally caught up to Columbus in the second period.
Brandon Dubinsky gave Vrana a two-hander that broke Vrana’s stick that drew a slashing penalty. Just 1:07 later, Vrana drew another slashing penalty, this time from Ryan Murray giving Washington a two-man advantage.
John Carlson scored just 28 seconds later to put the Caps up 2-1.
2. Braden Holtby
Pierre-Luc Dubois scored a goal in the second period that Holtby should have had. Other than than, Holtby was stellar in his first playoff start of 2018.
The Caps were sloppy all night long, giving up numerous turnovers that turned into Grade A opportunities for Columbus.
Holtby saved his teammates' bacon time and time and time again with big save after big save. He was easily the Caps’ best player on the ice and his performance should remove any doubt as to who is the team’s playoff starter is for this team going forward.
3. An ugly game-winner
Time after time, Sergei Bobrovsky gave up some big rebounds that trickled harmlessly away with no Capitals player anywhere near it. Simply put, Washington did not get much pressure in front of the net in Game 3.
When they needed a goal, however, it does not get much uglier than Lars Eller’s overtime winner. The Caps rushed in on a 3-on-2. Brett Connolly took a quick shot which Bobrovsky easily stopped, but the rebound was up for grabs. Zach Werenski tried to clear the puck away, but it hit Eller as he crashed the net, hit back off Werenski, hit off the toe of Eller and into the net.
The lesson here is that if Bobrovsky is going to give up those rebounds, the Caps need to be in a position to take advantage.
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