When the Capitals take to the ice at home on Monday, they will be playing for their playoff lives. They lost their third straight game on Saturday as the Tampa Bay Lightning took Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead and push the Caps to the brink.
Here is why the Caps fell on the road for the first time in this series.
A rough start
Nineteen seconds was all the time Tampa Bay would need to score in Game 5.
Dmitry Orlov turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Evgeny Kuznetsov chased after it, but instead of getting the puck he inexplicably played the body of Cedric Paquette. Paquette was able to chip it into the offensive zone to Ryan Callahan. Callahan tried to pass to the slot, but it hit off of Orlov right to Paquette who buried it past Braden Holtby who was very deep in the crease.
If Orlov doesn’t cough the puck up in the neutral zone, if Kuznetsov plays the puck instead of the body or if Holtby challenges that shot, that goal doesn’t happen. An ugly play all around for Washington.
A no-call on Steven Stamkos
Later in the first period, Orlov went to corral a puck in the neutral zone, but was pressured by Stamkos, fell to the ice and turned the puck over to Nikita Kucherov. It was very clearly a trip on Stamkos, but there was no call. Palat would score on the play to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead.
A rough night for Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen
Orlov and Niskanen is normally the Caps' best defensive pair, but they had a very long night. They were on the ice for each of the Lightning’s three goals of the game.
Orlov’s turnover led to the first goal, Stamkos’ trip of Orlov led to the second. On the third, Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman was somehow able to drive and turn the corner on Niskanen leading to a scoring opportunity that eventually deflected off the glove of Ryan Callahan and into the net. Stralman is not the speediest of players. The fact he was able to go one-on-one with Niskanen and get in behind him was surprising to see.
MORE CAPITALS STORIES:
- 3 stars: Vasilevskiy turns in another strong performance in Game 5
- Where's the call?: Non-call on Steven Stamkos leads to Lightning goal
- Kuzy stays hot: Kuznetsov scores deflection goal on Vasilevskiy