The Caps looked like they had Thursday’s game in hand, but the Montreal Canadiens scored three goals late in the third period to stun Washington 6-4.
Here are four reasons why the Caps lost:
Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s first NHL goal
The No. 3 overall draft pick of the 2018 draft, Kotkaniemi showed how talented he was just by making Montreal’s roster in his first season with the organization. But he had to wait until his 12th career game to finally dent the twine.
Unfortunately, his first goal came against Braden Holtby and the Caps.
Kotkaniemi came down the left side of the ice on the rush. When he got the puck, Holtby looked to be in good position and square to the puck. There wasn’t a lot of net to shoot on, but Kotkaniemi still managed to hit the top corner on the near-side with a fantastic shot.
Brendan Gallagher’s second period
Despite a dominant first period by the Canadiens, Washington managed to escape the first period tied at 1. Montreal came out flying again to start the second period, especially Gallagher.
Gallagher scored twice in the first 3:06 of the second period to give the Canadiens a two-goal lead. Gallagher’s second was one Holtby especially would want back. The initial shot went wide and hit off the backboards and back out. Holtby went to cover the post, but Gallagher managed to squeak the shot through.
A bad pass by John Carlson
With a one-goal lead and time ticking away in the third period, it looked like the Caps had this game well in hand. The Caps launched out of the defensive zone on a rush looking for the exclamation point. Carlson had the puck, but his pass was far behind his teammates and it launched the rush in the other direction.
Kotkaniemi would finish off the play as he managed to get his stick on the puck in a scrum in front of the net and beat Holtby to tie the game at 4.
3 goals in the final 3:30 of the game
Kotkaniemi’s second goal of the game came with 3:04 remaining in the game and it looked like the game was headed to overtime. Instead of two points, Washington was going to have to battle for that second.
But there were still over three minutes left to play and Montreal had all the momentum.
Less than three minutes after Kotkanieimi’s goal, Max Domi fired a puck on Holtby. It looked like it would be a simple glove save, but the puck bounced off Holtby’s glove and into the net.
Montreal took a one-goal deficit and turned it into a one-goal lead in just 2:42.
That gave Washington only 22 seconds to try and rally for a tie, but they would not get the opportunity. The Caps pulled Holtby for the extra attacker and right off the opening faceoff, Joel Armia hit the empty net. It took him only two seconds.
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