Capitals

Capitals

WASHINGTON – Brooks Orpik was the unlikeliest of overtime heroes on Saturday as he scored the game-winner less than two minutes into overtime to give the Capitals the 4-3 Game 2 win. and 2-0 series lead.

With the win, Washington now takes a 2-0 lead as the series shifts to Carolina. This marks the first time Washington has taken a 2-0 lead in the playoffs since the 2018 Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay and the first time the Caps have taken a 2-0 series lead at home since 2016 when they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers twice in the first round.

Game 3 will take place in Raleigh on Monday.

Here are four reasons the Caps won Game 2.

1. Another strong start

Washington was able to ride a three goal first period to the win in Game 1. Game 2 got off to a similar start with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie both tallying in the opening frame to put the Caps up 2-0. After letting in two goals on the first five shots he faced, Petr Mrazek clamped down giving up only two goals on the next 23 shots. Washington does not win this game without those two early goals.

2, A tough start for Justin Faulk

This is a game Faulk is going to want to forget.

Faulk was all over the ice on Washington’s first goal as he went from the right side of the ice and followed the puck all the way to the left as Dmitry Orlov passed to Backstrom who passed to Alex Ovechkin. As Backstrom cut to the middle, Faulk tried to stick with him, but a subtle bump by Backstrom caused enough separation to get him free for the goal.

 

On the second goal, a Faulk turnover turned into a rush for the Caps. As Washington brought it up ice, Faulk looked to be in good defensive position, but stuck with Evgeny Kuznetsov as he went hard on net, despite the fact that Oshie had the puck. It may have been Faulk’s normal assignment on a rush play like that to cover the man coming to the net, but by doing so he allowed Oshie an open lane to the net which Oshie used to score Washington’s second goal of the game.

3. A killed two-man advantage

The Caps were handed a golden opportunity to add to their lead in the second period when Micheal Ferland was given a five-minute match penalty for head contact to Nic Dowd. Washington, however, did not score. A hook by Oshie near the end erased what was left of the power play and Nic Dowd was called for high-sticking just two seconds after the major expired. Suddenly, the Caps found themselves facing a two-man advantage power play for 1:07.

The penalty kill did its job and killed off the penalty, retaking the momentum that Carolina should have seized after the failed major penalty.

4. Oprik's overtime winner

Carolina was on its heels early in the overtime as Brett Pesce lost his stick reaching for the puck in the neutral zone. Teuvo Teravainen gave his stick to the defenseman, but the Hurricanes were scrambling defensively as a result. Evgeny Kuznetsov certainly took advantage and stood behind the net with the puck awaithing his chance. He then delivered a beautiful elevated pass to Orpik who roofed the game winner over Mrazek for just his fourth career playoff goal.

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