John Carlson scored the game-winner in overtime on Monday in the Caps 3-2 win over Arizona, but really Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie were the real heroes of the night.
As time ticked away in the overtime, Eller took the puck on his stick in the offensive zone with 1:30 remaining. He weaved his way through the ice for 22 seconds before he finally dropped the puck off for Evgeny Kuznetsov.
That prolonged possession accomplished two things: one, it prevented the Coyotes from changing lines and two, it allowed the Caps to change theirs. When Washington re-entered the offensive zone, they did so with fresh legs against tired Arizona players.
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One of those players, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, finally corralled the puck in his own zone after a shot from Kuznetsov and tried to break it out of the zone. Oshie, however, was not going to let that happen.
Just before he hit the blue line, Oshie managed to muscle Ekman-Larsson off the puck and it trickled right to Carlson. Six seconds later, the game was over.
The last shift for the three Coyotes’ players was 1:25 for Ekman-Larsson and 1:19 for both Brandon Perlini and Christian Dvorak. Playing over a minute of three on three hockey with virtually no possession after already playing a full regulation is tough for any NHL player and Arizona just plain ran out of gas.
“I thought Lars Eller wore that unit out for about a minute and then we were able to get a real smart change,” Barry Trotz said. “And then they were trying to exit the zone, I thought a real huge play by T.J. Oshie to keep that puck alive and they were able to transition and it ends up in the back of the net.”
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