Capitals

Quick Links

3 key observations for Game 3: Caps win, now all eyes on Crosby

3 key observations for Game 3: Caps win, now all eyes on Crosby

The Capitals earned the 3-2 overtime win, their first of the series, but all eyes will be on Sidney Crosby and his status going forward.

1. Bounce back for Holtby

This was Braden Holtby’s best game of the series despite how the third period ended. He made several key saves including a breakaway save on Bryan Rust. For the game, he made 28 saves on 30 shots. This game should end all discussion on who should start in net for Washington.

RELATED: Caps earn first win of the series over Crosby-less Penguins

2. A nice moment for Kevin Shattenkirk

Shattenkirk has had a rough postseason so far. Coming into this game, he had a team-low minus-7 and was also having another rough game on Monday until the overtime winner. That is his first goal of the postseason. Will this be the confidence boost he needs to raise his play?

3. All eyes on Sidney Crosby

With this game over, the story now will be what will Crosby’s status be for Game 4 and the rest of the series. Not only was he hit in the head, but his left leg also got a bit twisted in the fall. With his history of concussions, his health is a major concern going forward. You never want to see a player suffer an injury and let’s hope he is ok, but should he miss any time this series, it will be a major advantage for a Capitals team trying to get back into the series. It will also be interesting to see what the Department of Player Safety does with Niskanen. From my point of view, it looked like Crosby was falling as Niskanen raises his arms for the hit. It certainly looks as if he did not mean to hit the head. But will the NHL see it that way?

MORE CAPITALS: Niskanen ejected after delivering hit to the head of Crosby

Quick Links

The Caps aren't leading the Metro Division for the first time since Oct. 19

The Caps aren't leading the Metro Division for the first time since Oct. 19

For the first time since Oct. 19, the Capitals do not sit in first place of the Metropolitan Division. The Pittsburgh Penguins jumped Washington with a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday ending a streak of 122 days in which the Caps sat atop the division.

Pittsburgh won despite Evgeni Malkin missing the game due to illness. It was a fitting way to take first place given how the Penguins have overcome a number of significant injuries this season. Anthony Angelo played in Malkin’s place and scored his first NHL goal. Jason Zucker also scored his third goal in just his fourth game with the Penguins after getting acquired by Pittsburgh in a trade.

Pittsburgh has now won six of its last eight with its only two losses coming against the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning.

By contract, the Caps have lost four of their last five. Since Dec. 23, no team in the Metropolitan Division has earned fewer points than Washington which has gone 11-11-0 during the stretch, allowing Pittsburgh to close the gap in the standings.

The Caps and Penguins appear to be two teams headed in different directions. The good news for Washington is that it is February and there is still time for them to rally. With three games left to be played between the Caps and Pittsburgh this season, Washington will have ample opportunity to reclaim supremacy of the division. For now, however, the Penguins certainly look like the team to beat within the Metro.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Trade acquisition Brenden Dillon ‘couldn’t be happier’ to be joining Capitals

Trade acquisition Brenden Dillon ‘couldn’t be happier’ to be joining Capitals

The Capitals made their first significant trade of the season on Tuesday, acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional 2021 third.

Dillon, who’s spent the last six seasons with the Sharks, was emotional Monday night when asked for his thoughts on potentially playing his last game with San Jose. He choked up during his answer and had to walk away from the media scrum to collect himself.

The mood was a bit different Tuesday when Dillon found out he’d be heading to D.C. to play with the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals.

“I’m really excited,” Dillon said. “I can’t wait to get out there. I mean obviously the opportunity, the team, the group, what an opportunity.”

The Capitals have been widely rumored to be seeking a defenseman to bolster their blue line and Dillon was an attractive piece as Washington didn’t have to part with a first-round pick in order to get him. After losing six of their last nine games, the Capitals are looking for a spark—and Dillon can’t wait to help get them back on track.

“It’s been crazy, it really has,” Dillon said. “I think just mentally, guys can say, ‘You don’t read this or don’t read that.’ But it wears on you for sure and I’ve just kinda tried to bring the lunch pail to work every day and do my job. But definitely couldn’t be happier to get going.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: