Capitals

3 key observations from Game 5: With season on the line, Caps leaders respond

Capitals

It ain’t over yet! The Caps downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Saturday to force a Game 6 in Pittsburgh. Here are three key observations from the Caps’ win.

1. How about those line changes?

Admit it. When you saw Alex Ovechkin on the third line, you thought the Caps’ goose was cooked, didn’t you? Well both he and Andre Burakovsky delivered. Burakovskly was moved up to the top line and scored Washington’s first goal of the game and also assisted on Nicklas Backstrom’s all-important game-tying goal in the third. Ovechkin, meanwhile, scored just 27 seconds after Evgeny Kuznetsov in the third period to put the exclamation point on this one and to bring the Verizon Center crowd into a frenzy. It was a bold move and you’ve got to tip your cap to Barry Trotz.

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2. Braden Holtby delivers when Marc Andre-Fleury flops

Holtby would probably like to have that first goal back, but for the most part he was very solid in net especially in the third period when he made several key saves to keep Washington in it and then protect the lead. This was Holtby’s best game of the series, but it helped that it also happened to be Fleury’s worst. What happens if/when Fleury rebounds? Can Holtby keep up this level of play in Game 6 and go toe to toe with Fleury who has been spectacular this postseason?

 

3. Nicklas Backstrom provides the turning point

Down 2-1 with the clock ticking in the third period, it felt like this one was slipping away from the Caps. That’s when Backstrom delivered on his game-tying goal to breathe new life into the game and season for Washington. The Caps needed their top playmakers to step up in this situation. We always look to Ovechkin to pull them out of it, but this time it was Backstrom and his timing was perfect.

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