Prior to Game 3, Capitals coach Barry Trotz talked about the need for the team's bottom two lines to step up. Apparently, they were listening.
A tremendous performance from the Capitals' third and fourth lines fueled the Caps to the 2-1 series lead over the New York Rangers after a 1-0 win on Monday night.
Alex Ovechkin stole the show in the series' first two games as the top line combined for three goals and three assists. The bottom two lines, however, were held without a point. That changed on Monday as the third line of Andre Burakovsky, Jay Beagle and Troy Brouwer worked to score the game's only goal.
"I got a good shot in the slot there," Beagle said. "[Burakovsky] gave me a nice pass and [Henrik Lundqvist] made a good blocker save and I just tried to comeback around and put it on net because I knew guys were crashing there and tried to wrap it around. Got a little lucky and it went it."
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Beagle's initial chance was created by the strong forecheck of Brouwer and Burakovsky. The two battled for the puck until Burakovsky was able to send it to Beagle in the slot. From there, Beagle's hard work took over.
"We’ve been talking a lot of guys that shoot the puck, follow up your shot," Brooks Laich said. "Jay does that, gets it back out in front and the puck goes in. A well-earned goal. Hard work earns that goal."
"That line was really working hard," Trotz said. "I thought that whole line, Brouwer, Beagle, Burakovsky had a lot of jump, and they were really committed to getting pucks to the net and keeping things alive, and that's how the goal happened."
The contribution of the bottom lines was not simply limited to the scoresheet. Both lines, including the fourth line of Curtis Glencross, Brooks Laich and Tom Wilson, did a tremendous job on the forecheck to generate multiple offensive chances and they came up big in their own end with critical shot blocks in the game's waning minutes.
"I thought we had a good plan in the last minute with their goalie out," Laich said. "Thought guys did a good job executing it, the faceoff, the assignments, the blocked shots. Thought we did a really good job at the end."
After talking about how the team needed more secondary scoring, Trotz was clearly pleased with the third line's efforts after the game.
"We're going to need some new heroes every night, it's going to be someone different for us, that's how we have to get it done," Trotz said. "That line has been buzzing and had some chances and some looks and [the puck] hasn't gone in, [but] the harder you work, the luckier you get."
"We talked about being the difference, our line in the game, but you never know how it’s going to play out," Brouwer said, "And tonight I thought we did a good job and we were the difference."
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