Special teams carry Capitals in Game 3 against Panthers – NBC4 Washington

Special teams carry Capitals in Game 3 win over Panthers originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

With the Capitals leading a goal late in the first period of Saturday’s Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Florida Panthers, it took a goal to give them the momentum they needed.

After killing 1:58 of a cross-check penalty from Anthony Mantha, Washington fired a penalty and scored seven seconds later to tie the game.

Then, in the second period, he killed two penalties (one just 19 seconds after the first expired) to maintain the tie. Marcus Johansson gave the Capitals a lead they never relinquished just two minutes later.

Now, after three games in the series, the Capitals’ special teams are making a huge difference with a perfect penalty kill and a stellar power play.

“I think guys are just stepping up, making plays,” TJ Oshie said. “(Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe) is doing a great job for us on the power play making adjustments. We make plays, guys work to get second pucks. Along the same lines, (assistant coach Scott Arniel) is doing a great job with the penalty kill. We limit their shots, limit their chances.

With a 2-for-6 power play performance in Game 3, the Capitals are now 4 of 12 in the series on the power play.

Their power-play goals on Saturday first tied the game (Oshie) and then put the game out of reach at 10:25 of the third period after Alex Ovechkin.

“Special teams are really important in the playoffs,” Oshie said. “You want to get that advantage and tonight we did that, and both units (are) very well.”

The work the power play has done in the series so far has been impressive, but it still ranks second to the Capitals’ penalty kill. Washington is 9 to 9 when losing a man this series, even without Tom Wilson (lower body injury), one of their best penalty killers, in the lineup.

On Saturday, goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped 29 of 30 shots he faced, including a handful of threatening shots with the Capitals shorthanded, to keep the Panthers at 0% on the power play this series.

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Florida won the fifth-best power play (24.4%) during the NHL regular season, with the league’s best offense nearly as deadly on the power play as it was at even strength. On Saturday, the Panthers were once again dry.

“I think we’re doing a good job being prepared, being on the same page and when it comes to sacrificing, blocking shots,” Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk said. down, and that’s still crucial on the PK. They’re obviously an amazing group, and to be in the top five in the league over an 82-game streak means they’re doing a lot of good.

Saturday’s shorthanded wasn’t just sparkling in the stats, as they held the Panthers at bay for much of the two-minute penalties with a mix of speed and energy, including forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Conor Sheary .

That, coupled with the Capitals’ power play, was enough to beat Florida and reclaim the series lead.

“You can feed off of that,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “The penalty kill can inject energy into the game with big blocks, big kills and big saves from your goalie. And you can come back after that and go back to 5 on 5. You can definitely feed off of that.

All of the Capitals’ first-round games against the Panthers will be available regionally on NBC Sports Washington and streamed live on the MyTeams app.

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