If you turned off Thursday’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals before its thrilling overtime finish, you might have thought it was a mess for the victorious home team. And, sure, early on, you were right.
But the Capitals didn’t wait until the morning after to make adjustments. They retooled mid-game and put forth a convincing comeback effort in the back half to fuel that extra-time win.
Braden Holtby faced 28 shots in just the first two periods and stopped 26 of them. Holtby saw less action than that in 30 full regular-season games, so this was a busy night even before the second intermission.
And despite giving Caps fans scares early on, Holtby ended the night with a .946 save percentage, a typically excellent playoff performance from one of the world’s finest goalies.
With barely over 10 minutes of ice, the Caps’ third line of Lars Eller (11:39), Andre Burakovsky (12:04), and Brett Connolly (10:39) got short shrift. Trotz used his top-six forwards heavily (T.J. Oshie had 21:06), as one would expect in a desperate comeback effort.
But one wonders if the third line’s gaffes in the first period cost them shifts later on. Maybe we’ll see on Saturday.
Stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey, Hockeystats.Ca, and NaturalStatTrick.
Headline photo: CSN Capitals
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