In February, the Capitals landed Kevin Shattenkirk, the most talented player available, at the trade deadline.
After struggling for most of the playoffs, Shattenkirk paid dividends in Game Three, scoring the decisive — and what seemed like an improbable goal — 3:13 into overtime.
The Pens now lead the second-round series 2-1.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 2, 2017
After Marcus Johansson drew a penalty on Trevor Daley, the Capitals power play went to work. Thirty-three seconds later, Shattenkirk scored.
Nicklas Backstrom carried the puck into the Penguins zone along the left wing. Running out of room along the boards, Backstrom pivoted to the middle of the ice and slung the puck over to Shattenkirk, who had set up shop at the point.
Shattenkirk threw a casual wrist shot through traffic, beating a screened Marc-Andre Fleury.
Shattenkirk’s celebration was tremendous.
“Well our breakout was a little unorthodox but we just winged it,” Shattenkirk said of the goal. “We took what they gave us. We got it over to Nicky. We know he’s so dynamic when he comes in. A lot of players give him that time and space. I just tried to find an option for him and felt like I had that shot.”
Shattenkirk’s goal was his first of the postseason and his fourth in 55 career playoff games. The goal is his first career playoff overtime game-winner.
“I think there’s a lot of guys here who have been around this for a lot of time and have suffered playing against this team,” Shattenkirk said. “We believe this year. We’re ready to change that script.”
Heading into Monday’s Game Three, Shattenkirk, skating on a pairing with Brooks Orpik, was on the ice for six five-on-five goals in nine games. When asked to described his play in the postseason, Shattenkirk told reporters he had been “really bad.”
“But I’m focused on tonight,” he said. “That’s all I can worry about.”
And he was the hero.
“Obviously he got the big goal for us,” Barry Trotz said. “He stepped up for us there tonight. When we lost Nisky, I thought he played well.”
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