The margin between winning and losing during the NHL postseason is painfully small: a bouncing puck here or a big save there. Sunday, the Capitals got the ultimate dick punch a couple minutes into the first overtime of Game Three.
Islanders forward Mathew Barzal scored the game-winner after sneaking behind the Capitals defense. The breakaway gave the Isles a commanding 3-0 series lead.
Barzal sneakily ditched John Carlson as he skated laterally across the Capitals blue line. Jordan Eberle connected with Barzal behind Brenden Dillon with a perfect pass, and Barzal then took care of the rest.
He took the puck wide, deked Braden Holtby, and went to his backhand to tuck the puck into the empty net.
Barzal caught the D pair of Carlson/Dillon asleep. Great job of staying onside. Smart pass from Eberle. Varlamov saved the day with a pair of bang-bang saves on Vrana breakaway approximately 30 seconds prior to the GWG. Isles had the better of the play for most of the game https://t.co/TAvC6LCcxw
— E.J. Hradek (@EJHradek_NHL) August 16, 2020
The goal came after Jakub Vrana was unable to finish on a breakaway 30 seconds earlier. Vrana blocked a shot and forced a turnover at the Islanders’ blue line. He raced in all alone on Semyon Varlamov. Vrana tried to beat Varly five-hole, but the Russian goalie kept his stick down. Vrana got to the rebound first but was stymied on his second attempt.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) August 16, 2020
After Barzal’s goal, NBC Sports Washington cameras found Vrana brokenhearted at the bench with his head down.
Jakub Vrana puts his head down on the bench after Mathew Barzal's OTGWG. Vrana got stopped twice on a breakaway a minute before. pic.twitter.com/zPgKsBLhUI
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) August 16, 2020
He had nothing to be ashamed of. Despite playing just 14 minutes, Vrana generated more and better chances than anyone on the Caps roster during 5v5 play. His 0.23 individual expected goals was the team’s most, dwarfing Ovechkin’s 0.06 and Kuznetsov’s 0.02. The Caps couldn’t get much going during even strength today, but when they did it was off Vrana’s stick.
Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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