Everything was going wrong for the Caps. Before Tuesday’s game against the Islanders, there were four players out due to COVID (and COVID-related stupidity) and another out with a lower-body injury. During the game, the Caps lost two centers to subsequent injuries.
It was a disaster game, until all of a sudden it wasn’t.
By the end of the third period, the Caps were depleted. Like, here’s their lineup from opening night, but with all the missing players struck through in pink.
So when the Caps got a big five-minute power play, they lacked the killer personnel to actually do anything with it. It looked like we were heading to yet another overtime game and yet another loser point.
And then: your hero, Justin Schultz.
REGULATION HERO JUSTIN SCHULTZ! pic.twitter.com/qiAiFhjxcS
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 27, 2021
Check out that pass from Garnet Hathaway up high, effortlessly nullifying the defender on him. Then – in true Laviolette fashion – it’s the defender providing the offense as Schultz beats Varlamov.
The Caps bench, looking all kinds of wrong in blue, went buckwild.
And rightly so. That was not a game they were supposed to win. No Ovi, no Wilson, no Kuzy, no Orlov, no Samsonov. Lost Nicky, lost Eller. But it was Next Man Up. Now they’ve taken a bunch of scheduled losses and snatched up way more points than an AHL-tier team has any business snatching.
The Caps have Wednesday off. They sure as hell earned it.
Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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