Tuesday night’s story was one of third line domination. Sheary, Eller, and Panik played out of their minds, scoring 2 of the Caps 3 goals, and otherwise shutting down the Penguins. Per Natural Stat Trick, the 3 only allowed one shot attempt, and no shots on goal in 9:37 of 5v5 Ice time together. And these weren’t sheltered minutes either. Panik for instance got 4:48 against Sydney Crosby.
I’ll let TJ Oshie say it in his own words, through Sam Pell
Not sure what a moose means here, but yeah, good game boys. It was a big night for Panik fans like ya boi here.
The other news of the day was that, yet again, Vitek Vanecek would be starting in goal.
At times, Vanecek has shown flashes of brilliance, but the heavy workload in Samsonov’s absence has exposed a few flaws. This compounded with the Caps struggling defense has led to a high number of goals against so far this season. Prior to tonight’s game, the Caps were third worst in the league with more than 3.5 goals allowed per game.
The first period got off to a slow start, as the Caps had just 1 shot in the first 12 minutes. The Sabres had a close call off the post, so close in fact, the goal light went off until the ref waved the goal off. The Caps also got robbed, only by Ulmark, rather than by the post.
Fortunately, Nick Backstrom came to the rescue on the powerplay, knocking in a rebound from Ovechkin’s second shot.
The Caps kept up the pressure in the second period out attempting the Sabres 19-14 at 5v5. But the real story of the period was Tom Wilson. Guy absolutely bullies the Sabres defenseman at the blue line during a PK, takes the puck down the ice and DANGLES Ullmark.
But Wilson stole the show again, in a pretty sub-optimal way. A puck bounced his way with no defenders within 30 feet of him. Ullmark was locked in there with him, and not the other way around. Guaranteed goal, right? WRONG. Wilson channeled his inner Blake Comeau and… passed the puck???
WHAT ARE YOU DOING MY GUY???? THATS LIKE A .9995 xG SHOT, RIP IT AT THE NET. This isn’t a pickup game with no goalie where you’re playing posts. ITS THE NHL.
Fortunately. Wilson’s Galaxy brain move didn’t come back to bite the Caps, as they managed to finish the period still up 2-0.
Third period means third line grind right? Apparently it does, as the only Caps goal came from Conor Sheary, who has been absolutely crushing it after a slow start.
After that, the Caps pretty much went into lockdown mode, taking very few shots. Except for Orlov. Orlov took a penalty, which led to a PPG for the Sabres, but that was about all that happened after Sheary’s goal.
The next game is on Saturday at 12:30PM against the Rags.