There was no way this game wasn’t going to make it on here. It may have been the most important game of the Washington Capitals’ playoff run. I attended Game 2 of the first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets and just like the previous game, the Caps faltered in overtime. Additionally, they blew a two-goal lead in both games and were down 0-2 heading to Columbus. Exiting Capital One Arena after a heartbreaker, I didn’t think there would be joy we’ve never felt before less than two months later. I heard fans around me yelling profane language and the “here we go again talk” in the streets while waiting for an Uber (Metro closed early. That’s a rant for another day). Two days later, I was in my basement watching with fear and nearly having a heart attack as Game 3 was not only in overtime for the third straight game, but double overtime! Lars Eller though kept the season alive as he deflected a shot past Sergei Bobrovsky. The rest, as they say, is history that was created.
Date: April 17, 2018
Result: 3-2 CAPS
The Caps jumped in front 1-0 as Tom Wilson redirected a Matt Niskanen shot 5:52 into the second. They nearly went up 2-0 on a great look from Brett Connolly but the goal would be waved off due to offsides.
The home team knotted the scored with a goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois before the Caps retook the lead at 14:43 thanks to John Carlson going top shelf off a slick pass from Nicklas Backstrom.
The Blue Jackets tied it back up in the third with a goal from Artemi Panarin. The game would require overtime for the third straight night. In the first overtime, Alex Ovechkin had a great backhand look but just missed. The Blue Jackets had a chance on the other side but Brandon Dubinsky missed a pass in front of the net. Braden Holtby, making his first start of the playoffs after a good Game 2 relief performance, remained as calm as a crisp autumn afternoon.
But guess what’s crazier than one overtime? How about two? That’s what was needed. Nine minutes in, we all went from stressed to relieved. After Connolly fired a shot and Devante Smith-Pelly missed the rebound, there was a tiger who happened to be right at the doorstep around the loose puck at the right time. Lars Eller began writing his legacy with the biggest goal the Capitals scored this postseason. It may have been the first round, but without that goal, I don’t even think I would be ranking Top 10 playoff moments. It was the first of many big goals to come for the Great Dane.
What will moment #3 be?! Tune in tomorrow to find out!
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5. The Save