Big-time playoff games spawn some pretty unlikely heroes, a category you could probably put David Steckel in. But even despite the lanky center's crucial deflection, the game's biggest story was arguably the performances by a couple of guys who many fans had all but given up on: Viktor Kolzov and Tomas Fleischmann.
Kozlov has been one of the NHL's most notorious annual playoff disappointments, a winger with top six skill who entered this postseason with six assists (and zero goals) in 21 career playoff games. Fleischmann hasn't been around long enough to garner the same kind of reputation but his demotions both this postseason and last year, coupled with his slow second half of the season and lack of playoff production (even with last night's goal, Fleischmann still only has three goals and no assists in 15 career playoff games), seemed to suggest Flash might be headed down the same road. None of that really matters right now though, and for one more night, at least, we, as fans, are willing to ignore their shortcomings and are happy to revel in their successes.
Some additional thoughts on last night's game:
- The Capitals were out-shot 42-24 on the night. Of course, being out-shot 18-5 in the first period probably had a lot to do with that.
- That slashing call on Brooks Laich with 2:02 left in regulation wasn't a bad call per se, but it was totally inconsistent with how the referees had been calling the games last six minutes or so.
- Note to Milan Jurcina: don't make a behind-the-back, blind hand pass in your own team's slot again. Ever.
- Good coaching move by Bruce Boudreau to use his team's timeout on the icing call with a little under ten minutes left in the third. All too often coaches guard their timeouts all too closely despite the fact that, as they say, you can't take them with you.
- Last night was probably the quietest three point night of Alexander Ovechkin's career, even considering he now holds the franchise record for most points in a single postseason.
- The Penguins got an incredible 72% of their shot attempts on net. For the sake of comparison, the Caps only got 44% of their on net.
- Rob Scuderi had a pretty good night for a guy who finished up with a minus-two rating.
- While it's nice that Fleischmann picked up a goal, it's a little weird that Boudreau decided that one goal was enough to forget all off Flash's poor play and move him back up to the second line.
- Even with the game going into overtime, Jay Beagle skated just 2:06 and Chris Clark just 2:13. Each skated four shifts.
Win one game. Just one more time.