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Capitals vs Flyers Game 3: What Worked and What Didn't

Heading into Game 4, we take a look at what worked and what didn't in Game 3.

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You know what they say — it's not a series until the home team loses. Well, what started off as a promising evening with a lovely tribute to the recently departed Ed Snider and a goal in the game's opening minute, resulted in an embarrassment for the home team, from the ice, to the nosebleeds, with the hometown Flyers suffering an ugly 6-1 loss. It's a series all right. A series that's one game away from being over.

Here's a look at our breakdown from Game 1 and Game 2.

Now, let's take a look at what worked and what didn't in Game 3.

What Worked

  • Braden Holtby
Braden Holtby will remain here in this top bullet under "what worked" until, well, until he's not. The guy has stopped 91 of 93 total shots fired his way, including 25 saves on 27 "high-danger shots". With Steve Mason struggling on the other end of the ice, a goaltender matchup that we admittedly thought could go either way, has in reality been a yawning chasm of performance disparity that favors the Caps.

And hey, by adding an assist on Monday night, Holtby has matched the total offensive output of Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, and Jakub Voracek. So he's got that going for him too, which is nice.
  • Special Teams
Does the "what worked" section feel familiar so far? It should. Strong goaltending and superb special teams are all the Capitals have really needed to cruise through the first three games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. But man, they really put a stamp on it in Game 3, notching a franchise-record five, count 'em, five powerplay goals from five different goal scorers. Heck, Barry Trotz even threw Jay Beagle out there, and he turned on the light (which he's now done as many times as the Philadelphia Flyers combined roster).

As a note, the five powerplay goals scored last night was almost enough to double last season's total powerplay production, when the Caps man-advantage mustered only three PPGs over fourteen games. Their 8-for-19 marker on the series has the unit clicking at an asinine 47%. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Meanwhile, the penalty kill unit continued it's flawless march through the postseason, killing off all five Flyer man-advantages they were tasked with.
Sure, the boys in red gave the Flyguys five trips to the man-advantage, and tossed in a couple matching minors for good measure, but while the Flyers devolved into something more closely resembled a band of bloodthirsty Uruk Hai on campaign than a hockey team, the Capitals didn't get pulled down into the muck. Instead, they let the Flyers take troglodyte penalty after troglodyte penalty, and slowly dismantled them with a surgically precise powerplay. Ain't no justice like a goal-light.

What Didn't
  • Team Health
The Capitals were fortunate to dodge one bullet, with Dmity Orlov somehow walking away from a dangerous Pierre-Edouard Bellemare hit, for which Bellemare would later be suspended for one game. Their top-pair, Stanley Cup-winning, $27 million dollar man, was not so lucky. We know Brooks Orpik won't play tomorrow, after Ryan White introduced his head quite rudely to the dasher, and based on the optics of Orpik's wobbly departure, it'll likely be some time before BO44 is back in the lineup.

The implications of losing a top-pair defenseman are implicit in the fact that he's top-pair, and Barry Trotz and Todd Reirden are going to have to put their heads together for some decisions. Who enters the lineup? Taylor Chorney or Mike Weber? How do your pairings and deployments change? For a bit more on the Caps' performance with and without Brooks Orpik, head right this way.

Normally we call out three things that "didn't work" in a given game, but the reality is there's not a whole lot to nitpick about a blowout road victory to take a 3-0 series lead. Enjoy this one. The fourth win's always the hardest.