“Momentum of the game shifted the other way, they went down and got a lucky shot. Kind of took the wind out of our sails but we had lots of time to come back,” said Green, who was the only Capital to record two goals in the series.
“We just needed one, to be honest,” Green added. “Tonight we just needed one and I think the outcome could have been the other way. It’s tough to put it all together right now.”
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Washington’s first set of consecutive regulation wins this year came with solid showings from start to finish.
Giving up the first goal after dominating the opening 12 minutes deflated the Capitals. Suddenly the energy to their game was gone and not even a late power play that stretched between the first and second period could spark them.
Washington recorded just one shot on goal during the man advantage, then struggled to regain its dominance at even strength. The Capitals iced the puck twice in less than 30 seconds and were unable to cleanly exit the zone. Their deficit soon increased to two.
New York’s fourth line and third defensive pairing combined for a lengthy shift in the offensive zone, and when a rebound from Derek Dorsett’s shot popped out near the right post, Taylor Pyatt swatted it past Holtby for a 2-0 lead at 3:24.
Just more than two minutes later came the goal that truly brought the sense of defeat to the surface. Michael Del Zotto’s shot from high on the left side deflected off the skate of Troy Brouwer, who had gone down on one knee to block the shot, and then skidded between Holtby’s legs. As the 3-0 New York lead went up on the board just 5:34 into the second period, the shoulders on the home bench drooped and it was clear even at that early stage that a comeback likely wasn’t in the offing.
Ryan Callahan piled on just 13 seconds into the third period, sending the home fans who were so loud just hours earlier streaming to the exits amid a faint chorus of boos. Mats Zuccarello dumped more salt into the gaping wound of the home team to make it 5-0.
“This is the best team, team-wise, that we’ve been on. We had the depth, we had the coaching, the structure, the system,” Green said. “Things happen during series that just seem for whatever reason at the wrong time happen to us. That’s no reflection of the guys in the dressing room or how bad we wanted it. The heart and the depth of the guys throughout the lineup is not the reflection of how it should end.”