While I was taking Metro to work on Tuesday morning, I was thinking about how the Caps keep losing in Game 3s, and how they’re now 0-7 all-time in Game 3 when leading a best-of-7 series 2-0, and how that’s kind of peculiar, and how maybe I should go back and read all the game stories from those unsuccessful Game 3s and publish the highlights.
Then I thought, no, only a bad person would do that, and the stories probably aren’t very interesting, and the Caps are still in fine shape in this series, and seriously, there isn’t a single good reason for doing that item other than being a bad person.
But then I thought about whether I wanted to look for more things to write about RGIII’s knee or the Redskins name or Bryce Harper’s ejection, and I decided hey, being a bad person isn’t the worst thing in the world, plus I was kind of curious.
For the record, here is the Caps postseason record by game, as of this writing. You’ll note that despite a history of postseason heartbreak, the Caps are actually at or above .500 for Games 1, 2, 4 and 6. But their combined records in Games 3, 5 and 7 is an almost unfathomable 25-53, for a .321 winning percentage. They should petition the NHL to only play even-numbered games from now on.
Game 1: 22-15
Game 2: 19-18
Game 3: 12-25
Game 4: 18-16
Game 5: 10-20
Game 6: 11-11
Game 7: 3-8
Also, as Elias noted on Monday, the Caps are the only NHL team with a losing record in series in which they took a 2-0 lead. I know, I know, bad person.
April 23, 1992, “Lemieux’s Counterattack Beats Capitals, 6-4”
By Dave Sell
By winning the first two games of their Patrick Division semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals were threatening to sweep the defending Stanley Cup champions from the 1992 playoffs. Tonight, Mario Lemieux responded. And responded. And responded.
Lemieux had a hand in every Pittsburgh goal, scoring three and setting up three as the Penguins beat the Capitals, 6-4, in front of a sellout 16,164 at the Civic Arena.
The Capitals now lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled here for 7:35 Saturday night. Game 5, now a necessity, will be Monday night at Capital Centre.
“We’re going to drag it out and win it in six or seven,” Pittsburgh’s Bob Errey declared.
April 22, 1996, “With Lemieux Assisting, Penguins Rap Caps”
By Len Hochberg
On the first goal he allowed, Washington Capitals goaltender Jim Carey swung his stick in apparent disgust. On two others, he was left sprawled on the ice, face down.
Carey’s NHL playoff frustrations continued last night as he yielded four goals — with Mario Lemieux assisting on each — and the Pittsburgh Penguins got back into this first-round series with a methodical 4-1 victory before 18,130 pom-pom waiving fans at USAir Arena.
“I didn’t play my greatest, that’s for sure,” Carey said.
May 11, 1998, “Senators Wield Power Over Washington”
By Rachel Alexander
The Washington Capitals battled back from a shaky start against vulnerable Ottawa Senators goaltender Damian Rhodes at Corel Centre tonight, but when it came down to the final shot in the game’s final 10 seconds, it was Rhodes who made the sprawling save on rookie Richard Zednik to preserve Ottawa’s 4-3 victory in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference semifinal.
The sellout crowd of 18,500, dressed mostly in white and waving white towels, often looked like a mad pack of sea gulls as Ottawa cut Washington’s lead to two games to one in the best-of-seven series.
April 15, 2003, “Capitals’ Goal Is Not Met”
By Jason La Canfora
Debris littered MCI Center’s ice last night when Vincent Lecavalier scored in overtime to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 victory over Washington. The Capitals, whose lead in this best-of-seven first-round series was cut to 2-1, began storming after the referees.
Lecavalier, whose revamped first line connected for all four of the Lightning’s goals, scored his second goal of the game on a rebound with his team on a five-on-three power play, a rare occurrence in the playoffs….
“I haven’t seen too many five-on-threes in overtime, but they call them the way they see them,” Washington Coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I’m not going to cry about it, but I don’t agree with the call on Jagr.”
May 6, 2009, “Penguins Fight Back”
By Tarik El-Bashir
Nicklas Backstrom scored his first goal of the playoffs with 1:50 remaining in regulation Wednesday night at Mellon Arena. But, in the end, his clutch goal only delayed the inevitable for a Washington Capitals team that was out-shot by 19, assessed seven penalties to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ two and committed too many turnovers to count.
Kris Letang scored on a slap shot with 8:37 remaining in overtime to lift the Penguins to a 3-2 victory before a white-towel waving capacity crowd.
The Capitals’ loss snapped their winning streak at five games, cut their series lead to 2-1 and represented a huge missed opportunity.
April 17, 2011, “Series takes bad bounce for Caps”
By Katie Carrera
Alex Ovechkin was trying desperately to get to the front of the Washington net late in regulation with the score tied at 2 in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. In an attempt to swipe the puck out of danger, though, the Capitals’ star left wing accidentally tipped it into the net for what proved to be the game-winning tally for the New York Rangers.
Ovechkin lay on the ice, head resting on top of his arms, motionless as Madison Square Garden erupted in celebration of the Rangers’ 3-2 victory. The win puts New York back in this first-round matchup and cuts Washington’s lead to two games to one.
May 6, 2013, ” ‘Loose,’ then a loss”
By Katie Carrera
Hours before the puck dropped at Madison Square Garden for Game 3 on Monday night, something didn’t sit right with Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby. He was concerned that his team, with a two-games-to-none lead in its Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers, might be getting a little too “loose.”
“It’s still playoff time and you never want to get comfortable,” he said after the morning skate. Perhaps Holtby’s concern was warranted.
Washington fell, 4-3, to the Rangers, dropping the franchise to 0-7 all-time with the chance to take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.