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Takeaways: Orlov, Capitals Surge In Third For Crucial Win Over Kings

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Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON — Going into the third period, Saturday’s tilt with the Los Angeles Kings appeared to be going in the same direction as the Washington Capitals’ other games to start the season: missed assignments and struggles on the power play and 5-on-5. However, in a span of under 10 minutes, Washington changed the narrative.

Just as they did on Monday, the Capitals came out red-hot to open the third period, and ultimately, a four-goal explosion in the third capped off a furious rally for a 4-3 victory over Los Angeles. They are now back at .500 for the season.

Here are all the takeaways live from Capital One Arena.

Washington Capitals Ride Red-Hot Third Period To Win After Even-Strength Struggles

To open Saturday’s tilt, there were some struggles at 5-on-5 and on the power play, as the Capitals had a few good chances and extended zone time but had a hard time solving a red-hot Jonathan Quick and saw several shots blocked. However, after going without a 5-on-5 goal for five straight periods, Washington was swarming in the final frame, and it paid off at even strength.

In the first few minutes of the third, the Capitals had racked up 13 shots. They were buzzing and completely tiled the ice, and it led to another comeback win.

Nic Dowd finally broke through in the third period, getting to the front and firing a pass from Nick Jensen past Quick to cut the deficit in half. The goal was Dowd’s second goal of the season and Jensen’s third helper of the year.

Shortly after, John Carlson tied the game with a goal that squeaked past Quick. Evgeny Kuznetsov came back with a great game following his suspension and picked up his team-leading fifth assist of the season on the play and now has five points in five games, including four helpers in his last two games. Dmitry Orlov also picked up an assist, his second in as many games.

Orlov and the Capitals weren’t done there. The Russian blueliner would dish his third helper of the season, making a great pass over to a wide-open Lars Eller, who fired a quick shot past Quick to make it a 3-2 game.

While the Kings would add another in the third on a 2-on-1 break, Marcus Johansson played hero. With 5:25 left in regulation, he scored on a nice wraparound to put Washington in front, 4-3. It marked his fifth point in six games to open the season. Orlov also picked up his third assist of the season on the play and now has a team-leading four assists after picking up his first point of the year just one game ago.

Washington Capitals Power Play Cools Down, Lines Change Again

For three straight games, things seemed to turn around for the Capitals’ power play, which had goals in three straight games leading up to Saturday. However, the red-hot man advantage cooled down. Washington went 0-for-3 on the power play, seeing their shots blocked and Los Angeles easily carry the puck out of the zone. While there were shots on the PP and chances, the Capitals couldn’t finish, and when it needed a goal, it couldn’t convert.

Washington also changed up the lines in the third. Dylan Strome moved up to play with Alex Ovechkin and Conor Sheary in the third, while Kuznetsov centered Johansson and T.J. Oshie.

Washington Capitals Blue Line Still Seeing Struggles

Despite the win, there are still struggles on defense Capitals’ blue line hasn’t been clicking to open the season, which led to a shakeup and some of the pairings — which had been a constant for almost a year and a half — being switched. Carlson and Orlov were put together, while Martin Fehervary went to work with Jensen. The Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk pairing stayed together.

Missed assignments and poor coverage again proved costly. On the first goal, Sean Durzi was left alone in the slot to pick up a nice pass from Viktor Arvidsson, which allowed him to beat Darcy Kuemper easily. After that, Jensen and Eller collided, and no one was there to pick up Phillip Danaut, who easily redirected an Arvidsson pass past Kuemper.

Later on in the third, with Washington leading, the team surrendered an odd-man rush, and Arvidsson capitalized with a goal to even the score.

Right now, the top-4 just doesn’t seem to be working. While the team did appear to put the old pairings back together at one point, they quickly reverted back to Orlov-Carlson and Fehervary-

Protas Stands Out For Washington Capitals

After an impressive preseason, it’s been a quiet start to the year for Aliaksei Protas. One of the bright spots for Saturday was that No. 59, who broke through as one of the club’s most noticeable players.

The 21-year-old was all over the place, crashing the net, engaging in puck battles and getting some great chances in front. Protas was using his 6-6 frame to his advantage and getting to the high-danger areas, and his line with Mantha and Eller generated quite a few chances and ultimately clicked for D.C.

More Washington Capitals Ice Chips

  • Ovechkin led the team in hits (6).
  • Carlson is four points shy of 600 career NHL points, which would also move him past Michal Pivonka (599) for the fifth-most points in franchise history.
  • Oshie had an assist, marking his fifth point in six games to open the season; he also has points in three of his last four games.
  • Kuemper finished the night with 21 saves on 24 shots (.875 SV%)
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