As Caps reflect on series, it’s Game 4 loss that haunts them originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
As the Capitals searched for answers in the wake of their playoff series loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday, there was one game that seemed to be on their minds, one game that continued to come up unprompted: Game 4.
“In hindsight, we are not going to like how we played the fourth game,” Laviolette said after Boston closed out the series in Game 5 on Sunday.
For the first three games, the Caps and Bruins were locked in a tight, competitive series in which all three games went to overtime. Boston won two of those three games, but clearly it was anybody’s series at that point.
And then Game 4 happened.
“It was tight series, interesting series,” Alex Ovechkin said. “Obviously, we play three games in overtime. Bad luck, tough bounce, but they get two out of three. And the fourth game, they was fresher than us and obviously we knew we have to play better. We didn’t play our way fourth game.”
In Game 4, Washington was outshot 37-20, managed only 11 shots on goal at 5-on-5, registered only one high-danger scoring chance and went 1-for-7 on the power play. Boston, meanwhile, converted on three of its five power plays.
“If you just look at Game 4, they scored two power-play goals there or actually three power-play goals,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “So that’s a game-changer.”
After a tight series in which neither team had ever led by more than one goal, Boston dominated, took a 3-0 lead early in the third period and won 4-1.
Prior to Game 4, the series was up for grabs. After Game 4, it looked like Washington was hanging by a thread.
So what happened? Washington seemed to be getting healthier as the series went on. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov returned for Game 3. Lars Eller got back in the lineup for Game 4 and it looked like all systems go for the Caps. At least on paper. In execution, obviously, that was not the case.
Perhaps fatigue or injuries caught up with Washington or maybe Boston was able to take greater advantage of matchups with the second line change on home ice. Whatever the reason, clearly this is a game that is going to remain on the team’s mind for quite some time.
“Game 4 was one that we will look back on and be disappointed about,” Laviolette said. “Thought the first three games were a flip of a coin and tonight we couldn’t get it done.”