TSC Daily: the capitals will take that bounce
BY TODD DYBAS | APRIL 18, 2018
The puck does zany things in the playoffs. At times, those bounces can take postseason hopes pinging around with them. Others, they are what boosts you back into a series.
Around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Capitals endured some bounces in the second overtime in Columbus. Brett Connolly’s shot went off the glove of Sergei Bobrovsky, then sat to the goaltender’s left. In came Lars Eller to poke at it. Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski swung to clear it. His clear hit Eller’s left leg, which sent the puck flying into Werenski’s left leg. They tied each other up. The puck hit the toe of Eller’s skate and decided to slide over the goal line. Just like they drew it up for a 3-2 win that changed the series — for now.
“It’s the best feeling,” Eller said. “The best.”
At least for a night. They are still the favored team, still trailing and still have all those other postseason crashes tugging at them.
The Nationals made more progress in New York. They are back to .500 at 9-9. They pulled themselves up to four games behind the first-place Mets thanks to Tuesday’s 5-2 win. Gio Gonzalez pitched well again. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he was effective in Citi Field. He had a 2.63 ERA and a .167 batting average against in the park before Tuesday’s start. And, get this: Ryan Zimmerman picked up a significant hit. His seventh-inning single bumped the Nationals’ lead from 3-2 to 4-2. Sammy Solis handled a significant situation in the sixth. The Law Firm handled things from there. That’s two wins in New York from the non-Scherzer, non-Strasburg section of the rotation, both without Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon or Daniel Murphy. Tanner Roark will be on the mound Wednesday night in search of a sweep before going to Los Angeles on Thursday.
We saved the Wizards for last today, because, well, not great. They allowed 44 points in the first quarter in Toronto. The Raptors’ lead was down to five midway through the fourth quarter, but they had plenty to push back and regain control. The Wizards flew home Tuesday down 2-0 in the series. Bradley Beal had one of his worst nights. His plus-minus was an astonishing -34. The Wizards are being smashed in multiple places, from the 3-point line to rebounding. Want some strangeness from Tuesday? Ty Lawson was the first substitution, played well and was part of a Wizards bench group that pulled them back into the game.
Ben took time to talk over the hi-jinks with Scott Jackson of The Team 980 on the I Called Game podcast. “For all the bravado for a team that delivers nothing, it’s ridiculous,” Jackson said. Tell us how you really fell, Scott. Ben also wrote about Beal’s wayward evening, Lawson’s surprise emergence and the possibility that starter Marcin Gortat could be benched in Game 3 in favor of…Mike Scott.
What we do know is this: Friday, the Wizards will be back for their first home game. Saturday, the Caps return either even or on the brink. The Nationals will spend the weekend in Los Angeles with their top two pitchers ready to roll. So, hang in there. We know a lot of things have gone full D.C. sports from last weekend until now. You need to make it the end of the week. Go ahead and give yourself Wednesday off.
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Ben, Brian and Todd