With 17:44 left in the second period Thursday, it was about to get ugly.
To the Capitals’ credit, the team had already killed off a penalty they suffered in the opening minute of the game. The patterns—at least from the press box—looked more coordinated, as in, you could see them, even if nothing had resulted in an actual goal. But the Caps looked like they could be just one good pass shy of it.
But then came the penalty kill not far into the second, and before that could be burned, the dreaded 5-on-3, as Troy Brouwer joined Alex Ovechkin in the box for a delay of game penalty.
The Capitals held out until 4 seconds were left in the 5-on-3, and then the Montreal Canadiens scored. Then they scored again on another Capitals’ penalty kill. Then they scored twice even-handed. The Capitals’ Joey Crabb finally scored at the end of the third, bringing the end score to 4-1, a tally that was not reflective of the excellent job Michal Neuvirth did in net for the Capitals.
Beagle agreed the...