Productive during the regular season, the Caps’ third line has gone quiet


It’s an under-the-radar storyline, overshadowed by the struggles of Braden Holtby and Kevin Shattenkirk.

But the Washington Capitals’ third line has not been producing in the playoffs, and that’s partly why the Caps trail the Penguins, 2-0, in the second round.

The Caps, you may recall, made it a point to rebuild their third line over the summer. They brought in Lars Eller and Brett Connolly, and those two enjoyed great success with Andre Burakovsky for much of the regular season.

“You’re getting guys who’ve got double-digit goals on that line,” head coach Barry Trotz said in February. “We didn’t have that on that third line last year. We do now. We’re getting scoring from the third line, no question. We’re getting scoring from all lines. That’s good for us. It makes us a hard team to play.”

It’s a very different story now. Not one of the trio has a goal in these playoffs. In fact, Connolly has been replaced on the line by Tom Wilson, and Connolly was replaced in the lineup on Saturday by AHL journeyman Paul Carey.

So while much of the focus in Game 3 will be on Holtby, keep an eye on that third line as well. It needs to do more than possess the puck. It needs to start putting the puck in the net.

Related: Shattenkirk having a tough postseason