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The Capitals recorded their 69th point of the year on Thursday night, beating Western foes the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 behind fantastic play from, well, nearly everyone. The Young Guns got it done and the veterans pulled their weight. An empty netter with 0.6 on the clock was all she wrote.
Here's Thursday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Youth was well-represented tonight, with Kuznetsov and Wilson both finding the back of the net, and Burakovsky notching two assists and several fireball shifts. Oh, and Holtby had a special night. More on that below.
- Minus: Another tough one to pick, so we'll go with the loss of Alan Rickman and David Bowie, both of which are inevitably Gary Bettman and/or Sidney Crosby's fault.
And now, this, because you can never have enough Kuzy...
Ten more notes on the game:
- The Capitals literally rolled out the red carpet for Alex Ovechkin tonight, honoring him before the game for scoring his 500th career goal. A pregame message over a dozen 500-goal scorers, including Bondra, Fedorov, Bure, Robitaille, Gartner, Iginla, Stevie Y, Esposito, Teemu, and Gretzky drove home the enormity of the moment. They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps...
- Evgeny Kuznetsov got the scoring going early in the second period, riding a gorgeous Dmitry Orlov rush and assist to a pretty forehand-backhand put away on Ryan Miller's doorstep. Some Russian connections are lethal. Some are sexy. This one is both, da?
- Later in the second, the Caps got their second of the night when Matt Niskanen attempted to occupy the same space at the same time as a Vancouver forward's face. Niskanen dumped the kid to the ice, and the Canucks took exception (to a clean hit, as some teams are wont to do). In the ensuing dummy-scrum and whirlwind of cross-checks Niskanen endured, Karl Alzner was able to walk in nearly unnoticed and uncork a brut from above the circle. Ryan Miller wanted a penalty, but penalties are for gold medal winners.
- Two minutes into the final frame and a triumvirate of Caps youngsters had an impromptu menage-a-three as Burakovsky and Kuznetsov beautifully set up Tom Wilson, making it 3-0 Washington.
- Speaking of Kuzy and Bura, both had 2+ points tonight. Kuznetsov's were in dazzling, this-guy's-a-star fashion, and I'm not saying Burakovsky has turned around his slump, but he's climbing out of the pit like Batman.
- The Canucks got one back in the third period to make it 3-1, but it was all but academic at that point.
- The Capitals have not lost to a Canadian team in regulation yet this season, so pour yourself a Budweiser and thank a fighter jet, you patriot.
- I don't fear your jonx. I want it on the record. This is the best team in the NHL by miles.
- With the win, Braden Holtby moves into second-place on the Capitals' all-time goalie franchise wins list. He is 26 years old, and is under contract for five more years. Comment dit-on, hell yeah?
- By the way, there was lots of David Bowie music at Verizon tonight, including in-arena announcer Wes Johnson, voice of a generation, saying, "Thank you, Ziggy Stardust." I'm not crying, you are.
The Capitals are now so far ahead of the rest of the Metropolitan Divsion (16 points) that they're squinting in the rear-view mirror, but can't find them so they have to try the side-views. Hockey in D.C. is fun and fruitful, and I hope you're enjoying the ride as much as we are. Next up is the Sabres in Buffalo on Saturday.