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Recap: Divide and Conquer - Caps Beat NYR 5-2, Own Metropolitan Division

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The Washington Capitals beat their division rival the New York Rangers 5-2 on Sunday, increasing their division lead and pleasing the locals.

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The Washington Capitals got some Double Jeopardy-style revenge on hated abuser the New York Rangers on Sunday, besting their closest division rival 5-2 behind a hat trick by Justin "the Handsome Devil" Williams.

Here's Sunday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Justin Williams, you had us at "hello, I rule." J-Will recorded his second career hat-trick, was brilliant all over the ice, and is making a case for being one of the Capitals' most indispensably valuable skaters.
  • Minus: Braden Holtby, your maharajah and mine, left the game late in the second period for undisclosed reasons. Speculation was that it was merely dehydration, but this minus could end up being a great big fat division sign if it's more than just that.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Chris Kreider, friend of the blog (lol), got the scoring starting in the first period, putting the Caps down 1-0.
  • A quick strike from Alex Ovechkin, human howitzer cannon, tied things up right before the buzzer like square knots. The powerplay goal was Ovi's 27th score of the season, putting him alone in second place behind Chicago's Patrick Kane (28). Trotz hinted that he wanted to change things up on the powerplay, and Ovechkin spent a lot of time switching with Matt Niskanen, to the horrified confusion of the defense.
  • The second period got started with a flurry of sexy, sexy offense for the Capitals. Nicklas Backstrom - who did not look his sharpest on Saturday in Buffalo or early in the first period tonight, did what he does best, and made passing look easier than sleeping with the teacher. He hand-delivered the puck right to fellow Sweet Swede Marcus Johansson, placing it on the doorstep like his name was FedEx.
  • Justin Williams made it 3-1 Capitals mere seconds later, deflecting in a Taylor Chorney shot and denying the sounding of the Chorn Horn for the first time as a Capital.
  • Speaking of Justin Williams, J-Dub graduated from the Jaromir Jagr School of Ass-Out Boards Play, where fellow distinguished Capitals alumni include Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward. You wanna control the puck along the dashers like Williams does? Butt in with your butt out!
  • Unconfirmed vampire Chris Kreider beat Holtby to make it 3-2 Caps at the second intermission.
  • Hushed breath and whispered concerned filled Verizon as Holtby did not return in the third period. Early reports from Chuck Gormley indicated it was due simply to dehydration (Holtby turns up hard on weekends because he can't feel his face when he's with you) but fingers crossed that Braden Hart Vezina Holtby is okay.
  • Justin Williams scored again, this one his 15th goal of the season, on another patented Evgeny Kuznetsov tip-in. Trotz said, "I could score a few out there with [Kuznetsov]," and boy, it doesn't look like he was lying. With Kuzy's 28th assist of the season, he and Backstrom are both top-10 in the NHL.
  • Williams, God love him, notched the empty-netter too, earning his second career hat-trick in the process. Man, I'm glad this guy's on our team, finally.
  • New Guy and one time At-Risk Youth Mike Richards is wasting absolutely no time making his presence felt on the Capitals. Mike Dicks had four hits, two shots, a block, and a ton of ice time in his first home appearance. There are lots of teams in the NHL that would play the Caps' fourth line in their top-six.

The Capitals' division lead is now so large I had to use a calculator to figure it out (seriously, it's 17 points) and they are the first team in the league to record their 70th point of the season. It's party time in D.C. Next is the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Tuesday.

Game highlights: