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Last time the Caps visited Nationwide Arena, they were handed what remains their only loss after another loss this season. They got a chance for a little revenge against their Metropolitan Division rivals, a team that always seems to play them well - and rode some special teams to a victory in Columbus.
First, here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: The power play. That is some unholy dark magic voodoo nonsense the Caps have working right now.
- Minus: The first ten minutes. The Caps were outplayed, outshot, and outscored over the first half of the opening frame, and were it not for Braden Holtby (and a bit of luck), they're down by more than a goal.
Ten more notes on the game:
- If there was any question as to whether Braden Holtby would be ready to go after leaving Sunday's game early, it was quickly put to rest by his play right off the bat. He was sharp early on... and had to be, as he was faced a barrage of Columbus shots in the first (helped a bit by an early power play).
- The only thing worse than giving up a two-on-one rush is playing it badly, and that's what the Caps did early in the first. A miscue at the blue line led to the odd-man break, with Taylor Chorney the only defenseman back to handle the play. Now, the way to play a two-on-one is to take away either the shooter or the pass. Chorney gets stuck in some sort of defensive mental purgatory and does... neither.
- This game seemed like it would have a body count, with Jason Chimera and Justin Williams both taking some friendly-fire bruises in an all-around painful early first period and Marcus Johansson getting a high stick in the face early in the second. Luckily all seemed fine.
- After getting badly outplayed and falling behind 1-0, the top line took matters into their own hands and did what they do best: made ridiculous passes and finished it off with a goal. Nice tic-tac-toe play from Alex Ovechkin, to T.J. Oshie, to Nicklas Backstrom in the reverse order of what one might expect, and it was a tie game.
- Three and a half minutes later, Chimera put the Caps on top. And it might be worth noting that you can't really tell the difference between a Jason Chimera shot with an injured hand and a Jason Chimera shot with a healthy one. Make of that what you will.
- The Blue Jackets don't have a bad penalty kill - it's just above middle of the pack - but they get plenty of practice. Thing is, you probably don't want to take too many penalties against a power play like this, as the Caps showed by scoring just 13 seconds into the first half of a double minor. And then again in the second half.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov should probably be illegal.
- So should Andre Burakovsky's wrist shot.
- Apparently Marcus Johansson's reputation has preceded him, because somehow he got Columbus's Justin Falk to try and fight him and then got a penalty of his own for... holding? I guess? At any rate, the goon was trying not to drop the gloves and finally was "rescued" by someone a little more practiced in the ways of fisticuffs in the form of Michael Latta.
- Let's start a petition to require a defenseman to chase Alex Ovechkin whenever he has a penalty shot or shootout attempt. Something about having too much time to think just doesn't work for that man. Tonight marked his 12th penalty shot attempt, and the 10th time he's failed to score. Which is mildly insane, if you think about it.
Not the best game the Caps could have played, but they scored when they needed to (and then some), and picked up yet another two points.
And now, this...