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Wait, there's a hockey league? In their first contest in eight days, the Capitals fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime, 4-3, in a match-up that pitted your ex-boyfriend Michal Neuvirth against your current boo Braden Holtby. The Caps came back from a 2-0 first period deficit, but couldn't get that second point.
Here's Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Karl "Iron Man" Alzner moved into first-place on the Capitals' franchise record list for consecutive games played (423). Couldn't happen to a nicer guy with a better mustache.
- Minus: The referees and Matt Niskanen conspired to make this a tough game for the Caps. Nisky had an objectvely abyssmal first period, and while he turned it around in the later stanzas, he was not a plus tonight. Also, I don't know who greased the referees' palms and/or clogged up their whistles with silly putty, but how do I get on that payroll?
And now, this...
These refs tonight be like pic.twitter.com/ZqB7USVewQ— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) January 28, 2016
Ten more notes on the game:
- Brayden Schenn and Ryan White got the scoring going in the first period. White's goal came off of a picture perfect pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov - WAIT, NO, KUZY WHAT ARE YOU DOING? The no- look stuff is awesome and cool and fun, but please, God, not in your own zone, not to the front of the net, and just...not, okay?
- The Capitals went into the first intermission down 2-0, and I don't know what sort of verbal suppository coach Barry Trotz gave the boys in the locker room, but woo did it work. They came out with a fire lit under them like Bunsen burners.
- Andre Burakovsky - stumper of slumps - fired home a breadwinner from between the circles at the start of the second period, and suddenly Verizon was jumping again.
- Mere moments later (in fact, so soon that Wes Johnson, the Verizon arena announcer, called them together saying "FIRST goal...SECOND goal...") Nicklas "All-Star Swag" Backstrom curled-and-dragged a lovely assist from T.J. Oshie into a clinically accurate snipe. Who says playmakers can't shoot?
- Braden Holtby, your bearded Brahman and mine, became the first NHL goalie this season to record four or more PIMs in one game - a tripping call, and a puck-over-the-glass delay of game. A beautiful all-heart defensive play by a stickless Brooks Laich killed off the second, just before the end of the second period.
- Cruel is the spectre of Puck Luck, and not a minute later Jakub Voracek ripped home a BB directly off the face-off. Holtby's shoulders fell, and the world grew a little more dim.
- The refs were handing out Charmin-soft calls all night, except to the Capitals. On what was a more obvious tripping call than when your buddy phoned you on LSD, the refs swallowed their whistles as Evgeny Kuznetsov ate ice. Well, fine. The Caps will do it themselves. A gorgeous assist from Kuzy to Burakovsky tied up the game 3-3, and Kuznetsov even dabbed on 'em. How fun is this team?
- Thanks to some phenomenal saves by Braden Holtby and some great, vicarious bruise-inducing shot blocking by the Flyers' penalty killers in the final moments, 60 minutes was not enough to decide this one.
- Unfortunately, a quick strike from Jakub Voracek sealed the win for the Flyers. A point's a point, and it ain't like the Caps are short of them. Bad start, great comeback, mediocre result.
- As mentioned above, Karl Alzner became Washington's franchise record-holder for consecutive games played (423). Iron Man Alzner received a great video tribute and a raucous standing ovation from the Verizon faithful.
Capitals Hill investigates pic.twitter.com/sVaa8tOdB9— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) January 28, 2016
You can't win 'em all, sports fans. The Capitals are still the best team in the whole league, and honestly, there's a lot of good to take away from tonight. Rust was to be expected, but that hard-charging comeback? That was not. Good show, Caps. Kinda. Next up is the Florida Panthers at home on Tuesday.