The only thing worse than giving up a 3-0 lead is giving away a 3-0 lead, which the Capitals did Wednesday night against the Bruins. But God Bless Nick Backstrom™, and the Caps closed it out 4-3 in overtime.
Here's Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Top-line winger T.J. Oshie returned tonight, and he looked...well, like a daggone bulldog dipped in hot sauce and slapped in the ass with a hockey stick. The Capitals sure missed his energy and disruptive power, and it was good to see him back on the ice in the home reds.
Minus: Matt Niskanen got amateurishly boarded like a hastily constructed schooner. He left the game hurt, and did not return.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
- The scoring in this one began early, and I mean early like when your kids wake you up on Christmas morning and you're like, Oh my gosh, nothing is worth this. Justin Williams, he of the famed Biblical goal drought, scored on the very first rush up the ice, bumping an Evgeny Kuznetsov lob into the back of the net with the shaft of his stick.
2. Then, just mere minutes later, Evgeny Kuznetsov deked, dunked, and dipped his way through the Bruins defense, looking like the Kuzy of old and leaving a lovely drop pass for Williams that J-Will would pound home like oil rigs. After the long winter, the sweet spring of two goals was upon Williams. Kuznetsov eventually received credit for the assist.
Kuznetsov may as well have 2 assists.— Jason Rogers (@HeyJayJRogers) December 8, 2016
Should be 2 assists. Kuznetsov & Ovechkin https://t.co/rIRTJbkbLu— Ed Frankovic (@EdFrankovic) December 8, 2016
2-0 Caps, Justin William’s second of the game pic.twitter.com/kD9dU506Or— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) December 8, 2016
3. Lars Eller, the most mysterious Swede since the protagonist from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, took a hooking penalty halfway through the first. Nothing bad came of it, but for someone making so much money, Eller has 20 PIM on the year and 3 points. Put differently, he has 3 minor penalties per point.
Not exactly what the Caps expected, to date. https://t.co/gx8FVaXGjc— Japers' Rink (@JapersRink) December 8, 2016
4. During the first intermission, at which point the Capitals led 2-0, NBC and Mike Milbury's crew ran a segment called "Ovechkin's Improved Effort." If you're offended by printed swear words and adult situations, ignore the next two tweets from two of your Japers' Rink writers.
"Ovechkin's improved effort" is going to be an intermission segment for Milbury and the boys? Shoot me in the fucking face.— Sick, Unbelievable (@sickunbelievabl) December 8, 2016
"Ovechkin's improved effort"? Fucking gag me.— Jason Rogers (@HeyJayJRogers) December 8, 2016
5. During the second period, Guy-With-a-Name-Like-a-Vonnegut-Short-Story Patrice Bergeron layed a dumb, unnecessary hit on the Capitals’ best defenseman, Matt Niskanen. Bergeron got hit with a boarding penalty, and Niskanen did not return to the game. Hold your breath for Frisky Nisky.
Bergeron’s boarding penalty on Niskanen pic.twitter.com/ufqFw6gZvs— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 8, 2016
6. How good is this fourth line? I mean seriously. I haven’t seen a fourth line this good since Romeo & Juliet. Daniel Winnik, Jay Beagle, and Tom Wilson have been stone-cold studs together, and no, that isn’t just the plot of your fan fiction. Tonight, a smart, heads-up chip along the boards by Wilson, combined with a gorgeous cross-ice assist by Beagle, led to a surgical finish by Winnik, and the Capitals took a 3-0 lead.
7. And, then the wheels fell off. In a stretch that saw the Bruins own/dominate/regulate a serfdom related to a 17-0 shots on goal stretch, Boston came all the way back. It began with a loose puck tap-in by Dominic Moore. Then, Evgeny Kuznetsov blew a tire at center ice and gave up a breakaway to David Pastrnak who made it 3-2. Finally, after a late-ish hit by Tom Wilson and the ensuing scuffle that led to a Boston power play, Colin Miller blasted home the game-tying goal in the dying minutes that would send this one to overtime.
8. And wouldn’t you know it - the quiet guy who is always assessing, calculating, observing - Nicklas Backstrom buried the second half of a give-and-go from Nate Schmidt (a purpose-built OT weapon) to end this one before the shootout and give the Capitals a desperately claimed 2 points.
9. So...you like to see the Capitals jump out to a 3-0 lead, especially with a struggling Justin Williams and a much-deserving Daniel Winnik notching the markers. You hate to see Washington give up a 3-0 lead, and have to save the whole torched-and-tumbling covered wagon in overtime.
10. Get well soon, Matt Niskanen. God bless your 31 saves, Braden Holtby.
So, the Capitals escape by the skin of their chinny-chin-chins. Two points is two points, but these were less than ideal. Like, they’re fine, but...let’s explore other avenues. Next up is the Sabres on Friday.