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The Great 8 continues to drive Mike Milbury to drink as he recorded his 14th career hat-trick, the only Caps player to beat a goalie, en route to a 4-3 Washington victory. Minnesota came roaring back, but so do steam engines and they're obsolete, too. The best team in the NHL rolls on.
Here's Thursday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: #OBESTKIN. Alex Ovechkin recorded a hat-trick in a single period, making the second period count like a well-written couplet.
- Minus: Evgeny Kuznetsov took a nasty (and shockingly unpenalized) elbow and stick to the face in the third, and did not return to the game.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
- Despite five combined penalties in the first period, neither team could break through. It's cold in Minnesota, and ice is tough.
- Enter: the best hockey player in the world. This game is a story about Alex Ovechkin. The great ones know where to be, and with a Gretzky-esque tap in from just outside the crease, the big Russian sure does.
- Mere minutes later, Ovechkin dragged and roof-ripped a beauty from in close, putting the Caps up 2-0 and instilling the Minnesota audience with the sort of begrudingly silent awe usually reserved for discovering your worst enemy has a smoking hot spouse.
- Minnesota Wild boychik Charlie Coyle beat Holtby to make it 2-1 Wild, but though the wild can be dangerous, technology can always defeat it.
- ESPECIALLY SUPER SECRET RUSSIAN TECHNOLOGY. Alex Ovechkin ripped home a beauty from the low circle to record a hat-trick ALL IN ONE PERIOD, and the 14th of his career. He has the second-most in Capitals franchise history behind Peter Bondra (19). There's a reason they call him #Obestkin.
- That rascal scamp Ryan Suter got another one for the Wild, and it was, weirdly, a one-goal game again.
- There were ten penalties called in this game, and there could have well been over a dozen. There were also a veritable barrel full of shots, sixty-nine in total, which you can giggle at if you're a child or me.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov caught a high elbow and the butt of Mikael Granlund's stick directly off a center ice face-off, and the best 23-and-under Russian in the NHL crumpled to the ice in visible, nauseating pain. No penalties were called, despite obvious evidence to the crime. A scuffle ensued involving Justin Williams and few familiar faces, and referees like this are why the NHL keeps hearing about Tom Wilson.
- Jason Chimera chased down a two-liner from Tom Wilson to record the empty net goal, and mark down his 15th on the season. At 36 years old, the Ice Cheetah is well on his way to a 20-goal season.
- Oh, and the Wild got one more with 3.6 seconds left, because everybody loves a cool story.
Another sweet two points brought back from the West like a pair of See's lollipops. The Caps will have some things they'll want to examine in this game, but it's hard to argue with the big W where it counts.