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The Capitals pushed back against the elite of the Western Conference, dropping the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Tuesday night in Washington. Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov got on the board for the Caps, and an empty-netter from Jason Chimera (his 16th goal on the season) was all she wrote.
Here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Brooks Orpik returned to the line-up after forty days and forty nights in the training room! He looked good! And Andre Burakovsky recorded his twelfth goal of the season, but more on that below.
- Minus: Tom Wilson got into a fight he absolutely did not ask for, but it won't help his reputation with the league, unfortunately.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
- Anze Kopitar got the scoring going late in the first period. The Kings forward figured that since the Capitals weren't using their power plays, maybe he might as well. The ten-million-dollar man made it 1-0 Los Angeles on a shorthanded goal.
- Speaking of power plays, the Caps had three extra-man opportunities in the first period alone. What did they walk away with to show for it? One shorthanded goal against. This is what the scientists call, Not Optimal.
- And sure, so long as we're speaking ill of the dead, let's talk some raw, ugly power play stats. Over their last nine games, the Caps are 3-for-33 for a 9.1% rate. The only thing polling lower than that is Jeb Bush.
- The second period went nearly nineteen full minutes without much action. Noted Capitals ruffian and ne'erdowell Tom Wilson took exception to a statement made by LA's Luke Schenn vis-a-vis the marital fidelity of Wilson's mother, and the fight was on. Both men were asked to leave the establishment for five minutes to gather their thoughts, and Wilson's reputation only grows.
- Which, by the way, led me to ask this question. What do you think?
- With just a minute left in the second frame, Swedey Pie Andre Burakovsky made a smart paddle redirection from Dmitry Orlov's slap pass that put the puck in the back of the net. It's hard to beat Jonathan Quick with a conventional shot; sometimes, you have to improvise.
- By the way, with Burakovsky's goal (his 12th on the year) keeping pace with his new-found production on the 2nd line, eight of the Capitals top nine forwards are now on pace for 20+ goals on the year. Swish that around in your mouth and write a sonnet about it.
- Your favorite baby Russian and mine, Evgeny Kuznetsov, gave the Caps the fatal lead with two minutes left in the game, receiving a patient Justin Williams assist from beneath the net and lifting it from the sharp angle past a sprawling Quick. Game, Set, Caps.
- Oh, hey! Brooks Orpik made his first appearance in 40 games tonight, and looked...well, fine! Not too bad, actually. What he may or may not have lacked in footspeed due to some rust he made up for in using that big frame of his prudently, smothering forwards in the corners.
- Philipp Grubauer performed completely admirably against a team that's won two Stanley Cups in the last five years, recording 39 saves and a .975 save percentage. There's a lot to be said for having a starter-quality back up when the spectre of injury comes dragging its bony fingers along your door. There's plenty to be said for stacking the trade value of a theoretically expendible piece, too.
Who you got in a fight: Tom Wilson or Donald Brashear?— Jason Rogers (@HeyJayJRogers) February 17, 2016
Two points taken from a Western Conference contender will do the Caps some good (as well as their fan base, n'est-ce pas?) Next up is the New York Islanders on Thursday in Brooklyn.