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The Washington Capitals continued to make dogmeat of the NHL, downing the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in Washington behind goals from the two Russians and one long-overdue newcomer. This train rolls on, baby.
Here's Monday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Mike Richards got his first goal as a Capital! Woo-hoo! More on that below.
- Minus: The Capitals continue to take one-and-one-half wheelbarrows full of penalties each game, recording six against Arizona. Their penalty kill continues to be stellar, conflictingly, going 6-for-6 on Monday night.
And now, this...
Guess what happens when you give Ovechkin time and room from his sweet spot.https://t.co/f6pd8UsJfp— NHL (@NHL) February 23, 2016
Ten more notes on the game:
- The game got off to a rather wooden start, with teenage heartthrob Justin Williams taking two high-sticking penalties in the first period alone. Alex Ovechkin threw in a boarding call of his own for good measure. The Capitals managed to kill off all three, but hopefully Ovechkin doesn't get a call from the league tomorrow.
- The Coyotes' Kevin Connauton managed to beat the esteemed Braden Holtby early in the second period for just his fourth goal of the season, because every desert dog-type-predator has its day.
- Young Moscow aka Evgeny Kuznetsov tied the game for the home team six minutes into the frame, ripping the cord and firing one that dribbled through Louis Domingue's pads like bad hygiene. It was Kuznetsov's 18th goal of the season, which means his goals can now vote and/or date intimately.
- Kuznetsov's goal helped add some life to the Caps' power play unit, which, once dead, is now slowing reviving like a creaky Frankenstein. Still, the Capitals have not scored two PPG in a game in over a month (1/19 vs. Columbus).
- Which isn't to say the Caps are defanged kittens while on the penalty kill. Mike Richards aka Mike Dicks came tantalizingly close to scoring his well-deserved first point as a Capital. Look at how pretty this lip-licking shorty chance was in the second:
- O Captain Our Captain Alex Ovechkin finally gave the Caps the lead just under halfway through the final period, firing home a .50 caliber wrister from the Ovi Spot and making number 39 on the year just as pretty as the first several dozen.
- Just minutes later, Mike Dicks aka Kramer aka Mike Richards finally recorded his first goal as a Washington Capital, a fantastic heads-up put-back off of a booming Tom Wilson slapper that was completely emblematic of Richards' play so far: tough, gritty, and deserving.
- The Coyotes' Connor Murphy snuck one past Braden Holtby with ten minutes left in the game to bring Arizona within one, 3-2.
- A final penalty kill would be required to close out the final minute of the game (of course), but the Caps slayed that dragon, too, to claim the two points and the fair maiden's heart.
- Braden Holtby had what could be fairly called a "bounce-back game," stopping 25 of 27 shots for a .926 save percentage.
Your hometown Washington Capitals are now 44-10-4 on the year, and may be made of teflon and/or kevlar and/or pure gold. Next up is the Montreal Canadiens at home on Wednesday.