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Capitals vs. Blackhawks Recap: Hawks Halt Caps 3-2

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The league-leading Washington Capitals fell to the West-leading Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in Chicago on Sunday afternoon.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

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On a Sunday afternoon, the NHL's two best clubs met in Chicago as the Blackhawks defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2. Goals from Capitals skaters Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov could not lift Washington over the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Here's Sunday afternoon's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Jay Beagle played in his first game since 12/30/15 vs. Buffalo! Cue up your dancing dog GIFs (mine is below)!
  • Minus: You would rather see the Capitals win these games against the West's best Cup contenders. There's absolutely no reason to panic, but it's something flirting with frustrating.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Marcus Johansson got the Caps on the board just six minutes into the game while on the power play, swatting in an all-awareness put-back to give MoJo his 15th on the season, and the Caps a much-needed first strike.
  • Patrick Kane got one back for the Blackhawks just thirty seconds later, in the same way that garbage and waste always follows progress. I do not like this man.
  • Speaking of Jonathan Toews, the Chicago captain gave the Blackhawks the lead with just under two minutes remaining in the second period. The Caps had a good, solid first period for the first time in what seems like our entire collective extended memory. The Hawks spent much of the second period undoing all of it, coming roaring back in possession and shots numbers. This Windy City blows, man.
  • While not much scoring, there was a lot of interesting action in this game, just like a betting parlor full of virgins. Firstly, Braden Holtby made this save early in the game, showing that he did NOT wake up this early for nothing:
  • Marcus Johansson also caught an absolutely-unintentional-but-absolutely-illegal elbow to the head in the third period. Mojo went down hard and a trainer checked on him. He went to the locker room (presumably to undergo concussion protocol) but returned to the ice. Keep your eye on our Swedish sweetie.
  • Halfway through the final period, one of the more controversial goals this month took place. On a play that is 999 times out of 1000 an icing call in the NHL, the Capitals players let up before the whistle, anticipating the call that was surely to come. It did not, for some reason, and Chicago quickly kicked the puck out from the corner for a crashing Dennis Rasmussen to put in the back of the net. The Captials bench and coaching staff exploded, and so did Twitter.
  • The game was not over yet, though! With 3:23 left in the game, the Capitals found themselves on the business end of a fifty-second 5-on-3 power play. It took Evgeny Kuznetsov just two seconds to stuff one in the net to make it 3-2 Chicago.
  • Despite a truly valiant last-minute push that saw about five or six Caps chances as time wound down, the good guys couldn't get it done, and fell to the Blackhawks by a final score of 3-2.
  • There was some good out of this game, though! Jay Beagle came back, y'all! He looked...fine!
  • The Capitals outshot the Hawks 30-23, and though they lost, this game was maybe, kinda, sorta, fun as shit to watch. Sign me up for seven games of this playoff match-up.

The Capitals are still leading the NHL and are still all but a lock to win the Presidents' Trophy. We'll see what (if anything) they do at the trade deadline tomorrow.

Game highlights: