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A late game-winning goal by Alex Ovechkin and some courageous penalty killing in the final seconds sealed the win for the Capitals 3-2 over the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Isles outshot the Caps 26-23, but the final score was a favorable one for the home team.
Here's Thursday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Andre Burakovsky. The kid who, in just one short season, has gone from Potential Savior to Doghouse Divo to Resurgent Youngster, got his fifth goal in four games tonight.
- Minus: For a while it looked like it was going to be the power play, but more on that below.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
- Ex-Capital and current Steve The Pirate-lookalike Mikhail Grabovski got the scoring started early in the first, sliding the puck past a sprawling Braden Holtby. I passed Grabovski in the tunnels before the game, and I told him "Good luck out there," so I take full responsibility for this one.
- The home team tied it up with some top-line magic from Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Backstrom's Scandanavian sensibilities and patience found a trailing and wide-open Oshie for the one-timer deep in the slot. Beauty, eh?
- Tom Wilson had perhaps his most disciplined game of the year, and that has nothing to do with his backchecking. The Islanders were basically begging Wilson to drop the gloves, goading him on in a misplaced scheme of revenge for Wilson's turning of Lubomir Visnovsky into firebombed Dresden last playoffs.
- Michael Latta, the Caps' leader in PIMs not named "Tom Wilson," got a beautiful breakaway chance in the second period, but he was stonewalled by Jaroslav Halak. I'm not saying I'm still not over the 2009-2010 playoffs, but when I heard "Save, Halak!" I'm pretty sure I twitched and seized.
- Andre Burakovsky made it 2-1 Capitals in the second period with a heads-up, put-back goal that counts just as much as a pretty one. Bura now has five goals in his last four games, and has pretty righteously stumped his slump. Between Kuzy and Bura, Ovi and Backstrom, it's pretty fun watching the grown-up and Mini-Me versions of this team's best Russian and Swede develop together.
- Speaking of Evgeny Kuznetsov, he and Karl Alzner are in a bit of a points race. Kuzy and Alzner are just three and two points shy of their 100th career NHL points, respectively. Alzner is playing in his 476th game, however; tonight was just Kuzy's 146th. Iron Man and superstar, a tale as old as time.
- Despite how special Kuzy and Alzner are, one thing that hadn't been is the power play. The Caps were 0-14 on the advantage over their last three games. Goals, why have you forsaken us?
- The Islanders tied the game 2-2 early in the third period, and competing chants of "Let's Go Islanders" and "Let's Go Caps" sprung up in the stands.
- Those chants were quickly defeated by a deafening home-team roar spurred by none other than the best player in the world, Alex Ovechkin. An Ovi Shot from the modified Ovi Spot was just what the doctor ordered.
- The game's final seconds included a John Carlson puck-over-the-glass Delay of Game penalty, some heroic penalty killing from the likes of Matt Niskanen, Brooks Laich, and T.J. Oshie, and some stalwart backstopping by Braden Holtby.
It's always nice to take two points off the plate of a division rival. The Capitals played a tough game to snap the losing streak and get this thing back on track.