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On account of the travel that precedes it, the west coast swing is never an easy stretch. Throw in the fact that the Caps have had the East salted away for a good long while, that all three west coast teams are in playoff position, and that two of those are the NHL’s possession worldbeaters, and you’ve got yourself one doozy of a left coast junket. After showing the Anaheim Ducks what the termination of an eleven-game win streak looks like, the Caps took the ice and, despite playing most of the game in uninspired fashion, were able to force an overtime before suffering the loss that they probably deserved.
Check back for our full recap later, but first, here's Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: That comeback though…
- Minus: Hey, the surge is phenomenal, and only good teams can do that, and only great teams can do that with the regularity that the Caps do. But the regularity they’ve needed to tap into that reserve with, and the extent to which they needed to do so tonight is unequivocally a minus.
And now, this...
Welcome back, Justin https://t.co/lqoXGp8WN3
— LA Kings (@LAKings)
Ten more notes on the game:
- You’re sick of hearing about it, but probably not as much as Barry Trotz and his horde are sick of hearing about it. Well too bad for them, because Vincent Lecavalier was the scoresheet beneficiary of a pinball wizard powerplay goal some five minutes into the contest, as the Caps allowed the first goal in the game for the 12th time in their last 14 outings.
- They weren’t done there, as Jake Muzzin fired one over Holtby’s catching glove before the period ended – the latest in a hot new series featuring goals against while Brooks Orpik and Dmitry Orlov take their shift manning the blueline. Tune in while you can; the cancelation likely arrives with John Carlson’s health.
- They weren’t done there, as Milan Lucic converted a 3 on 1 from a pinpoint Jeff Carter pass, and just like that it was 3-0 in Los Angeles’s favor before the previous goal could even be announced. This sequence did very little to buck the trend of slow starts.
- You gotta love Trotz putting Justin Williams out with the fourth line, so that he and Mike Richards could cut the ribbon on their Los Angeles homecoming together. Stick picked up an assist on Dmitry Orlov’s game-tying tally to let the home crowd know he’s still got the stuff.
- Mike Richards left the Kings’ organization with a little less rouge on his cheek. Richards got himself a nice little obligatory fifteen seconds of acknowledgement from the team’s entertainment unit, but that was pretty much the extent of the list of notables from Mike Richards on this night.
- After a stellar outing against the Ducks, you might’ve hoped Braden Holtby had found his September through December form once more. And while this ugly game certainly wasn’t his fault (seriously, what was that first goal against), you’d probably like to at least see him glove down that Muzzin drive that ended up in the back of the net. But at the end of the day, it could have been much worse, and it was Holtby playing pretty dang well that allowed the Caps to secure one standings point.
- As Craig Laughlin (and way to go Locker for scoring your first goal as King against the Pittsburgh Penguins) pointed out at the top of the CSN broadcast, the Kings are the League’s most dominant possession team. The Caps, not particularly great in this manner of measurement, actually acquitted themselves well in this category this evening, notching 49 shot attempts to the Kings’ 40 - albeit much of that can likely be attributed to score effects.
- The Los Angeles Kings organist dropped some Harry Potter Title Theme on the Staples Center crowd, and that deserves acknowledgement in ten out of ten recaps. John Williams scores for life.
- The Caps spoiled Jonathan Quick’s shutout bid on the powerplay just a few minutes into the third period after T.J. Oshie collected a loose puck from a netfront scrum and deposited into a mostly empty net for his twentieth goal on the season. ‘Attaboy Teej. That’s 29th game out of the last 32 in which the Caps have scored a third period goal. Not bad.
- Hey, how about that first Nicklas Backstrom goal in a month? And as if that wasn’t rare enough, let the Alex Ovechkin even strength primary assist be the cherry on top.
- Dmitry Orlov tied the game. There were three minutes left in the game. It was his first road-goal on the season, and he chose a hell of time for it, and boy was it a beauty. He also all but guaranteed that the Caps would play in yet another consecutive one-goal game.
- Overtime: loss, but that’s okay.
All in all, it wasn’t the Caps best effort on the campaign. In fact, it’s probably in the conversation for the worst, through the game’s first 50 minutes. But the work they did upfront this season minimizes the implications on the backend, which is all gravy so long as the kinks are ironed out by the second season. Onwards to San Jose, where the Caps will hook up with old friend Joel Ward.