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The Washington Capitals punched their ticket to the big dance on Tuesday night, beating the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime and recording their 105th point of the season. Goals by a couple of usual suspects were enough to guarantee one more trip the playoffs for the home team. Go get 'em, boys.
Here's Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Jay Beagle got moved to the top line, and he looked darn good! Justin Williams got moved to the third line, and they looked darn good! Woo-hoo, good coaching! #TrotzForPrez
- Minus: Coaches challenges continue to baffle and bemuse, and generally give me a constipated sort of feeling.
And now, this...
PICTURED: Braden Holtby https://t.co/XgahhQB3PE— Jason Rogers (@HeyJayJRogers) March 16, 2016
Ten more notes on the game:
- Justin Williams, the cure for whatever ails your third line, got the scoring going after the scoreless first period. Jason Chimera ripped a pass right across the crease to Williams, because if you cut off one of Chimera's passing lanes, two more appear. Williams poked it into the net with surgical precision. Forget Sentara and Inova; J-Will is your medicine, sugar.
- Jordan "Any More Brothers We Should Know About?" Staal tied the game for the Hurricanes at 1-1 halfway through the second period. The video evidence will show that Dmitry "Dima Bean" Orlov whiffed pretty majestically on the crucial clearance attempt. Whether the ice is bad thanks to daggone Lexus promotions between periods or the Ghost of Arena Football Yet to Come is unknown, but the tape is pretty ugly on this one.
- Despite some exciting back and forth and some great saves by Braden Holtby (more on that later), that would be it for the scoring in regulation. This game would go to overtime, and when it did, THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS OFFICIALLY MADE THE PLAYOFFS!!!!
- 3-v-3 overtime exists solely for moments like tonight's, when Evgeny Kuznetsov dug in and set up shop behind Carolina's net before moving it to Ovechkin. Ovi one-timed it home, and that was all she wrote in D.C.
- Except it wasn't, because the goal was challenged for offsides after multiple outlets had already published their recaps and fans were headed for the exits. It, uh...sure LOOKED like offsides, but the hockey gods smile on us all every now and then, and the game-winner stood.
- #TopLineBeagle was in full effect tonight! Jay Beagle found himself winging a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, and...it actually kinda worked! Beagle's primary role was - forgive me - to fetch the puck in order to continually feed Backstrom and Ovechkin. Beagle really hounds opponents in the offensive zone, and I'm definitely open to at least seeing some more of this combination. I wonder if when Beagle got the news, he was just like:
- The Capitals penalty kill continued to be just, just excellent. They went 2-2, killing off no-no's from Nick Backstrom and perennial offender Tom Wilson.
- Braden Holtby made quite a few nice saves tonight en route to posting a 25-for-26 (.962) night. Holtby got around in the net like a skanky trapeze artist, and gobbled up holes like an Entenmann's devotee. Another win for the Holtbeast.
- The Capitals become the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot, their 8th time in the last 9 years. #Blessed
- The Floating Toyota got caught in the netting at Verizon, and for a moment, no one breathed. Is this a vision of Trump's America?
I was suddenly left with nothing in my hands but a handful of crazy stars.— Daily Jack Kerouac (@DailyKerouac) March 15, 2016
Where do we go from here? Well, there's still hockey to be played, folks! Next up is the Nashville Predators at home on Friday, but this Caps team is officially going to the playoffs!