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The prodigal son returned home on Wednesday as Brooks Laich made his melancholy Verizon Center homecoming with the Toronto Maple Leafs. A lovely in-arena tribute and a 3-2 Capitals victory were the prescribed welcome wagon.
Here's Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Matt Niskanen is apparently a concealed deadly weapon. Niskanen scored his second game-winner in as many games, and all you know is null and void.
- Minus: Brooks in blue. Enough said.
And now, this...
Linda Carter in a Backstrom jersey pic.twitter.com/qB2ZAQqmgJ— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) March 3, 2016
Ten more notes on the game:
- The game began with an emotional video tribute to Brooks Laich. What does it look like when 20,000 people and both full benches stand and applaud a player? I wouldn't know; I couldn't see through my tears.
- With two and a half minutes left in the first frame, my close personal friend (lol kinda, not really) Taylor Chorney ripped a wicked wrister past Jonathan Bernier for just his second career goal, and his first as a Washington Capital. The order went out to sound the Chorn Horn, and Rohan came to Gondor's aid.
- A delicious, fleeting 28 seconds later, the best hockey player on the face of the planet, Alex Ovechkin, one-timed home a galactic blaster from the prettiest backhand saucer pass from Nicklas Backstrom you'll ever see. Ovechkin marked down his 41st goal of the season, and took sole control of 36th place all-time (516).
- The Maple Leafs cut the deficit to one just 97 seconds into the second frame as Nikita Soshnikov pinged one off the crossbar and in past Philipp Grubauer.
- Besides that, the second period passed without much drama, like a bad high-school play. The natives began to grow restless.
- Colin Greening of Toronto brought the Maple Leafs all the way back eight minutes into the final period, tying the game 2-2 and causing Caps fans to sweat, perspire, and expectorate.
- Despite a special teams bonanza all night, a team would break through only once across eight total chances. The Caps' penalty kill continued to be stellar like Sirius, going 4-for-4. The powerplay managed to get one to go 1-4.
- And speaking of, Frisky Nisky ripped the bisky! Matt Niskanen, perhaps the best pure goal-scorer of all-time, fired home a nearly identical point popper to his game-winner versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has four on the year, and the league's most elite scorers are looking over their shoulders.
- The home team managed to hold on to secure the 3-2 win and the two points. Philipp Grubauer continues to unnervingly outplay Braden Holtby, saving 27-of-29 for a .931 save percentage.
- Hey, Wonder Woman herself Linda Carter was at the game! That's pretty cool!
— Japers' Rink (@JapersRink) March 3, 2016
Sorry, Charlie - er, Brooksie - but this playoff train keeps right on chugging, regardless of sentiment or silly things like emotion and/or love. Next up is the New York Rangers at home on Friday. And remember:
Brooks Laich is:— Jason Rogers (@HeyJayJRogers) February 29, 2016
2. In Love
3. A Toronto Maple Leaf
Two out of three ain't bad.