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With a chance to enshrine themselves as the best regular season team in franchise history the Capitals took the ice at Pepsi Center in Denver, CO and earned that record with a thorough 4 to 2 road victory. Behind Braden Holtby's 19 saves Washington flexed its muscle and was the better team all night.
First up here's Friday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: The Capitals's opening period was good but their second period was great. Between the physical battles, puck movement, and finishing touches the middle twenty minutes was Washington at their best.
- Minus: A last minute goal in the second period game the Avalanche a fighting chance through the game's final twenty minutes.
Ten more notes on the game.
- Five different Capitals had multiple shots in the opening twenty minutes and Washington outshot their hosts 15 to 7 in the first frame, setting a great tone on enemy ice.
- Early in the second period Tom Wilson bore down on his train tracks and punished Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov, sending the three year pro to the ice motionless. With medical staff assistance Zadorov skated off the ice but his night ended after eight minutes of work.
- Jay Beagle got the Capitals on the board eight minutes later by besting Semyon Varlamov with a backhand wraparound that squeaked in between pad and post. Beagle ripped off Chris Bigras behind the net, allowing him to catch the goaltender napping and late the react.
- Before another five minutes elapsed Alex Ovechkin extended the visitor's lead to two by tapping home a cross crease pass from Marcus Johansson on the power play. The captain put the puck up and over Varlamov for the 45th goal of his season.
- And again, this 79 seconds after Ovechkin's tally, Jason Chimera deflected home a Mike Richards shot from the slot for a three goal lead that put this game out of reach.
- But before the exciting second period could come to a close Jarome Iginla tallied a power play goal (his twentieth of the season) to cut Washington's lead to two. Passes from Gabriel Landeskog and Carl Soderberg got the puck to a wide open Iginla for a slam dunk.
- Late in the third period Landeskog picked up a loose puck in the slot and slammed it past Holtby to bring the Avalanche within one with 6:40 to play. A heavy forecheck from Landeskog, Soderberg, and Blake Comeau was too much for Washington's defense to handle and the trio pounced.
- T.J. Oshie denied Colorado and the Pepsi Center crowd any chance at a comeback by scoring an empty net goal with ten seconds left to play, his (career best) 25th of the season.
- Nicklas Backstrom missed his fourth game of the season after taking a high, hard hit from Flyers' captain Claude Giroux Wednesday night. Barry Trotz stated Backstrom is day to day and will be reevaluated tomorrow (and we cross our fingers).
- With the win Washington sets another new franchise record with their 55th regulation win, besting the 2009-2010 Presidents' Trophy winning team by one with five games still on the schedule.