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Caps vs. Jackets Recap: Russian Warheads Smash Columbus 4-3

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The Washington Capitals downed the Metropolitan Division leaders at home on Saturday night behind goals from Ovechkin and Kuznetsov.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals dropped the Metropolitan Division-leading Columbus Blue Jackets at home at Capital One Arena on Saturday night, riding good old fashioned, old-school nasty goals from Russian snipers Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin.

Here’s Saturday night's Plus/Minus:

Plus: Evgeny Kuznetsov kept his point avalanche a-rollin’ downhill, banking a beautiful goal in the third period and driving play like Shakespeare with a chauffeur.

Minus: Nicklas Backstrom, despite being an otherwise all-around stone cold Swedish stud, failed to score a goal again tonight, continuing his career-long drought.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

1. Have you heard the news? Australian forward Nathan Walker, placed on waivers by the Capitals, was signed by the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. With a popular coulda-woulda-shoulda prospect gone, could skaters like Alex Chiasson answer the bell and prove their worth?

2. YO, so if you were slow getting your soda pop and matching your seat to your ass, you likely missed the first goal of this game. Brett Connolly, fresh off of being named a healthy scratch on Thursday versus the Los Angeles Kings, roared back with a two-T’d vengeance. Just sixty-three seconds in, Connolly caught a gorgeous pass from behind the Jackets’ goal dead-to-rights in the slot, and slung it in like dynamite to make it 1-0 Capitals early.

3. And what’s wild is that just sixty-three seconds after that, oft-maligned winger Alex Chiasson caught a nearly identical pas-de-net pass from defenseman Matt Niskanen in the slot and smashed that sucker home on a time-timer, giving the Caps a 2-0 lead two minutes into the contest. That score would hold until the sacred intermission.

4. But Columbus’ Artemi Panarin, “The Bread Man,” struck back just three minutes into the second period, bringing the Blue Jackets back within a single score with most of the game left to play. Would the Capitals blow another early lead and turtle too early like Teenage Mutant Ninja Preschoolers?

5. And still in the second, in case you were asking yourself, “What does it feel like to get punched in the gut?” the Blue Jackets found pay dirt shorthanded, Matt Culvert catching a pass from Brandon Dubinsky to tie the game at 2-2 and ruin EVERYONE’S good time.

6. As the very final seconds of the second period ticked away like paths of your life you could have taken, Alex Ovechkin roared in like the muse of eternal youth itself, ripping a radioactive wrister with a half-life of Now into the back of the net. It was Ovechkin’s 19th goal of the year, and it made the score 3-2 Caps at the end of the second.

7. As the third period barely got clicking, Evgeny Kuznetsov made his present known like a kick from a Moscow mule. Kuzy caught the tail end of a gorgeous give-and-go from John Carlson and T.J. Oshie and tucked it tenderly home like a townhouse turducken and put Washington up 4-2.

8. Zach Werenski got one back for Columbus late in the game, but it wasn’t enough. The Capitals found themselves 4-3 darlings at the final buzzer.

9. For his part, Braden Holtby stopped 32 of 35 shots for a .914% save percentage. Way to be reliable in an ever-shifting transient world of nonsense, Holts.

10. The Capitals won 61% of face-offs tonight, which is good if you believe that having the puck leads to doing things you wish to do with the puck. (SPOILER: I do.)

The Capitals claw their way ever higher up the Metropolitan division standings like a bright red invasive kudzu vine. Next up is Joel Ward and the San Jose Sharks at home on Monday.

Game highlights: