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Caps vs. Rangers Recap: Wilson and Backstrom Have Deja Vu, Lift Washington 4-2

The Washington Capitals defeated their division rivals the New York Rangers 4-2 at home on Friday night.

NHL: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In front of a crowd of thousands of Rangers fans, the Washington Capitals squashed a New York comeback to stake a 4-2 victory and take command of the Metropolitan Division.

Here’s Friday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Tom Wilson continues to be a magic bullet for the Capitals, recording his second consecutive multi-point game and game with a goal.

Minus: Same old, same old. Orpik looking leadfooted, Chiasson looking lost. What’re ya gonna do?

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

1. Tonight marked the return to Capital One Arena of one-time Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. You may remember Shattenkirk from his inability to single-handedly deliver this franchise to salvation, and the subsequent dissatisfaction that caused. Capitals fans sure remembered, as Shattenkirk was relentlessly hooted and whooped every time he touched the puck.

2. The more significant return for Capitals fans tonight was that of winger Andre Burakovsky, playing in his first contest in 20 games after being out with a hand injury. With T.J. Oshie out for an unknown period of time, Washington’s top-six could certainly use a booster shot of 65 cc’s of handsome Swedish heartthrob.

3. I’ve mentioned Capitals fans twice now, but there may have only been two in attendance. Okay, I’m massively exaggerating, but I’d estimate the crowd at Capital One Arena was at least 40% Rangers fans, and they were loud. Also, they were weirdly elitist about their bagels and pizza. But I digress...

4. Of course, what better elixir is there for obnoxious visiting fans than a first-minute goal punch to the gut? And that’s just what Jay Beagle delivered, putting home a Devante Smith-Pelly setup 14 seconds into the game to give the Caps a 1-0 lead faster than you can say “Zuuuuuucc!”

5. By the way, know who was on the ice for that goal against? Kevin Shattenkirk, that’s who.

6. That score held until the midway point of the second period, when Nicklas Backstrom decided to join the naughty list. Slick Nick With the Quick Stick robbed New York’s Mats Zuccarello, turned around like the Grinch, and ripped a bullet past Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-0 Caps. After a 21-game scoreless drought, Backy Boy now has goals in back-to-backstrom contests.

7. But the Rangers would come roaring back, leading the Caps in shots 13-8 in the second period. They’d finally cash in with one minute left in the frame. Michael “I Hardly Know Her” Grabner beat Holtby in the dying moments to bring New York within one at the intermission, 2-1.

8. Ten minutes later, halfway through the final period, Jesper Fast brought them all the way back, tying the game at 2-2 after finding space in front of a sleeping Brooks Orpik. Orpik getting victimized by a player named “Fast” is about the best metaphor I can think of.

9. But this was not to be the same old script, NOT TONIGHT. Tom Wilson of the Family Top Line had himself a monster shift, creating space for defenseman Matt Niskanen to stuff home a goal on the crease and give the Capitals a 3-2 lead with five minutes remaining!

10. AND THEN, since Wilson wasn’t done shocking the world, he roared down the wing and past Ryan McDonagh to twist the dagger into New York’s back and put this one into the books, 4-2 Capitals.

You’re looking at (for now) the new leaders of the Metropolitan Division, folks! LET’S RIDE!

Game highlights: