The Capitals knocked off another Eastern Conference foe in the Boston Bruins on Rivalry Night, which I guess is what you call it when two teams are contractually obligated to battle for your petty amusement. DANCE, PUPPETS, DANCE!
Here's Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Evgeny Kuznetsov, the NHL’s first star for January, continued the excellent offensive play, recording a deadly sniper’s goal and a nifty assist for two more points. He now has 22 in 16 games.
Minus: I threw some Froot Loops at Brad Marchand but he didn’t react.
And now, this..
Marchand, Marchand, Marchand! pic.twitter.com/mDfNIZzP85— Puck Buddys (@PuckBuddys) February 2, 2017
Ten more notes on the game:
1. The scoring got off to a whiz-bang start like the lavatory of a rocket ship! Nicklas Backstrom, the ProtoSwede, sprung TJ Oshie on a gorgeous two-line fountain pass, and Oshie was off to the races. If you remember Sochi, breakaways are kind of what TJ does, and with a coy little look over his shoulder, beat Tuukka Rask to make it 1-0 Caps early.
Great pass by Backstrom, not the best look for the Bruins defense pic.twitter.com/A3EwO2LXM8— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 2, 2017
2. Ten minutes later, Backstrom himself struck, giving a juicy Matt Niskanen rebound the ol’ Stockholm El Kabong from the low slot and the Capitals a 2-0 lead.
3. With three minutes left in the first frame, Brett Connolly absolutely annihilated Riley Nash in the open ice, sending the Bruins forward pinwheeling to the frozen slab. Connolly went to the box, and Bruins went to the power play. Patrice Bergeron found Experimental Goverment Human-Toucan Cross-Breeding Program alumnus Brad Marchand alone in the high slot. Marchand had a SLEW of room, and a SLEW of time, and found the back of the net to make it 2-1.
4. Early in the second period, David Krejci may or may not have taken a dive, which is to say the Red October or Enron stock may or may not have taken a dive. Kuznetsov got sent to the sin bin, and gosh darnit son-of-a-gun Marchand scored again. This time, on a tip in from the doorstep. The game was tied 2-2.
5. With just minutes remaining in the period and hope for a locker room lead dwindling, Our Glorious Leader Alexander Ovechkin fired off a laser that the Empire has and the Rebellion must steal plans for. Ovi beat Rask high on the power play to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead heading into the final intermission.
6. All three of the first power plays (two for the Bruins, one for the Capitals) connected for goals, and the Caps’ once-hot penalty kill has now given up goals in eight straight games. That’s a tough way to win games, and a bad look like not knocking before entering your parents’ bedroom.
7. The third period got off to a scary start like 2017. Matt Niskanen leaned into a booming slapper, and sent it directly into the inside of Patrice Bergeron’s knee. Bergeron crumpled to the ice like you shoveling snow, and play was whistled dead. Teammates helped Bergeron off the ice, and even then he took a long time to get to the locker room. He returned much later in the period, but that was a nasty one for a heck of a good player.
8. In the meantime, one Caps player had his mind set on inflicting pain of another kind - the metaphysical angsty kind! Brett Connolly stuck it to his former team, catching a nice lead and diving towards the net, hitting the forehand-backhand motion and burying a beauty of a goal to give Washington a 4-2 lead.
9. And with five minutes remaining in the contest, a doozy from Kuzy made it five to twozy, as the Boy Wizard ripped home a fatal snipe to extend the lead to three. With 90 seconds left in the game, Boston got one back by way a scrambling David Krejci, but that was all she wrote, and the Caps took this one 5-3.
10. It’s become so commonplace that it almost goes without mentioning, but it absolutely shouldn’t: Braden Holtby was stellar again, and until the Caps went into the turtle for the majority of the final period and essentially left him to fend for himself, kept his GA to two or below again. Hey, three ain’t bad in this situation, either.
The Capitals roll on as the verifiable beasts of the East. Please, don’t feed the animals and don’t stick your hands inside the cages, lest you pull back a Bauer-stamped nub. Next up is the Canadiens on Saturday in Montreal.