What do you do when a division rival knocks on your door? If you’re the Washington Capitals, you choke the life out of each other slowly with your Vezina-calibre goalies. Who would blink first?
Here's Thursday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Dmitry Orlov showed off his nearly salacious slap shot, and I’m pretty sure the aftershocks are still reverberating from Frederick to Fredericksburg.
Minus: I’ve never seen so much shooting to so little prevail! It was like a Stormtrooper convention out there!
And now, this...
1. Tonight was Russian Heritage Night at Verizon Center. Alex Ovechkin wore special commemorative skates, painted with the US Capitol and the Kremlin, respectively. Neat.
2. Also creating a fun dichotomy tonight was the juxtaposition of messrs Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky, two of arguably the top 5 goalies in the NHL. Both boys came to play like varsity tryouts, with nearly 60 shots on net being traded in the first two periods alone.
3. This game saw a head-on collision of two Metro opponents like the events leading up to SafeTrack. With the Blue Jackets just two points behind the Capitals and one point behind the Penguins coming into this one, the stakes here were filet mignon.
4. Lots and lots of shooting reared its vulcanized head, but no satisfying consummation blossomed for forty frustrating minutes. Cruel temptress of rubber penetration, grant me release!
5. Finally, Good American Mensch Seth Jones broke through first, putting Columbus on the board 50 seconds into the third period. Holtby, distracted and displaced from a series of saves that pulled him out of the crease, couldn’t dive back across the gaping maw of the goal in time, and Jones made the Capitals pay for their sloppy defense with a booming slap shot goal. It was 1-0 Blue Jackets in the final frame.
6. But on Russian Heritage Night, Dmitry Orlov gritted his teeth, spit out a lip of chew, and growled, Nyet. Five minutes later, quarterbacking the offense from the point, fired a Large Hadron Collider of a slap shot that did not pass Go, did not collect $200, and directly found the cottony nylon back of the net. It was tied 1-1.
7. Sixty minutes is such sweet sorrow, and neither team wanted to part. The fans at Verizon got treated to some juicy free hockey in the shape of ovvverrrrtimeeeeeee!
8. THIS ONE WENT TO A SHOOTOUT! Braden Holtby, predictably, was perfect, and TJ Oshie the Wonderstud pierced Bob the Goalie for the lone, game-winning score. CAPS WIN 2-1!
9. Let’s clap it up for the goalies in this one, folks. Braden Holtby recorded 29, and Sergei Bobrovsky wrote down 44. Incredible work.
10. The Capitals manage to extend their division lead over the paupers and challengers around them, now up 3 points over Columbus and, temporarily, 2 points over Pittsburgh.
Metro boomin’! Next up is the Arizona Coyotes at home on Saturday! See ya there!