It took nearly 55 minutes for the Capitals to distance themselves from the Arizona Coyotes, but boy, did they, riding two goals from “Damn” Daniel Winnik to a 4-1 victory at Verizon Center.
Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Alex Ovechkin, the World’s Greatest Guy, scored his 30th goal of the season, a vintage throwback snipe from the office that made the ladies say ohhhh and the dudes say heyyyy.
Minus: You hate to see dogs get abused. Sorry, Arizona.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
1. With the Capitals holding just a one point lead over Pittsburgh in both the Metropolitan Division and, therefore, the NHL standings (bow down, ye Atlantic peasants), would the Caps get the two points they needed to avoid the pitfalls of the playoff seeding system against lowly Arizona?
2. The scoring got started on an early power play opportunity for those loveable underdogs, the Capitals. TJ Oshie and Marcus Johansson played pattycake between a defenders legs before MoJo slung it to Nick Backstrom behind the net. And since we all know that All Nick Backstrom Does It Create Goals (Tm), he found Alex Ovechkin in the office, who ripped a dagger past Mike Smith's glove to make it 1-0 Caps.
3. After twenty minutes of vulcanized bedlam, the Capitals lead Arizona in shots 12-3. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s an old-fashioned medieval quadrupling.
4. The second period was more of the same, minus the singular isolated piercing of the first. Despite one power play chance for Washington and two for Arizona, nobody broke through, and the two teams sat at 26-14 respectively after forty.
5. The score held until 7 minutes left in the period, when a broken play quickly headed the other direction and the Capitals defense scrambled to get back. They couldn’t in time, and Peter Holland knotted the score 1-1.
6. With just five minutes left, Dmitry Orlov sprung Daniel Winnik with a gorgeous one-handed push of the puck up the boards. Winnik caught it and beat his defender as well as Mike Smith to give the Caps a crucial 2-1 lead.
7. And then, just mere seconds later (literally thirty), Justin Williams blasted a telegram that rang Smith’s water bottle like the operator of an old-timey phone system and out to give Washington a 3-1 cushion.
8. With the net empty, Daniel Winnik decided he wasn’t done out-hustling chumps, and won a footrace to a loose puck and smacked it home one-handed, securing a 4-1 final victory for the Capitals.
9. Braden Holtby, in a tale as old as time, was once again phenomenal. The Holtbeast saved 28 of 29 shots for a .966 save percentage. Get that Vezina, Holts.
10. The Capitals have won their last 4 games, and 19 of their last 21 at home. Who else want some?
The Capitals extend their division lead to 3 points over the pesky Pittsburgh Penguins. Next up is the Wild in Minnesota on Tuesday.