All good things must come to an end, and so it was of the Capitals’ home winning streak tonight, seeing their golden daisy chain of dominance snapped at 15 games.
Here's Monday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Caps’ top line, lethargic of late like a late afternoon Labrador, tossed in all the scoring tonight, courtesy of Nick Backstrom and TJ Oshie.
Minus: Golden Calf Braden Holtby was pulled just six minutes into the second period after dropping three owl pellets on the blue ice early. Grubauer was perfect in relief, but this fire-or-ice tendency of Holtby’s is......peculiar.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
1. Tonight, in addition to being the first Monday of the month (holla!) and the sixth day of March (way to go, March!), was also “Damn” Daniel Winnik’s 35th birthday. Even more impressive than living to the ripe old age of 35, an accomplishment that would make you a verifiable shaman in ancient times, tonight was Dan’s 700th NHL game. For a guy who’s played for six different NHL teams, and who is not necessarily Alex Ovechkin, that’s a heck of an accomplishment. Winnik went out there as a tough-as-nails grinder and grabbed a career by the throat. Congrats, Dan.
2. As for the game itself, the excitement didn’t truly get rolling until...well, eighty seconds into the game, when Devin Shore (who looks like a distant cousin of Michal Neuvirth) smashed home an uncontested put-back in the crease. The only thing was, Braden Holtby was impeded in the crease by a Stars player on his belly. But the only other thing was, I guess that didn’t matter for some reason. After a video review, the goal was upheld, and the score was 1-0 Stars.
3. The first period ended and the second period began, as periods are wont to do. Four minutes into the new frame, Dallas’ Radek Faksa, Man Whose Name Tom Riddle Rearranges to Spell “I Am Lord Voldemort,” made Nick Backstrom pay for a rare misjudged clearing pass. Indeed, even the most beautiful and blond among us are flawed, and Backy got flipped and dipped the other direction for a 2-0 Dallas lead.
4. Ninety seconds later, Jason Spezza caught a pass at the top of the right circle and ripped home a heat-seeker low and to the far side that left Holtby baffled. The Stars took a 3-0 lead.
5. Dallas took a 3-0 lead, and Braden Holtby, should-be-Vezina-frontrunner, took a seat on the bench for the night. Coach Barry Trotz gave Braden the ol’ shepherd’s crook early in the second, and Philipp Grubauer came in to relieve him like an emergency airdrop of port-a-potties.
6. With five minutes to go in the second, Nick Backstrom, ruthless Swedish gun-for-hire, brought the Capitals back within two with the steely resolve of a Scandinavian assassin. It was 3-1 Stars after two.
7. Halfway through the final frame, TJ Oshie, bona fide American hero, showed off his powerful quadriceps muscles and he fought off ne’erdowell Stars defenders to pop home a powerful backhand dart. The jumbotron showed 3-2 Dallas.
8. A lucky full-ice empty net dagger made the final score 4-2 Stars, and that was all the rotund mademoiselle scribbled on Monday night.
9. Washington’s home win streak is finally snapped at 15 games, but lots of otherwise successful things have snapped, like Howard Hughes.
10. The Capitals once again gave up a disturbing butt-ton of shots, tonight offering up 44 delicious sausage patties for the feasting. That’s odd and unsustainable, and needs to be nipped in the bud. (Correction: WAS had 44 SOG. DAL had 22. Sorry! - Jason)
The Caps drop two points and have their home winning streak snapped, but at least it’s to a Western Conference foe, and at least nobody got hurt. Right? Right. Next up is the Sharks in San Jose on Thursday.