Well, Capitals fans! HOW THE HELL HAVE YA BEEN?
Welcome back to NHL hockey. The defending champions have been expecting you.
Let’s get into it.
Here’s Wednesday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: A Stanley Cup banner and one win closer to a repeat, baby.
Minus: Brad Marchand continues to be an agitator, a nogoodnik, and a gnat.
And now, this...
Oh yes, stick these BACK-TO-BACK chants in my veins.— Jason Rogers (@HeyJayJRogers) October 4, 2018
Ten more notes on the game:
1. After 44 long years, the Capitals finally raised a Stanley Cup banner to the rafters of Capital One Arena. John Walton gave a rousing sermon-cum-graduation speech, and those in attendance were treated to an experience that will surely last them through a lifetime of future sports suffering.
2. And with a banner raising comes the inevitable other side of the coin: the title defense. It’s a new season, and nobody remembers your last trick. How would the Capitals come out of the gate, and what kind of message would they send to the rest of the NHL on national TV?
3. Of course, the campaign would have to begin without defenseman Michal Kempny (concussion) and top-line winger Tom Wilson (20-game suspension, yikes). With 23-year-old defenseman Madison Bowey in for Kempny, and diminutive Aussie Nate Walker in for Wilson (with Brett Connolly up on the top line), some new faces would have to step up to kick the title defense off right.
4. AND KICK IT OFF RIGHT THEY WOULD. While fans were still filing in and sipping the sweet, sweet froth from atop their beers, T.J. Oshie got the Capitals on the board in the first handful of seconds, rocking in the free world and making it 1-0 Washington.
5. But delightful Russian wunderkind Evgeny Kuznetsov said, “Anything you can do, I can do....equivalently.” After collecting a rebound and flicking it over Tuukka Rask, The Boy Who Scored made it 2-0 Capitals after just one minute and forty-seven seconds. The lead would hold ‘til the end of twenty minutes.
6. And of course, there is no better way to script a sequel than to say, MORE, BUT BIGGER! With the Capitals on a power play, Nicklas Backstrom lifted a cross-ice circle-to-circle assist with more sauce on it than a big ol’ bowl of Mama Luccia right onto Alex Ovechkin’s stick. The Captain then modeled some of this season’s latest Conn Smythe Couture, blasting a confounding metaphysical meatball from his office into the back of the net to lift the Capitals to a trinity of goals, 3-0.
7. Later in the period, fourth-line center Nic Dowd, fighting for his job, did his damnedest, lifting a gorgeous spin-o-rama backhand from way high in the slot past Rask and into the twine, giving Washington a 4-0 lead.
8. Still in the second, the Caps on the power play after Madison Bowey was tackled and then fought to defend his honor, Evgeny Kuznetsov double-dipped encore une fois with his second of the night, a sharp-angle softie that made it 5-0 Caps and got Rask pulled for....dun dun dun....Jaroslav Halak.
9. But, BUT, still in the second, and with Washington on a 5-on-3 power play because Boston can’t play nice, Alex Ovechkin slid a completely disrespectful no-look slap pass to Captain America John Carlson, and Jonny B. Goode cashed in a cruise missile from the circle to make it 6-0 after forty sexy, sexy, brutal minutes.
10. In the third period, Lars Eller, AKA The Lartian, took off to the races after a nifty little Chandler Stephenson pass, beating Halak again and kicking the extra point after the touchdown, capping this one off 7-0 Capitals.
Some ugliness: punk itty-bitty rodent antagonist Brad Marchand didn’t like Lars Eller’s “wave” to Boston’s bench after Washington’s seventh (lol) goal, and starting throwing fists at Eller before he knew what was happening. Malt Licker Brad Marchand socked Eller good twice, and a bleeding Lars had to go and get stitches before returning for the final seconds.
As for special teams, Washington’s power play went an astounding 4-for-6, and the penalty kill and Braden Holtby both pitched shut-outs.
Next up is the Penguins on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
Who else wants to come at the kings?