Fresh off of a four night Christmas break the Capitals returned home to host the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena. A pair of second period goals powered Washington to a 3 to 1 win.
Here’s Thursday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: A perfect night of penalty killing? Check. A power play goal? Check.
Minus: After recording a flawless victory in Ottawa last Saturday (his first NHL shutout) Pheonix Copley returned to the bench to backup Braden Holtby. Hard to argue with the outcome tonight, but a head scratcher nonetheless.
Eight more notes on the game.
- A quiet opening period would pass without a tally. Washington was whistled for three minor penalties in the first (Nicklas Backstrom, Brett Connolly, and T.J. Oshie) but strong penalty killing kept the visitors off the scoreboard.
- Despite Carolina’s advantages the Capitals would control play for a majority of the opening twenty minutes, outshooting their guests 16 to 8.
- Less than four minutes into the second period Chandler Stephenson put Washington ahead with his fourth of the year. Heavy pressure in the offensive zone from Travis Boyd and Devante Smith-Pelly directly led to the unassisted tally.
- With 104 seconds remaining in the second Washington connected on their fourth power play of the contest. Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson worked the puck to the front of the net where Oshie deflected the puck around Pter Mrazek for his eleventh of the season.
- Midway through the final frame Justin Williams and Clark Bishop laid out Matt Niskanen into the boards from behind at high speed. The nasty collision led to a stoppage in play, Niskanen in agony, but curiously no penalty.
- Quickly afterward the Hurricanes got on the scoreboard courtesy of Sebastian Aho. Micheal Ferland’s failed breakaway opportunity led to a juicy rebound that Aho stuffed behind Holtby a second later.
- Michal Kempny was guilty of high sticking late in the third, giving Carolina one more man advantage opportunity. Midway through the minor Mrazek was pulled for the extra skater but Holtby and his defense wouldn’t yield to the Hurricanes’ pressure.
- Carlson fired home his sixth of the season into Carolina’s empty net a minute later. Fifty seconds later Washington’s win was official.