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The west-coast roadie always seems to be tough on the Caps (and on our east-coast readership), but this time around the squad has a little pep in their step from the unique magic of a top-to-bottom win on one of the NHL’s largest regular season stages, the Stadium Series outdoor game.
Okay, maybe the pep caught a later flight, because the Caps went down early in this one, and they stayed down. They’ll have a chance to even up the score on this road trip Thursday night in Los Angeles.
Here’s Tuesday night’s Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Score effects were certainly at play to some extent, but the top line had their wheels tonight, if no one else did. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Tom Wilson all spent most of the night around 60% CF, even before the game got out of hand. Even when it doesn’t show up on the scoreboard, you like to see your big guns going good.
- Minus: The first period. The second period. Braden Holtby. You get the point...
And now, this...
Seriously, great piece from Izzy. Check it out.
Mentioned in this story: If Alex Ovechkin hits 50 goals again this season, he'll be just the fifth player in NHL history to do so at age 32 or older https://t.co/GJvtOKckm2— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) March 7, 2018
Ten more notes on the game:
- Failing to do our lauding feature of him from earlier in the day justice, Tom Wilson took a penalty in the game’s first minute, and the Ducks’ powerplay opened the scoring in the games’ second minute with a slick snap shot from Adam Henrique.
- If any semblance of a boost from Wednesday night’s big victory in Annapolis did make it over to the left coast, it didn’t come anywhere near the Honda Center during the first period, as a lazy Hampus Lindholm shot from the point had eyes, and put the Caps’ down two heading into the first intermission.
- Right when you thought T.J. Oshie couldn’t get anymore snakebit, his beautiful deflection of a John Carlson powerplay shot sailed clean past John Gibson…and squarely into the right post. Poor Teej.
- Enter Rickard Rakell, who fired a wrister past Braden Holtby after a bad Brooks Orpik pass in the offensive zone resulted in a Ducks rush the other way. And that resulted in…
- Braden Holtby, yanked again. It’s tough to pin this on Holtby when the play of the guys in front of him was demonstrably wanting, but that’s become all too common a rejoinder of late, and it stings to remember that there was a time, not so long ago, when Holtby would occasionally (if not often) thrive in spite of the gaffes in front of him. Caps sure could use that Holtby right about now. Tonight’s .667 save percentage looks bad no matter how you slice it.
- After a hard net drive that saw Tom Wilson crash into a bit of John Gibson, and a bit of hard red iron, Wilson hobbled off the ice, an unwelcome site for Caps’ fans. But Wilson scarcely missed a shift before he was back on the ice. Exhale.
- Really exciting bunch, that fourth line. After two periods, Jay Beagle, Chandler Stephenson, and Devante Smith-Pelly had combined for, wait for it, 0 shot attempts. In their defense, they were also on the ice for one shot attempt against. Riveting stuff, gents. Then again, given this trio’s status quo, maybe you take a 0/1 split any given night.
- Ryan Getzlaf can suck an egg.
- Yeah, it was a disgusting game, but let’s leave off on a positive. Phillip Grubauer stopped all the rubber sent his way, as his fine season continues (even if it comes at the expense of our favorite neckbeard). The goalie controversy in D.C. is primed to heat up, and it’s a valid controversy.
Onto the next.