The Washington Capitals touched down in St. Louis on Monday night looking to keep the momentum from their Metropolitan Division-winning game against the Penguins rolling for a second straight night. Could they mute the desperate Blues?
Here’s Monday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Andre Burakovsky scored what may be the goal of the year, and now has goals in back-to-back contests.
Minus: Devante Smith-Pelly and Alex Ovechkin both took nasty spills behind the net. Let’s avoid injuries in the final few games of the season, eh boys?
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
1. With the Washington Capitals having clinched the Metropolitan Division with a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night, and the St. Louis Blues fighting for their playoff lives, would the Caps manage to muster any mustard, or get rolled-up like moldy sleeping bags?
2. Jay Beagle was ruled out for this contest, still recovering from an upper-body injury suffered in the first period against the Penguins. Unexpected, though, was the holding out of bona fide American Hero T.J. Oshie, who left the previous game against the Carolina Hurricanes early with a tweak. With Oshie out for precautionary rest, both Sugar Shane Gersich, aka Big Daddy Shane, and Alex Chiasson got sweaters for this skirmish.
3. Vladamir Tarasenko, aka Vlad the Impaler, got the playoff-thirsty Blues on the board first. Number 91 curled into the slot and snapped a quick shot past a helpless Braden Holtby to put St. Louis up 1-0 early in the contest.
4. One scary moment in the first period: Alex Ovechkin, Man Made of a Potent Cocktail of Unobtainium and Borscht, took a hard spill into the back boards after losing his skate edge. Ovechkin’s legs wishboned as his slammed into the wall, and he remained motionless on the ice for several painful moments. Ovechkin eventually made it back to the bench with the help of the coaching staff, and, because Russian Apparatus Never Stalls, didn’t even miss a shift. Glad you’re alright, stud!
5. The second period got off to some fireworks, scarecrow. Just 51 seconds into the frame, Nicklas Backstrom pirouetted in place in the slot and flicked a loose puck into the back of the net, knotting the game at 1-1 and our hearts at, “I love you, Nicky.” It was Backstrom’s 20th goal of the season, and his third straight season hitting the 20-goal mark.
6. Just two minutes later, defenseman Jakub Jerabek sprung Alex Chiasson, Pure Goal-Scorer, with a beautiful two-line pass from his own zone. Alex collected it expertly and got loose on a breakaway. Chiasson Derulo then roofed it over goalie Jake Allen’s blocker pad and into the net to make it 2-1 Washington.
7. AND THEN, five minutes later, Andre Burakovsky submitted his candidate for Goal of the Year. Andre The Giant caught a pass from Nick Backstrom and roared down the wing, flying into the zone and hitting an utterly disrespectful forehand-backhand deke between his own legs to get around the defender. All alone in front of the goalie, Bura lifted a shot over Allen’s shoulder to make it 3-1 Caps and everyone watching weak in the undies.
ANDRE BURAKOVSKY DANGLES AND SCORES A GORGEOUS GOAL! pic.twitter.com/CPpK6PFfgu— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) April 3, 2018
8. But halfway through the period, St. Louis’ Patrik Berglund got one back for the Blues, catching a pass from Kyle Brodziak and cutting the lead to 3-2 at the final intermission.
9. The third period saw Washington have to kill two penalties to kill to hold the lead. And in spite of having nothing to play for and having already exerted a winning effort, the Caps killed both, and all four they faced in the game.
10. With the goalie pulled, O Captain My Captain Alex Ovechkin fired the puck into the gaping maw of the empty net from the neutral zone for his 46th goal of the season, giving the Capitals a 4-2 win and a delicious dessert of creme brulee’d victory.
The Capitals tell the rest of the NHL, “Get ready, because we are.” This is a team getting hot at the right time, with two excellent goaltenders and young players finding even higher gears. This could be fun. Next up is the Predators at home on Thursday.