Going into tonight, the Caps were looking to bounce back from their first regulation loss of the season. The problem? The Caps had never won a regulation game at Dallas. However, the Caps played a very strong 60 minutes, were strong on the PK and PP, and came out with a 4-1 win.
Here’s Saturday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Caps PK was very, very solid all night. They killed off all 6 Dallas power play opportunities, and didn’t give up many high danger chances while doing so.
Minus: Both teams seemed flummoxed by the poor ice quality at the American Airlines Center, which led to some choppy play and missed chances for both sides.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on tonight’s game:
1. The Capitals were trying to keep the positive D.C. sports vibes going, as the Washington Nationals won 3-1 in St. Louis against the Cardinals, taking a 2-0 series lead in the NLCS. (What’s that, you say? This is supposed to be a Capitals recap? Well...the Caps have been pretty vocal in their support of the Nats, so I’ll have to allow it.)
2. Going back to the game at hand...the Caps started out strong in the first period, getting a PPG goal from Wilson to stake the team out to a 1-0 lead. That 1-0 lead held up the entirety of the first, a first that was fairly even.
3. The second period started with the Caps killing a pair of Dallas Stars penalties, and then responding with a beautiful passing play and goal by John Carlson, to give the Caps a 2-0 lead.
4. The Caps PK was particularly strong in the first and second periods. They probably won’t want to make a habit of committing 6 (!!) penalties through the first 40 minutes, but they were up to the task. Of particular note, Radko Gudas & Jonas Siegenthaler each killed nearly 6 minutes of powerplay time, and only allowed 1 total high danger opportunity.
5. Going into the third period, the Caps had another lead to protect. This is something that they’d been struggling with lately, as noted by the always astute Tom Gulitti:
Over first two periods of past four games, Capitals have outscored opponents 10-3.— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) October 13, 2019
They've led entering the third period of all of them (three times by two goals)
In the third period of last three games, they were outscored 8-2.
So this third is the big period for the Caps.
6. Ilya Samsonov drew the start today and was extremely solid throughout. In particular, he was very solid on scramble plays, and he’s a remarkably athletic goalie who’s a lot of fun to watch. It was a shame to see him lose the shutout, but he’s got a bright future in Washington.
7. Going into the third period, the Caps started out strong, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring a beautiful powerplay goal 3:35 into the 3rd to give the Caps a 3-0 lead. However, the Caps immediately gave the goal back, with Radek Faksa scoring a wrap-around goal to pull the Stars within 2.
8. However, that’s as close as it got, as the Caps were able to finish up strong. Alex Ovechkin added an empty-net goal for his 4th goal of the year, and the Caps won 4-1.
9. With Michal Kempny still out, John Carlson has been relied on to eat huge minutes for the Caps. He skated a team-high 24:14 and did well with it. He scored, didn’t allow a goal while he was on the ice, and had a 60.7% shot attempt for percentage.
10. This game probably won’t win many style awards. The ice was sloppy and the game was a bit chippy, but the Caps were able to settle things down and end up with a solid road win.