Sup, Matt Niskanen? The Capitals headed up to Philadelphia for just their third Metro division matchup this season, and their first since October 18th’s game against the Rangers. The Caps were looking to extend their point streak to 13 games, and the Flyers were looking to extend goalie Carter Hart’s win streak to five games. Coming into tonight, the Caps have posted an 8-1-1 record on the road and the Flyers have a 6-1-1 record at home. Should be fun, right?
Something else to note: tonight was also the first time these teams have seen each other since the Matt Niskanen-Radko Gudas trade, which gave the matchup some added narrative. Which defenseman would lead his new team to victory? Let’s find out.
Here’s Wednesday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Braden Holtby absolutely kept the Caps in the game tonight. Washington looked pretty rough most of the game, but Holtby looked Sharp™. He stopped 30 of 31 shots, making tonight his third consecutive 30+ save game and improving his record to 8-0-1.
Minus: The Capitals’ power play? Bad! 0-for-3, two shots, and oh so sloppy.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
1. Brendan Leipsic got the Capitals on the board 6:13 into the game after John Carlson threw the puck on net in classic “Fall 2019 John Carlson” fashion. It was a solid goal for Leipsic, his second of the season, and an even better primary assist for Carlson, who hit the 30-point mark. Let that sink in - John Carlson hit 30 points on November 13th, in the Caps’ 20th game of the season. That’s nuts.
2. Halfway through the second period, Matt Niskanen got caught holding T.J. Oshie (maybe he just wanted a reunion hug?) and the Caps’ power play...tried to get to work. The Flyers had a better chance than the Capitals, so those were two minutes the guys in white would probably just like to forget.
3. Richard Panik, who for a while tonight had more shots on goal with five than the Flyers as a whole, was called for high-sticking just under six minutes into the second period. Thankfully, the Flyers’ power play seems to be just as bad as the Caps’ man advantage so far tonight.
4. The Caps went on their third power play of the night on a James van Riemsdyk tripping penalty halfway through the second, and the power play was - hold on, let me check my notes - ah yes, still bad! Then, less than 30 seconds after JVR’s penalty expired, Jakub Vrana was called for slashing. Big oof.
5. Another big oof? That entire second period, for both teams. It looked like neither team had ever made a successful pass in a hockey game, and almost every skater looked just a little confused the entire 20 minutes. Braden Holtby and Carter Hart were the only players who seemed aware of anything.
6. All good things come to an end, and tonight was the first time all season that the Caps did not score a goal in the second period of a hockey game. It was fun while it lasted.
7. Nic Dowd was called for tripping Niskanen 6:15 into the third, and the Flyers’ power play wasted no time cashing in on the man advantage. Jakub Voracek made Radko Gudas look silly while driving to the net and fed the puck to Claude Giroux, who slid it past Holtby to put Philly on the board. Tie game, folks.
Voracek walks Gudas and sets up Giroux for the goal pic.twitter.com/4LyNg4HC1s— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 14, 2019
8. The Capitals have gone to overtime nine times this season, and five of the Flyers’ last six games have gone to OT, so what’s one more? A good thing that didn’t have to come to an end tonight: the Caps have now earned a point in 13 consecutive games.
9. Even overtime wasn’t enough for tonight’s game. Holtby and Hart continued to put on a show, but neither team could convert. Not even Alex Ovechkin on a partial breakaway after being on the ice for 3:08 minutes. Yeah, you read that right, Ovi was on the ice for just over three minutes and still almost scored.
10. Voracek: miss. Oshie: goal. Giroux: goal. Kuznetsov: goal. Couturier: denied, Capitals win! They are now 11-0-2 in their last 13 games. That’s good, right? Asking for a friend...
How they won it:— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) November 14, 2019
Holtby save pic.twitter.com/YntWmiuWCL
Up next, the Caps head back to Capital One Arena for a Friday night tilt against Carey Price and the Canadiens.