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With back-to-back wins in their back pockets, the Washington Capitals welcomed the Colorado Avalanche (and some familiar masked faces) to town on Thursday night.
Would it be a warm welcome?
Here’s Thursday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Andre Burakovsky is back in the goal column, folks!
Minus: Evgeny Kuznetsov suffered a high hit, and Capitals fans held their breath for a few minutes.
And now, this...
Andre Burakovsky did not want to let go of Kuzy pic.twitter.com/R12WnB9abQ— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) February 8, 2019
Ten more notes on the game:
1. After the Capitals got back in the win column with a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night - a red-letter evening in which Alex Ovechkin became the leading Russian scorer of all time with his 1180th career point - could Washington continue their winning ways?
2. There would be four (4) goaltenders in the lineups tonight, and all four of them played for the Capitals at one point. Between jilted exes Semyon Varlamov and Philipp Grubauer (who got a lovely tribute video that appeared to jerk a few German tears) and Washington’s own Braden Holtby and starter Pheonix Copley, the fruit of Mitch Korn’s loins was on display Thursday night.
3. The Capitals also began Thursday night’s game with a fitting tribute to baseball and DC sports legend Frank Robinson, the Baltimore Orioles great and first-ever manager of the Washington Nationals. Rest easy, Frank.
4. Then there was hockey to be played. And one winger who was going to make the most of his time in the lineup tonight was Andre Burakovsky. Just six minutes into the game, the struggling forward took a feed from T.J. Oshie and ripped it past Varlamov, potting his 7th goal of the season and a timely one, at that.
5. Then some tomfoolery. Off of a massive Ovechkin slap shot, Nicklas Backstrom appeared to jump into the crease and easily knock the loose puck into the net. BUT, one of the referees got a little overanxious and blew the whistle prematurely. The goal was waived off, and the score remained 1-0 after twenty.
6. 35 seconds into the 2nd period, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon made a dazzling play, flipping the puck from a sharp angle towards the goal mouth. Copley was powerless to stop the puck, and it trickled in. BUT WAIT! The Capitals would challenge for offsides against an overzealous Gabriel Landeskog. But alas, the Caps’ video crew got this one wrong, the goal counted, and the score was knotted 1-1.
Goal counts, and the Caps are given a DOG penalty. pic.twitter.com/Ozj2zC5nRt— Ted Starkey (@TedStarkey) February 8, 2019
7. Halfway through the second period, we all had a case of deja vu. Alex Ovechkin cranked a hummer from the point that squeaked through Varlamov’s wickets once again. This time, Evgeny Kuznetsov was there to dive in and poke the puck across the goal line, snatching Ovechkin’s goal off his plate and giving the Capitals a 2-1 lead after forty minutes.
Kuzy pic.twitter.com/cOykcJ98lR— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) February 8, 2019
8. The Capitals stretched the lead to 3-1 early in the third frame, putting the pedal to the metal. If you have unstoppable offensive weapon Matt Niskanen in your office goalscoring pool, congratulations! His 8th of goal of the year was a real goal-scorer’s humdinger.
9. But Colorado wasn’t done. An amazing Gabriel Landeskog forecheck and a bad defensive play by Dmitry Orlov led to a spin-o-rama slot shot from Mikko Rantanen that pierced Copley and brought the Avs back within one, 3-2.
Diving effort from @GabeLandeskog92 pays off. pic.twitter.com/A2AGFDCBVt— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) February 8, 2019
10. In the dying minutes, Colorado’s Ian Cole hit Kuznetsov high and late, sending the Russian center down the tunnel. Tom Wilson fought Cole, and promptly turned him to cube steak. Both players received game misconducts.
Tom Wilson demolishes Ian Cole (after a late hit on Kuzy) pic.twitter.com/SvaCRVKhPU— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) February 8, 2019
11. With time running out, Colorado’s Colin Wilson caught an assist from Matt Calvert along the goal line. From a 180-degree angle, he slung the puck at the Caps net. It took a crazy silly bounce off of Copley’s skate and into the net, sending this game to.....dun dun dun.....OVERTIME!
And in the extra frame, Alex Ovechkin sprung Evgeny Kuznetsov on a breakaway that had shades of Game 6, and Kuznetsov slipped it through Varlamov’s five-hole to send the Caps home winners, 4-3.
The Capitals now have a 2-game winning streak, and will look for the trifecta against Florida at home on Saturday.