The Washington Capitals would have a chance to shake off the lackiest of lackluster performances against the Minnesota Wild on Friday night, hosting their best fiends the Philadelphia Flyers for a Sunday matinee at Capital One Arena.
So, how was the party?
Here’s Sunday’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Caps win. Flyers lose. Joy is good. Hate is bad. Let’s not overthink this.
Minus: Alex Ovechkin remains stuck at 48 goals like a man stranded on an island made of vulcanized rubber.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
1. After a lackluster performance on Friday night against Big Bruce’s Minnesota Wild, could the Capitals bounce back (in their home whites, per a request by the Flyers’ equipment staff) against rival Philadelphia?
2. If they would, it would be once again without the services of defenseman Michal Kempny who remains out “indefinitely” with a lower-body injury. Fortunately for the Caps, they would once again have speedy Swedey winger Carl Hagelin, back in the lineup from an icky illness.
3. Washington was not to be out-hustled in the first period. Just 3:52 into the contest, Tom Wilson, aka Big Bad Tommy, put his tip drill practice to good use. Nick Jensen fired a shot from the blue line, and Big T-Willy redirected it into the back of the net to give the Caps a 1-0 lead early.
4. One Flyers player none too pleased with Wilson’s scoring and general roughness was James van Riemsdyk. JVR took exception to Kid Icarus’ flames, and committed a dangerous, nasty interference penalty in open ice, submarining Wilson from down low around the knees and flipping him onto his back. Van Riemsdyk got two minutes, and Wilson got a new name on his List.
5. The second frame began with plenty of heavy checking and extracurriculars, ultimately resulting in three penalties and lots of why-I-oughtas. Then, with Matt Niskanen firing the biscuit at the basket from deep, Travis Boyd leapt and redirected it down and in, giving Washington a 2-0 lead.
6. But Philadelphia answered back, dumping a total of 20 shots on net to Washington’s mere 7 in the second period. With just four minutes remaining and T.J. Oshie in the box for a desperate backchecking holding penalty, Jakub Voracek dented the back of the net from the circle to make it 2-1. Twenty minutes remained to settle this one.
7. The Capitals came out refreshed and re-meaned in the third, and like the rising of the sun, they would not be denied. Halfway through the frame, and leading the Flyers in shots 12-4, Washington broke through. Brett Connolly, in tricky Conn Man fashion, slid a sneaky-perfect pass to a streaky-perfect breaking Jakub Vrana. Jake the Snake went 5-hole, and the Caps were up 3-1.
That was all she wrote, and the Capitals took the victory.
8. It’s become so unsurprising that we often fail to even mention it, but Braden Holtby was once again fantastic. He saved 35-of-36 shots for a .972 SV%, and stood strong and tall in the face of mischievous Flyers tomfoolery from James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek.
10. Alas, Big Number 50 continues to elude the Captain, as does 49 for that matter. He had a golden chance on an empty-netter in the final seconds, but passed off to Lars Eller instead. Selfless ‘til the end.
That’s a good-feeling win right there, I tell you what. Next up is Carolina Hurricanes at home on Tuesday.