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Caps vs. Canes Recap: Ovechkin Weathers Storm, Caps Cruise 4-1

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The Washington Capitals dropped the surging Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night behind another score from the captain.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

On a momentous night when one mister Evgeny Kuznetsov was honored with his own bobblehead, the Capitals would have a playoff preview to attend to against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Could they weather the storm?

Here’s Tuesday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Alex Ovechkin is officially off The Schneid, tying Brendan Shanahan for 13th all-time and now sits just one goal away from #50vechkin.

Minus: No bird celly.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

1. Top pair defenseman Michal Kempny had his injury status downgraded on the Reird-o-meter, from “indefinite” to “long-term” according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post. With rookie Jonas Siegenthaler recalled from Hershey, Christian Djoos and Brooks Orpik would get sweaters again tonight - could they prove to the coaching staff that they deserved them going forward?

2. With the arrival of the Carolina Hurricanes comes Don Cherry’s newly-minted moniker, “Bunch of Jerks.” Well jerks, or ghouls, or whatever, these Hurricanes are fighting for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and the game had all the intrigue of a potential first-round playoff preview.

3. This contest got off to a sleepy start in the first, until the dapper Capitals in their alternate red jerseys decided to light some fireworks. Just 3:30 remained in the frame before Evgeny Kuznetsov, Bobble Boy du Jour, fed the puck across the slot to a waiting T.J. Oshie. The American blasted it home, and Oshbae Can You See, this one was 1-0 after twenty.

4. The second period proceeded in much the same way, and 36 minutes into the game, the Hurricanes had yet to strike. That all changed in the final minutes of the second period. With an extra attacker on the ice in anticipation of a delayed penalty call, Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton blasted a BB that found the back of the net, knotting this one at 1-1 after two periods.

5. Washington wouldn’t wait long to score the game-winner in the third. Just five minutes into the frame, Alex Ovechkin boomed a slap shot from ‘round about his usual workspace, beating Petr Mrazek and far lesser goalies before him to make it 2-1 Caps. The goal was Ovi’s 49th of the season and the 656th of his career, tying Brendan Shanahan for 13th all-time.

Alex Ovechkin addresses the media after the game.
Jason Rogers

6. And just minutes later, Dmitry Orlov found a doorstep-lurking John Carlson with a naughty paddle of a slap pass. Captain America knocked the redirected biscuit into the basket, and gave Washington a 3-1 lead.

I asked Carlson after the game how it felt to finally be on the receiving end of a slap pass that he’s made himself many, many times.

“It was nice,” Carlson told me. “It looked like it was kind of bobbling a bit, so I tried to get as much on it as I could. I saw him look at me right away, so I didn’t even have to yell or anything.”

John Carlson addresses the media after the game.
Jason Rogers

7. In the final precious grains of sand in this contest, Mrazek hit the bench for the extra attacker. But this time, the Capitals said Nyet, or whatever nyet is in Swedish, because Nicklas Backstrom slung the puck into the empty net for his 19th on the year, and a 4-1 Capitals victory.

8. Tonight, Todd Reirden’s Frankenstein monster was a second line called Carl Hagelin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie. The trio was absolutely flying all over the ice. For his part, Kuzy was glad to be able to put on a show for his fans on bobblehead night.

“I feel like boblehead is special. When your organization do something for you, fans cheering for you, you want to give them back something. The best thing to give them is the win,” Kuznetsov said.

Evgeny Kuznetsov addresses the media after the game.
Jason Rogers

9. Alex Ovechkin is now just one goal away from 50, and Nicklas Backstrom is now just one goal away from 20.

10. The Capitals sit at 98 points on the season; their next win will give them their 12th 100-point campaign.

A solid win against a potential playoff opponent. Next up is the Hurricanes (again) in Carolina on Thursday.

Game highlights: