Could they keep their winning ways alive in DC?
Here’s Friday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Andre Burakovsky continues to prove that he’s glad he’s still a Capital.
Minus: So many penalties. SO many penalties!
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
1. With a five game winning streak on the line, could the Capitals extend it to 666-in-a-row against the Devils themselves?
2. Finally deciding to buck the trend of giving their opponents the gift of an early lead, the Capitals struck first in this one. Andre Burakovsky, who is Still Here, finished off a three-man rush for the Caps, crashing the net and flipping the puck over New Jersey’s sprawling Mackenzie Blackwood to give Washington the 1-0 lead right out of the gate.
3. Washington would get tons of opportunities in the first, including a minute-and-a-half 5-on-3 power play the Devils suffered for charging and then hooking (whereas hooking and then charging will land you in jail). Even with another two minute man-advantage after that, the Capitals still couldn’t....well.....capitalize. It was 1-0 after twenty minutes.
After the game, fellow Swede Nicklas Backstrom was asked about Burakovsky’s recent resurgence.
“It’s good to see him get his confidence back. I mean, that’s the kind of player he is. He needs that confidence. And right now, he’s playing really good hockey for us. At this time of year, you need scoring from all the lines. That’s what we’ve got for now,” Backstrom said.
4. And then...well...absolutely nothing happened in the second period. The Capitals took - and successfully killed off - two penalties of their own, but this one still showed the same score heading into the final stanza.
5. That finally changed four minutes into the third period. With the Capitals back on their heretofore fruitless power play, John Carlson worked the puck along the blue line, waiting for the seas of defenders to part before finally direct-dialing a slap pass to a lurking Nicklas Backstrom. With St. Nick waiting on the doorstep with his paddle full of tricks, he deflected the pass into the net to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead.
I asked John Carlson after the game if that was a brilliantly-designed pass, or an errant slap shot that got lucky.
“Oh, no, I was looking for Nick there,” Carlson said, before flashing a smile.
6. The Most Dangerous Lead in Hockey held until the final three minutes. TJ Oshie took a penalty, and the Capitals would spend the final moments shorthanded and fighting for their lives. But with the goalie pulled and the net yawning, Lars Eller spotted his opportunity with the Eye of the Tiger and potted the freebie, sending Washington home 3-0 winners.
7. When one side of the scoreboard reads a goose egg, that means a goalie gets his wings. Er, shutout. This was Braden Holtby’s third blanking of the season, making 25 saves in the process.
8. That brings the Capitals win streak to SIX! Count ‘em, SIX! victories in a row. Not a bad turnaround after the all-star break.
[Author’s Note: Only 8 things happened this game. Sorry.]
The Capitals will get right back to it at Capital One Arena on Sunday, when they host the Winnipeg Jets!