The first full week of the ‘20s is in the books... so how did it shake out for the Caps? Read on.
This week’s games:
The most insane comeback win any of us have ever seen, featuring all kinds of history... goals from all four lines and a defenseman not named John Carlson... a dominant win over a team the Caps should be able to dominate... the Caps hosting a Pride Night and then appearing in another team’s Pride Night the following evening... 16 different players with at least a point (including Braden Holtby)... little Ovi’s never-ending excitement at seeing his papa on TV... 12 points from the defense... the second line coming to life, with a combined 15 points in the last four games... #OskarStrong... Alex Ovechkin moving past Teemu Selanne on the all-time goal-scoring list... Radko Gudas with 7 points (including 2 goals) in his last 12 games... this assist-goal combo:
The Holtby Assist on this @EASPORTSNHL OTGWG is LEGENDARY#ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/OA6LdKhYEV— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 5, 2020
And this daddy-daughter combo:
Such a sweet moment between Richard Panik and his daughter today— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 5, 2020
A 4-1 lead in Raleigh getting whittled down to a 4-3 final score making things a little too close for comfort... the Caps scoring just two power-play goals on 11 chances, including a big ol’ goose egg on five chances against the Flyers... a shorthanded goal against those same Flyers... some overall sloppy defensive play, particularly against the Sharks and Flyers...
3) Ilya Samsonov. Weathered a late storm in Carolina (pun intended) and an early filibuster by the Sens (ditto) to pick up win #11 and 12 on the season, finishing the week with an impressive save percentage of .941.
2) T.J. Oshie / Lars Eller. It’s hard to pick between the two, because they both had incredible five-point weeks and both played key roles in some of the team’s biggest moments this week.
1) Jakub Vrana. His goal 13 seconds after Logan Couture allegedly sealed the loss for the Caps jump-started the rally, and was part of a four-goal, five-point week overall for the reinvigorated winger.
Weeks in Review: Hit.
It’s hard to shake the sour aftertaste that was the loss in Philly, because there was a lot about that one that was both frustrating and just... sad.
(Because seriously guys Kevin Hayes skates at about .000000001 miles per hour and managed to get a shorthanded breakaway and score the eventual game-winner. So there’s that.)
But that trip to Philadelphia capped off a week that was otherwise equal parts thrilling and excellent, with a win in Raleigh that snapped a four-game winless streak against the ‘Canes, an insane comeback win in a matinee against the Sharks, and a dominant performance over the Sens. That they lost a one-goal game on the second night of back-to-backs when they weren’t perhaps at their sharpest can’t erase huge weeks for the second line, Samsonov’s ongoing mastery and Ovechkin’s continued march up the ladder.