The Carolina Hurricanes were annoying to play against even when they were bad, now that they are good it’s even worse. They booted the Capitals out of the playoffs last year and won the first two games of the season. But the Capitals held on for a strong road win in regulation against the annoying Canes.
Plus: Samsonov. He was stellar all game, facing 41 shots and stopping 38. It’s going to be hard to go back to Braden Holtby after the great play of Samsonov.
Minus: Penalties. It’s always penalties. Don’t know what the remedy is but penalties are just killing the Capitals every night. They took six tonight and two ended up in the back of the net. But it’s been the story for the Capitals all season: killing their momentum by taking penalties. It’s not just giving the other team a prime chance to score but it hinders any 5v5 game from getting going. And with how potent the Capitals offense is, it’s a real handicap to always throw off their rhythm.
Ten more notes on the game:
- It was a great back and forth first period with good chances on both sides, but the pace got broken by the Capitals doing what they do best: take penalties. Jonas Siegenthaler took the first of the game by chucking the puck over the glass for delay of game. According to Joe B, the Capitals lead the league in delay of game penalties, which is all sorts of stupid. Luckily the Capitals killed it off.
- Then the refs made a terrible embellishment call against Samsonov, which led to 4v4 but the Caps took yet another penalty leading to a 4v3 powerplay for Carolina. The Capitals escaped the first period unscathed though.
- Nic Dowd took a funny penalty at the end of the first period where he threw an Andrei Svechnikov stick over the glass to a fan wearing a Svechnikov jersey. It was a 10 minute penalty but it was almost worth it for the laughs.
- The third line has been coming alive as of late and it showed tonight as they scored the first goal. A hard driving Richard Panik dropped his shoulder threw a backhand on net that looked to hit the goalie then a defensemen into the net. A lucky goal, but well earned.
- Soon after, the fourth line drew a penalty and on the ensuing powerplay John Carlson sent a beautiful feed down low to Evegney Kuznetsov for a tap in goal. Which was nice considering he decided not to shoot flying up the slot just a minute earlier.
- But as all two goal leads against Carolina go, the Capitals couldn’t hold the lead. The Capitals turned up the heat the rest of the period but took a couple more penalties, and to start the third period Carolina scored quickly (with the help of an interference that went uncalled).
- But the powerplay struck again soon after for the good guys. An Ovechkin bomb off the back wall went right to Lars Eller’s stick for a wide open net and he slammed it home.
- And the Caps didn’t stop there. Jakub Vrana, who was a force in the first period, cashed in on a nice feed from Kuznetsov to make it 4-1. That snapped a 10 goalless game drought for Vrana.
- But you will never guess what happens next! Carl Haglein took a penalty and the Hurricanes scored nine second later making it 4-2. But it doesn’t stop there! Capitals took another penalty! Granted it was a call right after Carolina got away with interfering Oshie 10 seconds earlier, but alas it was called and Carolina cashed in making it 4-3.
- The Hurricanes really pressed with all the momentum after that but Samsonov stood strong and eventually Hamilton took a stupid penalty by punching TJ Oshie in the back of the head. That drained most of the time and the Capitals held on for a 4-3 win.
So the Caps snap a two-game losing streak and get their first win in four tries over the ‘Canes - and now return home to prepare for the visiting Sharks on Sunday.