As the epic road trip continues, the Caps’ third stop would mark just their second-ever visit to the lovely new Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. Their opponent? A red-hot (and former Cap-filled) Kraken lineup fresh off an epic 9-8 OT victory two nights ago in LA. To take down Seattle, the Caps would need to channel some of what they threw on the ice in Vancouver - one of their better team wins of the season - and silence the Kraken faithful.
Here’s how the good guys lined up against the hometown Kraken:
#Caps' lines/pairs in SEA:— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) December 2, 2022
8-Ovechkin, 17-Strome, 73-Sheary
15-Milano, 92-Kuznetsov, 77-Oshie
90-Johansson, 20-Eller, 39-Mantha
59-Protas, 26-Dowd, 21-Hathaway
52-Irwin, 57-van Riemsdyk
Kuemper vs. Grubauer. #CapsKraken
Here’s Thursday night’s Plus/Minus:
Minus: Fighting is always dumb. Fighting after a perfectly clean hit, even more so.
A few more notes on the game:
- I get that testosterone is a thing, and the driving force behind so much of hockey, but having that manifest itself through a T.J. Oshie fight? Dumb. Forget the fact that Oshie shouldn’t have to drop the gloves after what was a perfectly clean hit; he also shouldn’t be fighting with his concussion history. But dudes are gonna dude...
- Related, this was Oshie’s second fight against Yanni Gourde in the last three years. How much of a d*ck do you have to be to make someone as pure as Oshie want to punch your face not once, but twice, in a short span of time?
- It was the Caps getting on the board first tonight (is that allowed??) with Martin Fehervary firing a point shot past Philipp Grubauer for the opening tally. Marty’s on a nice little run, picking up his second goal in as many games after no goals through the first 23 of the season.
- One of the big weaknesses for the high-flying Kraken this season has been their penalty kill, and the Caps made sure to capitalize on that fact. With Conor Sheary taking over for Oshie in the bumper spot (because Oshie was in the penalty box for a dumb fight, hooraaaaay), he collected a Marcus Johansson pass from behind the net and put it past Grubauer to make it 2-0 Caps.
- It’s a low bar, to be sure, but the first half of this game was decidedly less action-packed than the last time the Kraken took the ice. That was definitely a feature, not a bug, as the Caps really slowed down the game and took the hometown fans out of the action. That’s textbook road team stuff right there (although for those of us back home trying to stay awake, having both teams in single-digit shots 30+ minutes into the game was not helpful).
- The Kraken would get one back on their own power play, with Jaden Schwartz needing just 16 seconds of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s hooking penalty to make it 2-1. Not much Kuemper, who had come up with some big saves to that point, could have done on that one, a roofer over his shoulder from in tight.
- That power-play goal seemed to jumpstart the home team as the Kraken started to tilt the ice for the last few minutes of the second, including one heart-stopping sequence where Kuemper was down and out and Seattle just missed on a couple of chances. But the Caps hung on to take a one-goal lead into the locker room for the second intermission.
- They would spend a lot of the third period clinging to that one-goal lead (and squandering two more power-play opportunities), as Darcy Kuemper and his defenders faced a barrage of shots for most of the frame.
- Those missed power-play opportunities would prove to be big missed chances, though, as Yanni Gourde scored the equalizer in tight with under two minutes to go in regulation. Seriously? Screw that guy. To overtime we’d go.
- And seven seconds later, it was over, as the Kraken’s superstar rookie Matty Beniers got a breakaway off the faceoff and fired the puck past Kuemper for the GWG.
So a well-deserved point, but frustrating to think what could have been had the Caps either been able to hang on to that lead or extend it. Alas. Take the point, on to Calgary.