Brouwer hour. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
Just a few days before the Winter Classic, the New York Rangers visited the Washington Capitals ready for their close-up. The Caps showed up to play though, and we got to see one of the better overall games of the season.
Marcus Johansson scored the first of the game by cleaning up a rebound off a Jeff Halpern shot that he set up. Brandon Dubinsky converted on a breakaway to tie it after one period. Troy Brouwer snapped a streak of bad luck by tipping in a Jeff Halpern/John Carlson collaboration. Alex Ovechkin leveled a hit to open up a turnover, which Nick Backstrom turned into a breakaway by passing it to Alex Semin, who made the game’s fourth tally look easy. Late in the game, Alex Semin scored again, sailing one past Biron. Caps beat Rangers 4-1.
- The Capitals Penalty Kill was mostly splendid, limiting the Rangers to 8 shots, 0 goals, and 1 kick on 5 opportunities. It was dominating, and credit is owed to Dennis Wideman, Roman Hamrlik, Nick Backstrom, and Troy Brouwer— your shorthanded ice-time leaders.
- Welcome back to active play, Jay Beagle. Given the disappointment around the league over concussions, every guy who gets healthy and back on the ice is a little victory. 5:55 TOI.
- Alex Ovechkin was a bulldozer. A bulldozer that generates a lot of turnovers and odd-man rushes-against.
- Troy Brouwer spazzed out on a wide-open net, missing a crucial power play chance. A few minutes later, he had a shot but chose to defer, passing to Ovechkin instead. Considering that and his 1 point in the previous 8 games, Brouwer’s confidence might have been in question. But then he camped out in front of Martin Biron to tip in Jeff Halpern’s shot.
- Goodness gracious. When he shows up, Alex Semin can play some freaking hockey. That’ is all. Two goals for him and two assists for his brovechkin.
- It’s not all good news. The Capitals still took well over 10 minutes to get into this game.
- And that was the final Caps game ever to be broadcast on Versus. It was packed with fact-free analysis, weird camera angles, and a 3:4 ratio (on Comcast) that made everyone look like Tyrion Lannister. The channel will transmogrify into NBC Sports on January 2nd.
- Mike Knuble Watch: 1 shot, 1 hit, 1 set-up of what would’ve been a goal on another line, 1 start in the offensive zone, 1 super long close-up of him on the bench looking up without any relevant commentary by the Versus team. TOI: 9:25.
And because this game was on Versus, there will be no Joe B suit of the night. Instead, please settle for the Alan May Tweet of the Night:
After a slow start, the Capitals were brilliant tonight. Hopefully this is more than a win. Hopefully this is a precedent for the rest of the season and beyond. They’re now 1 point out of the playoffs.
Have a great night, everybody. Buffaslugs again on Friday!