Photo: Mark J. Terrill
Thursday night was the centerpiece of the Washington Capitals’ three-game trek through California: a crucial clash with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are the best team in the league (imho) and my pick, again, to win the Cup. The Caps would need to play above their heads and get a little lucky to best the best. They didn’t and they weren’t, so they didn’t. But they did pilfer a huge standings point, and that could mean a lot on at the end of the regular season.
The Kings struck first, with Anze Kopitar stuffing a puck dealt by Gaborik uncannily behind Halak’s pads. The scoring stifled after that until Evgeny Kuznetsov served up Joel Ward in the slot, who connected on his second stab. That took us into overtime, which was exciting as whoa, but yielded no decision.
Kings beat Caps 2-1 (Shootout). Solid road game.
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— RMNB (@russianmachine) March 21, 2014
Again: playoff rules are in effect. I don’t care about possession stats. That’s a good thing, because the Kings stomped a mudhole tonight.
The Caps had no reason to expect a loser point or a win, but they played thick and proud. They truly did limit high-risk shots by LA, and Halak was good enough to stop the remainder. A win would’ve been fantastic, but an overtime loss doesn’t sting at all.
Let’s talk Kuzya. Evgeny Kuznetsov is racking up an assist per game right now. He’s got moves for days, rejuvenating a team that can look a bit pedestrian at times. He had an excellent debut in the skills competition. I don’t know how Kuznetsov will project over months and years, but it’s fair to say he’s making an impact already.
Goodness. What a game. After 35 kinda lame minutes, the Caps looked pretty terrific when fighting for their lives. Ward remained a magical unicorn, and overtime was exhilarating. That one standing point may mean the world in April.
Good luck sleeping tonight.
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