Because Hockey Night In Canada loves us, they recorded the Capitals pre-game routine in the hallway just outside the locker room. It is ridiculous and therefore I must show you.
During a Hockey Night in Canada feature in the third period of Saturday’s game, Braden Holtby and his confidence level was compared and contrasted to Jonathan Bernier’s. The Leafs netminder, winless in 9 games (0-8-1), had a bad bobble during Tom Wilson’s second period goal. Meanwhile, zen-as-f-ck Braden Holtby was singing along to Cage The Elephant’s Mess Around during a commercial break like he didn’t have a care in the world.
Photo: Chris Young
The Capitals came into the Air Canada Centre looking flat, getting outshot 16-4 in the opening frame. That’s understandable, given the Caps were playing back-to-back games, their seventh match in 11 nights. The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, hadn’t played since the 23rd of November. They came out swinging, wanting one last win against the boys from Arlington before Steve Whyno relocates back to the National Capital Region.
Jason Chimera, Whyno’s biggest admirer, made sure the Leafs would not get it. After a nice save by Braden Holtby, Chimmer used his speed to go two-on-one up the ice. His shot wasn’t great, but it was enough to beat Jonathan Bernier, who hadn’t played since November 15.
The Leafs got the goal back when the fourth line failed to clear the defensive zone. Maybe Tom Wilson and Michael Latta were tired after carrying all of Brooks Laich’s Black Friday shopping.
Wilson must have been rejuvenated in the second, as he picked up a loose puck in front, did a move from the Nutcracker, scored his first goal in his hometown and his first since March 3. Later in the second, Toronto tied it again when Leo Komarov deflected a puck past Braden Holtby on the power play.
The man advantage was the story of the rest of the night, as Marcus Johansson expertly deflected an Alex Ovechkin PP Bomb into the net for his second goal in as many games. Justin Williams added Washington’s fourth of the net off a brilliant assist from Jason “Yes, That One” Chimera. Nothing in the third. Caps beat Leafs 4-2.
As Chris wrote earlier today, Alex Ovechkin appears to be getting back on track on the power play with power-play goals in two straight games. Saturday, the Russian machine conjured some black magic to get a power-play assist.
You have to see this.
Tom Wilson just scored an unlikely, beautiful goal in front of family and friends at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. It ends a personal goalless streak of 37 games. It was Wilson’s first goal since March 3 2015 of last season.
This just screams hockey to me.
Tonight the Caps begin a three-game trip through Canada with a four-game win streak still active. The Toronto Maple Leafs are still not very good, but anything can happen on HNIC. It’s Holtby vs Bernier, so that’ll be fun.
Puck drops at 7 PM on CSN Plus.
|Team||Record||Possession||PDO||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||7-10-5||48.3%||99.9||18.8%||81.7%|
Photo: Patrick McDermott
With roughly a quarter of the season gone and lots of great hockey already in the books, it’s time to take stock in the Washington Capitals. It’s a yearly tradition we call Twenty Games In because we’re not very creative.
There’s a lot of information in this article, so I’ll put the conclusion up top:
This is The Team.
Let me be precise. I don’t mean that in an obvious The name of the band is the Washington Capitals way; I mean it like this could be the team that does what no other Caps team ever could. We’re just twenty and change games into the season, but I think this is the best team this franchise has ever assembled.
Photo: Patrick McDermott
The Capitals were up 4-0 against the Tampa Bay Lightning with just over nine minutes to play. The game looked well in hand. Then Dmitry Orlov attempted to flip a puck out of the defensive zone. Instead, it was battled down by Anton Stralman past the blueline. Stralman then reentered the zone. The play looked, at game speed, to be clearly offside. The Capitals benched roared at the linesmen. Nevertheless, play went on. A few seconds later, Tampa had a goal, the start of an impressive third period that could have cost the Capitals the game.
“I thought it was, but I mean I can’t see that,” Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said. “You usually have plays like that just blown down.”
The Caps clearly expected it would be. Jason Chimera, Andre Burakovsky, Jay Beagle, Trevis (?) Chorney, and Orlov all stopped for a second. In the meantime, the Bolts set up in the offensive zone and Brian Boyle one-timed a puck past Holtby.