That was fun, right?!? What a game from the Capitals last night. The team has now won five of their last six games and is rocketing up the standings. They are sitting in third place in the Metro, tied with Columbus and just one point back from the Devils.
Let’s take a look at some of the game’s best moments.
Top Line Tommy Wilson: Wilson had a career game, with four points from two goals and two assists. He is absolutely thriving on the top line with Backstrom and Ovechkin, but it’s worth pointing out that his excellent play is also elevating their game. Their line was on fire last night, with all three of them scoring within 3 and half minutes in the first period. In addition to his offensive production, Wilson was throwing his weight around all night, especially after Ovi took a bad knee-to-knee hit that led Tommy to knock two Blackhawks to the ice in quick succession. With this group gelling so well, it seems very unlikely the Burkovsky will find himself back on the top line any time soon.
The (Still) Great 8: Ovechkin is having a tremendous season so far. He’s on pace for sixty goals, an impressive showing for any player, but especially so for a guy who has been in the league as long as Ovi. Last night he had a goal and three assists, including on Backstrom’s first goal since October 14th. Seeing those two back together makes you wonder why in the world they were ever separated.
Dmitry Orlov: Orlov played great last night, but his biggest moment was when he got a tooth knocked out by a high stick from Ryan Hartman. He briefly left the game, but was back in the third period, proving that hockey players are tougher than the rest of us!
Offense from Everywhere: Four goals came from the top line last night, but they weren’t the only ones getting in on the action. Brett Connolly and Evgeny Kuznetsov also lit the lamp. The third and fourth lines continued their excellent play, with the goal from Connolly in the second period and a spectacular penalty kill breakaway from Beagle that nearly resulted in a short handed tally.
These Caps are looking great right now, with the revamped lines showing a lot of promise. Oshie’s unfortunate injury has him out of the lineup right now for an unspecified period, so it seems likely that Burakovsky will slot into his place on the second line if he returns on Friday night. Djoos and Bowey are getting comfortable at the NHL level and look like they may be here to stay. John Carlson has been this team’s iron man, eating up minutes while Niskanen was out and continuing to be a rock on their defense game in and game out.
The first month of the season was rough, but the team is really rounding into shape now. They’re a much different club this year, but maybe the adversity they’ve faced to this point will lead to a different post-season outcome.