That is how you do it! The Washington Capitals have done the unthinkable: playing two smart games back to back.
Who better to get us started that Andrew Gordon? His goal-crashing shot off a speedy Marcus Johansson pass was the night’s first goal and the first of Andrew’s NHL career. (We knew you could do it!) The Devils responded with a Patrik Elias whizzer from above the circles, expertly screened by former Cap Danius Zubrus. Hershey’s own Jay Beagle returned fire with a chip-in up close. On a breakaway. Jason Chimera brushed off a hook and converted. Alex Ovechkin pulled an honest-to-goodness statue-of-liberty play with John Carlson, who launched a neutrino puck into Marty Brodeur’s net. Finally, Mike Knuble gingerly diverted a Tom Poti shot for the free wings. Caps beat Devils 5-1.
Here comes either the smartest or dumbest analysis ever. Sure, the Capitals win when they play better, but they also play better when they win. The boys were surging, having fun, connecting on passes, and dominating zone time. And it all started when the Hershey Bears contingent got ’em started. The attitude was infectious. Even when Ovechkin would flub a shot, his goofy grin stuck around. The goals that felt infuriatingly out of reach came easy tonight, even with a titan in the other net. That’s Caps hockey: high-octane, high-scoring, fun.
If they keep that energy up, it’s gonna be a good winter.
Pittsburgh on Thursday. I’ll be at a bachelor party in D.C., so Ian will be covering the game. It was nice knowing you all. Go Caps. CRASH THE NET.
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