Photo: Nick Wass
The Washington Capitals have been taking it on the chin since the Olympic break. Friday’s game against the similarly struggling Vancouver Canucks was a primo opportunity to save face and play some thick and proud Caps hockey. Plus, the new guy was freaking superb.
The third line opened it up with a terrific shift. Eric Fehr drove the puck, but got bounced away by Eddie Lack. Luckily, Jason Chimera served it up to Joel Ward, who scored on his second swing. Jordan Schroeder tied it up for the Canucks on a broken play.
In the second, Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded his first career NHL point on an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot and then set up Tom Wilson via a glorious slap pass to give the Caps a dreaded two-goal lead.
Shawn Matthias and Nicklas Jensen tied it up in the third– erasing the Caps’ 12th two-goal lead of the season. No matter. Mike Green found the net three minutes later, set up by some nifty behind-the-net moves by Backstrom and Kuznetsov. Alexandre Burrows rang post with eight minutes left but found no twine.
Caps beat Canucks 4-3.
This team is still this team. They’re still the same guys who blow leads like Noah Vanderhoff blows goats (I have proof), but they also have this uncanny ability to summon goals out of lines that should spend their days toiling in the salt mines of the defensive zone.
Big ups to Eric Fehr. Big ups to Tommy Wilson. Big ups to Joel Ward.
But, really, the biggest of ups to Evgeny Murgatroyd Kuznetsov, who called down the Russian thunder from the mountaintop three times tonight. He was the difference maker, the common denominator, the playmaker, the thing that made the good things happen.
A great win. Maybe too late, maybe not. But I’ll read it on its own merit–a tally in the W column. That still matters to me.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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