Monday night, the Capitals survived a last-minute onslaught by the Carolina Hurricanes. With seven seconds left, defenseman Matt Niskanen blocked three straight shots after Jay Beagle lost a crucial defensive zone face-off, one of just four he lost all game. Niskanen’s sacrifice, Beagle’s faceoffs, and Philipp Grubauer’s staunch defense helped secure a 2-1 win at RBC Center.
If it seems like this this team can’t lose right now, it’s not because of excellent shot suppression or smart systems, it’s due to extraordinary efforts like Niskanen’s and Beagle’s and Grubauer’s becoming commonplace lately.
The standard on-ice celebration after a win would be the skaters congratulating the victorious goalie one by one. Instead, tonight, quite appropriately, the Caps held a big group hug in the defensive zone.
After the hug, Alex Ovechkin gave Jason Chimera a loving face-wash.
Photo: Gregg Forwerck
Nate Schmidt let out a big Ric Flair-esque Woooooo! as he walked to the locker room.
Considering the team’s silly pregame warm-up routine and how happy Braden Holtby appeared to be in his role as cheerleader, this team seems to be in a good, loving place right now.
Joe B: "Braden Holtby's the head cheerleader" pic.twitter.com/EgumRX9jy3
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) December 22, 2015
I’m not sure how much that helps a winning hockey team, but at 25-6-2 (52 points), the Caps are in first place in both the Metropolitan Division and the NHL.
.@washcaps have won 6 straight games & are 13-1-1 in their last 15 outings – a run that includes two 6-game win streaks (also Nov 21–Dec 3).
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 22, 2015
Maybe that big group hug happened because the team knows that they have the next four days off before returning to Kettler Saturday for morning skate.
Photo: James Guillory
Happy Holidays, guys!
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