The Washington Capitals had an embarrassing start against the NHL’s very worst team. The Ottawa Senators, who traded Mark Stone (Vegas), Matt Duchene (Columbus) and Ryan Dzingel (Columbus) ahead of Monday’s trade deadline, scored twice in the first 7:16 of the game, not allowing the Caps a shot on goal for nearly the first 10 minutes of the game (9:53, Andre Burakovsky). Yiiiiikes.
The Capitals responded by scoring seven unanswered goals, including four joker tallies in the second period.
What turned the game around? “Well, we decided as a group we’re going to get engaged in the game,” Capitals assistant coach Scott Arniel said, failing to hide his sarcasm. “We were spectators there for the first ten, fifteen minutes. You know what? In this league, if you don’t put the work in, those things are going to happen. But you saw what happened here. We got a little ticked off and got some goals.”
Yes, yes they did. And now I will recap them all for you.
The Capitals began showing some signs of life with three minutes left to go in the first period. The first line utilized some fancy lateral passing to get on the board.
First, after gaining the high slot, Evgeny Kuznetsov found Alex Ovechkin hiding out in his office at the left circle. Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson anticipated a one-timer, but guessed wrong. Instead, Ovechkin slid the puck to Tom Wilson wide open in the crease for the tap-in goal.
As he celebrated, #FirstLineTom was sniped in the ankles by Christian Jaros and fell to the ice like an uprooted Giant Sequoia.
The goal was Wilson’s 18th goal of the season, a career high. He has goals in three of the last four games. The assist extended Ovechkin’s point streak to seven games (6g, 3a)
53 seconds later, the Capitals scored again with literally the exact same passing play. Brett Connolly gained the zone and dished to Dmitry Orlov. Orly then found Lars Eller near the right circle, who fired a one-timer past a totally out of position Nilsson.
Anders, that was bad, my dude. Don’t you know that famous saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I might be an AHL-quality goaltender.
Early in the second period, John Carlson taught the Senators, and any other NHL teams considering this penalty-kill strategy, why it’s not wise to shadow Alex Ovechkin: the Caps have four other players capable of rocket ships.
After having an initial point shot muffed, Carlson got another opportunity from Nicklas Backstrom and beat Nilsson cleanly.
The goal was Carlson’s tenth of the season. Carlson now has 87 career goals, passing Larry Murphy (86) for sixth place on the franchise goals list by a defenseman.
The dams officially opened with this TJ Oshie goal 3:51 later. The Osh Babe picked up a gigantic rebound from Nilsson and chipped the puck over the helpless goaltender on this backhand.
“That really bothers me how easy he did that,” Alan May said after the goal.
Brett “Conno not Kono” Connolly gave the Caps a three-goal lead soon after.
This is the definition of a soft goal. You can literally see the Senators emotionally giving up as Connolly peels down the right wing and scores on his own rebound short side.
Oh, Anders. Cover the post, my Swedish son.
The tally gave Connolly a new single-season career high (16). The third-line forward now has three goals in his last five games.
After a brief dash to 7-11 to get a Fanta and a corn dog, the Osh Babe returned to the Goal Party for the touchdown tally.
The Capitals went back to the lateral-passing well one final time. Oshie passed to Vrana. Vrana passed to Orlov. Orlov then slid the goal back to Oshie, who fired the puck into the back of the net.
Poor Anders Nilsson was so juked out on the play, he knocked the goal off its moorings.
Oshie’s second goal of the game made him the second Capitals player to reach the 20 goal mark this season.
Nilsson was pulled in favor of Craig Anderson after this goal.
It’s worth noting the Capitals did not allow a shot on goal by the Senators for the first 9:56 minutes of the second period. Favor: returned.
Anderson did not go unblemished.
Evgeny Kuznetsov left the second period early after taking a dump-in off his left hand. That was scary.
Evgeny Kuznetsov leaves the ice after a dump in strikes him in his wrist area pic.twitter.com/d4RvEJGe6o
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) February 27, 2019
The Russian center returned for the first shift of the third period and immediately scored, tallying the team’s figurative extra point.
I guess his wrist is okay.
“I think we were just unhappy with what was going on,” John Carlson, getting deep, said in the locker room.
This game looked like it had the potential to be an ugly season-derailing loss. Instead, the Caps woke up and gave the Senators one of their most embarrassing beatdowns of the season.
A sleepy start like this Friday will cost the Capitals against the division-leading Islanders. Learn this lesson, my favorite team, or you will pay.
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