The Washington Capitals controlled play well on Friday night but couldn’t seem to crack the net of Isles goalie Thomas Greiss.
That is — until Jakub Vrana had a hero moment in front of his old coach.
Down a goal in the third period, the Backstrom line got the puck deep into New York’s zone. Michal Kempny skated up to the goal line and centered the puck, where Nicklas Backstrom and Jakub Vrana were raring for a fight. Backstrom and Vrana each got some whacks on the puck, but it was Vrana who earned the goal.
Vrana celebrates with a fist pump and a flourish. He may have even thrown an imaginary monkey off his back.
V definitely wasn’t in participation mode on this tally.
Since January 12, Vrana’s had only three goals in his previous 21 games, including a six-game goalless streak (February 14, San Jose). Earlier in the season, Dmitrij Jaskin threw a monkey off his back after ending a 30-game goalless streak.
“We’re gonna go hard to the net and stay there,” Vrana said during the second intermission, seemingly predicting the strategy he’d utilize to score his goal.”Try to get in the blue paint there. We just have to keep pushing.
“Hopefully we’ll get one soon,” Vrana added.
In the end, they did. The goal marked Vrana’s 19th of the season. He’s one away from his first career 20-goal season.
It must have felt pretty good for Vrana to do so in front of Barry Trotz, who scratched the young forward several games this time last season.
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