Lost in what was an absolutely thrilling showcase of supreme, superstar talent in Monday’s Capitals vs Oilers matchup was a big kabong from debuting Caps forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel.
Aube-Kubel, plucked off waivers from Toronto on Saturday, caught everyone’s least favorite forward Evander Kane with an open-ice hit that sent the Oilers winger flying. Welcome to DC.
that'll endear you to the locals quick pic.twitter.com/hwzFH8FL8U
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 8, 2022
An audible “OOOOOOO” could be heard from the Capital One Arena crowd.
“That was a beautiful open ice hit from Aube-Kubel,” added NBC Sports Washington’s Craig Laughlin. “Nailed Evander Kane as he tried to make a cutesy pass up the middle. He decked him and the fans loved it.”
Aube-Kubel skated 10:19 of ice time in his first game with the Caps. Outside of the big hit, he had two shots on goal and drew a high-sticking penalty on defenseman Ryan Murray.
“Usually he’s a little tougher on his skates than that,” Aube-Kubel told the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell postgame. “I don’t know, maybe I surprised him. It’s part of my game and yeah, that can show there. Good thing.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette said Sunday that Aube-Kubel’s rugged style of play is one of the main reasons the team was so interested in bringing him to town off the waiver wire. Last season he finished tops among Avalanche forwards in hits with 123.
“We like the way he skates, he competes, he hits,” Laviolette said. “He has an impact on the game in a different way. It’s just a starting point for that line but we’re looking at it and talking about different things. He’s one of the guys that leads the league in hits. He’s top ten, he finishes his checks, plays the game hard, competes hard, and he’s an easy guy to like.”
The 26-year-old wing practiced some with the Caps’ renowned checking line made primarily potent by the Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway duo. In his debut, however, he skated on the right wing of the third line with Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha. Laviolette added that he has played both wings in the past so he still could eventually slide onto that fourth line.
With hits like this one, he is well on his way to making fast friends in the District.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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