Lets take a look at some of the action and news that came out of last night’s five first round series that got this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs underway.
Caps forward Tom Wilson missed 16 games due to suspension to start the season, but since he returned on November 13 he’s been unbelievably hot, and yes, I regret typing that but it’s too late now.
On Saturday, with a lovely layup goal facilitated by Evgeny Kuznetsov, Wilson climbed into a three-way tie for second place in goals among the Caps — even though he’s played many fewer games than his competition.
It’s Karl Alzner‘s second time back at
Verizon Center Capital One Arena, and I guess he’s not used to being the visitor yet. After he slashed delicate golden child Andre Burakovsky in the first period, Alzner appeared confused as to which team’s penalty box his grizzled, British Columbian heinie was supposed to sit in.
With six goals in the first 25 games of the season, Evgeny Kuznetsov had struggled to find his scoring touch this fall. But as winter approaches, Kuznetsov has broken out all by himself with three skillful goals thanks to quality individual plays in his last two games. Kuznetsov and his linemates, Jakub Vrana and TJ Oshie, were the team’s best trio in Saturday’s narrow 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kuznetsov beat fellow Russian and last year’s Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky with a supreme effort as he flew into the offensive zone, collected a pass from Oshie, tapped the puck to John Carlson, and snaked around three Columbus defenders. He finished it off with a flick of the wrists to hit the top shelf of the net as a helpless Bobrovsky dove to catch up.
The Tom Wilson is intensifying and I’m not talking about his physical play.
Wilson just nabbed his first career two-goal game (playoffs don’t count) after a perfect deflection on a Brooks Orpik point shot.
After starting the season with three points in nine games, Lars Eller is literally aflame, tallying five points in his last three outings. Thursday against the Islanders, The Great Dane scored twice, including the game-winning goal with 3:21 left in the third period.
He was your first star of the night.
During his young career, Jakub Vrana has sometimes battled a narrative that he takes plays/games off, but I’d argue that he’s actually the ultimate team player and we should cherish him like an adorable baby pig.
Sunday in Calgary, Vrana scored the Capitals’ only goal (which was cool don’t get me wrong), but it was his long, passionate hug of Philipp Grubauer that I appreciated the most.
It’s not everyday that you see Tom Wilson meet his match in a fight, but that totally happened in the third period of the Canucks’ 6-2 shellacking of the Caps Thursday night.
Wilson, wanting to avenge Erik Gudbranson for injuring Brett Connolly, got put in a side headlock and got his helmet punched off his head.
Christian Djoos is starting to become popular among fans, but there might be someone on the Capitals bench who’s feeling the Djoos more.
Djoos’ former defense partner in Hershey Madison Bowey, gave the Swedish defenseman a congratulatory back massage after Djoos scored his second career goal. Bowey couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he looked up at the highlights on the jumbotron.
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