The Caps beat Canes 4-3 in a punishing, non-muddy mud game

Through a haze of tree pollen Friday night, we watched the Washington Capitals take on the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. Both teams were coming out back-to-back, so expectations were low. And yet, we were given a dramatic and thrilling game. There were hi-jinxes at first, then it got disastrous, then it got fun again. Real pleasure. Ovi is having fun.

Seth Jarvis started scoring by beating Ilya Samsonov in the middle. Evgeny Kuznetsov got a very curious goal from no angle when no one was paying attention (more on that later). John Carlson caught a pass from Connor McMichael and propelled the Caps into the lead, but the Hurricanes scored twice in the second period (Trocheck on a turnover, Jarvis again on sustained pressure) to give Carolina the lead after of them.

With five minutes left in regulation time, the Caps got a power play and Ovechkin scored immediately, pushing two weary teams into overtime. The Caps played well in overtime but couldn’t get the decision.

Shooting Bullets!

  • Trocheck did not put the cookie in the basket
  • Kuznetsov did not put the cookie in the basket
  • Svechnikov did not put the cookie in the basket
  • Backstrom didn’t put the cookie in the basket
  • Jarvis didn’t put the cookie in the basket
  • Ovechkin put the cookie in the basket. Reverse!

Caps win in the shootout!

  • Washington and Carolina played Thursday night, so it was a mud game. Although tired, the passions were heated. The first half was wild and fun and then the comebacks kind of went down.
  • Ilya Samsonov had a weird game. At the start of the first, he left the crease to chase a puck that escaped him, giving Nino Niederreiter a net wide open. Niederreiter found himself for a monster slap shot and missed completely. Samsonov called later, but didn’t see much late game action when the Caps took control.
  • Nic Dowd went off after a Seth Jarvis hit late in the first period, came back in second, then disappeared again in third.
  • Substitute TJ Oshie (lower body injury) was AHLer Mike Vecchione played sparingly and did very well – apart from the turnover which gave Vincent Trocheck the equalizer. He didn’t play at all in the third period.
  • Here is a very effective counter move against Thomas Wilson.
  • Yevgeny KuznetsovThe goal of was breathtaking, but we almost missed it. Everyone was paying attention on the other side of the ice, where Ovechkin was absorbing the attention of the Carolina D and the officials. That’s why there was no whistle on the game, no point to the net, no siren. Strange sequence.
  • Early in the third, Kuznetsov took a side kick from Carolina defenseman Brendan Smith, who had a bloody game. Kuznetsov was rattled but stayed in the game (and somehow escaped concussion protocol? Observers got caught sleeping?). I don’t think Kuznetsov’s shot was dirty. Kuznetsov was not vulnerable vulnerable; we all think of him that way.
  • Worsening shorthand, Trevor Van Riemsdyk was saved on the Capitals bench in the third and was unavailable for the rest of the game. The Caps finished this one effectively with three skaters.
  • The Caps played their best three-on-three overtime. I saw them play… ever? Pure domination of the puck and the ice. Orlov, Kuznetsov, Ovechkin, Carlson, Wilson, Backstrom – each stood out.

This is the grueling part of the season where the condensed schedule punished the teams. I feel (this is pure vibe backed by zero research) that tired players are more likely to get injured; back-to-back games are more likely to cause injuries. As much chaotic fun as this game brought in the beginning, it turned unfun when Caps players got bumped into. Stealing even a point of that was a balm. Two points is a blessing.

So now they have the day off to recuperate before hosting Holtby and the Stars on Sunday afternoon. I see you here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to use zirtec.

Main picture: @matthogan712

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