Another blank for Ovechkin, Caps beat Jets 5-2

The Washington Capitals won their fourth straight game with a thrilling roadie against the Winnipeg Jets. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but that was a good game.

The grinders were tremendous in the first half as Trevor van Riemsdyk conceded Nic Dowd’s pass. On the power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov was left unattended in the slot, so he punished the Jets with a backhander. Marcus Johansson (!) got a penalty (!!) and then actually scored (!!!). Lars Eller grabbed Anthony Mantha’s rebound and suddenly it was 4-0.

Less than a minute into the third period, Cracker frontman David Lowery ended the shutout bid with a rebound goal from the slot. Pierre-Luc Dubois converted a 3v1 charge and suddenly the game was interesting again. Alex Ovechkin got the empty net.

win caps!

  • That was a fun game. Washington’s fourth line started the first period strong, and the energy just spread through the lineup. Winnipeg isn’t a particularly strong team in possession — 49.1 percent in attempted shots and goals expected — but they definitely had the edge on this occasion, especially on close-at-risk shots. What Washington did well was a) generate creative opportunities in the second period, and b) to have Charlie Lindgren.
  • The Capitals have scored a power-play goal in nine of their last ten games.
  • I just wanna scream Nick Dowd. Apart from one penalty, he had an excellent game. A series of heavy shifts in the offensive zone despite starting from the other end of the ice, beauty of an assist for TVR’s goal, typical penalty shootout work. A truly underrated player chasing another great season.
  • Speaking of underrated players, Markus JohansonWashington’s penalty was the first since 2013 when Mikhail Grabovski was a Cap. I think even the public data analysis models miss what makes Marcus work – it’s all the unrecorded micro-events that he runs along the blue lines.
  • Johansson got his penalty just because of that Yevgeny Kuznetsov unleashed him with a brilliant poke pass. Big hustle and bustle from 92.
  • Lars Eller blood drawn with a high stick in the second period. The Caps converted that penalty, scoring from Johansson and Eller scoring a few minutes later. Anton Manta deserves a lot of credit for putting the first shot into the net before Eller’s cleanup. Mantha himself came a fraction of an inch before the second period was over, hampered by the whistle.
  • A distinguished donkey in those first forty minutes was Nat Smith, who made some suspicious defensive plays. Schmidt hasn’t been a star for half a decade, but it was still a disappointing night for him.
  • Dmitry Orlov operational for the first time in more than a month. I didn’t even realize he was on the ice and responsible for the two Jets goals early in the third period. In the meantime, Alex Ovechkin‘s line was creamed by Neal Pionk in close order. It doesn’t matter: Ovechkin later got the empty net, his fourth in three games.
  • I don’t think Tim Burton actually directed much Wednesday. It looks like any teenage CW show with a little more style. Reminiscent of the time Henry Selick got dirty Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Capitals have won four straight games. They have star power returning to the lineup, and more on the way. You are in the wildcard race.

head photo: @Capital Cities

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