“Big Jerk” Evgeny Kuznetsov shines: Capitals best Hurricanes 4-1

In a huge divisional match-up that had major playoff implications, the Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1, behind scoring by T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, and Nick Backstrom. Dougie Hamilton was the sole goal-scorer for the Hurricanes. Given the chances these two teams meet in the playoffs, a win today was huge.

First Period

Washington kicked off the scoring in the first. A wonderful play along the wall by Kuznetsov, followed by a gorgeous pass, found Oshie wide open across the net, who buried the puck for his 23rd of the year.

Second Period

Dougie Hamilton evened up the scoring with 4 minutes to go in the second period. A delayed penalty on the Capitals led to an extra attacker for the ‘Canes. A seeing-eye puck beat Braden Holtby to tie the game.

Third Period

With 5 minutes elapsed in the third period, the top line rushed down the ice. A Wilson pass was rifled by Ovechkin, who was cutting to the middle of the ice. The blistering shot by Ovi beat ‘Canes goalie Petr Mrazek, restoring the Capitals lead.

With a little over 8 minutes left, Orlov and Kuznetsov assisted on a beautiful Carlson goal. A nice pass from Orlov at the point found Carlson wide open for the tip in on the post.

With the Carolina goalie pulled, chants of “we want 50” rained down on the ice. Instead of selfishly shooting on net from 150 feet away, Ovechkin dished the puck to his running mate, Nick Backstrom, who took a peek back at an exhausted Ovi, and fired the puck in the net.

Great Eight Thoughts…

  1. Caps really got stronger as the game went along. Carolina controlled play early with their speed, but Washington responded strongly, constricting a Carolina rush that had very few chances.
  2. A bit of a rough game for Christian Djoos. I thought he looked strong in the Philadelphia game, but he looked slow and weary today.
  3. Prior to puck drop, Head Coach Todd Reirden announced that Vrana was being moved to the 3rd line, with Hagelin taking his spot on line 2. Not too much improvement possession-wise, but they looked fast and hunted down pucks all night.
  4. I loved the defensive structure tonight. Carolina plays with a lot of speed and the Caps neutralized it well.
  5. Bravo Braden Holtby for once again killing it.
  6. Kuznetsov had 3 assists tonight. Even if 2 were secondary assists, you still have to love that production from “The Birdman.”
  7. Ovi sits at 49 goals with 5 games left? 1 goal and he gets his 8th 50-goal season. His goal today ties him with Brendan Shanahan for 13th all-time. What a freaking career.
  1. I like the idea of a back-to-back with Carolina. A potential playoff matchup? I’d like to see some game planning and matching of lines.

Next up is Carolina in Raleigh on Thursday. Go Caps!

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Austen Adcock

Freelance writer, alumni of the University of Mississippi, hockey and baseball connoisseur

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