Capitals win again as Kuemper blanks Flames 3-0
The Washington Capitals hosted the Calgary Flames in a rare weekday matinee game on Black Friday and the result could not have gone better. Clad in their black reverse retro uniforms, the Capitals benefitted from standout performances by T J Oshie, Darcy Kuemper and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuemper backstopped the home team to 32 saves for his second shutout of the season.
Each period featured a goal by the Capitals. Oshie opened the scoring at 7:56. Alex Ovechkin began the play with a cross-ice pass to Erik Gustafsson. Gustafsson then skated into the slot and dispatched a pass while off balance to Oshie who was trailing the play. Oshie snapped in the goal causing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” to ring out in the CapitalOne arena, much to the fans’ delight.
Kuznetsov scored the Capitals’ second goal in the second period in spectacular fashion. Receiving a pass from Oshie at center ice, he skated into the offensive zone past two defenders. As he reached the slot area, he was dragged down by Flames defenseman Chris Tanev. Despite this, he managed to slide the puck around goalie Jacob Markstrom’s outstretched leg. The goal is his third of the season and was scored at 16:37 of the period.
Kuemper made several key saves in the final period to keep the game’s momentum in favor of his team including several during the two instances of the Capitals being shorthanded. The Capitals were awarded a power play of their own just after the halfway point of the period. After several close chances, Conor Sheary fanned on his first pass attempt but got the puck to Ovechkin who was waiting at his usual left circle position. The captain collected the puck using a kicking motion to place it on his stick. He then fired a shot that rifled its way in between Markstrom’s stick hand and body for his 11th of the season at 12:24.
NOTES—Kuemper, Oshie, and Kuznetsov were named the first second, and third stars of the game respectively. The Capitals will begin a long road trip that will not see them return to the DMV for 2 weeks. Sonny Milano collected two assists while skating on the line with Oshie and Kuznetsov. The win marks the first time in a month that the Caps have collected consecutive victories. Ironically that win came against their next opponent, the New Jersey Devils. Start time for their game tomorrow night is 7 PM ET at Prudential Center.