On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Caps gave the home crowd something to be thankful for with a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Barry Trotz elected to shake up the offensive lines before the game and it seemed to work. The Caps took control of the game from the drop of the puck and took a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period and never looked back.
Here are the three stars of the game.
1. Jakub Vrana
Vrana opened the scoring by crashing the net and was in perfect position for the rebound off of a shot from Evgeny Kuznetsov. His second goal came off a perfect shot, and I do mean perfect. This was the first multi-goal game of his NHL career and his third multi-point game.
2. Evgeny Kuznetsov
This is why Kuznetsov should shoot more. Vrana's first goal came off a rebound from a shot by Kuznetsov. It was his first even-strength point since Nov. 6. On a power play in the second period, a loose puck came to Kuznetsov's stick. Rather than look for the pass as he has been his tendency, he did not hesitate. He shot it and the result was his third power play goal of the season. Kuznetsov finished with one goal and two assists.
3. Alex Ovechkin
Despite how dominant the first period looked for Washington, they still held only a 1-0 lead. What really set the tone for the game was Ovechkin's first period goal. A quick passing play from Nicklas Backstrom to Alex Chiasson to Ovechkin found the Great 8 behind Ottawa's defense. He finished off the play with the goal to put Washington up 2-0 with just five seconds left in the period. That turned a good period into a dominant one and really set the tone for the start of the second in which the Caps were able to put up another two goals.
Well here's something you don't see every day.
Jakub Vrana put the Caps up 4-0 in the second period with his second goal of the game. The only problem was that no one knew that he had scored...for several seconds.
You can watch the play above.
RELATED: TROTZ REUNITES OVECHKIN, BACKSTROM
Evgeny Kuznetsov carried the puck through the neutral zone and tipped it over to Vrana who was streaking on the left. He fired a shot from the faceoff circle and placed it perfectly short-side to beat Craig Anderson.
Vrana tucked the puck just under the crossbar top center. It was so perfect, the puck got caught in the back bar of the net and no one knew it was there.
The crowd didn't react. The players didn't react. The referee didn't react. Even Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin weren't sure where the puck was at first.
Finally, after several seconds, the referee signaled for the goal. Slowly, the crowd and players began to realize the puck was in the net.
It was quite the delayed reaction. The fans were ecstatic. Vrana? He was cool with it.
Prior to the Capitals' game against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, Barry Trotz told the media he was not changing his lines. Perhaps he was being coy or maybe he changed his mind.
Based on warmups, it appears Trotz has reunited Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the top line. That's just one of a number of changes he made to the offensive lines
Ovechkin - Backstrom - Wilson
Vrana - Kuznetsov - Oshie
Connolly - Eller - Smith-Pelly
Stephenson - Beagle -Chiasson
Orpik - Carlson
Orlov - Niskanen
Chorney - Bowey
Trotz tends to shuffle lines frequently throughout games so just how long we see these combos remains to be seen. These lines, however, are a stark departure from Trotz's thinking over the course of the season. He has seemingly been reluctant to put Ovechkin and Backstrom back together. But, given the scoring slumps the team's top offensive players are seeing now, a change needed to be made.
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