The Caps avoided the trap game against the scrappy Canucks with a dominant 3-1 win on Tuesday. Here's how.
Two bizarre goals
Don't get me wrong, the Caps were the better team in this game, but they were lucky too. Washington tied the game at 1 in the first period on a bizarre goal in which the net was actually tipped over onto goalie Jacob Markstrom. The net never came off its moorings. Michael Del Zotto came to his netminder's rescue, but John Carlson fired the puck through Markstrom just as Del Zotto got the net back on the ice. In the second period, Kuznetsov extended the Caps' lead to 3-1 as the rebound of his initial shot took a lucky bounce past Markstrom. Just what it hit exactly is unclear—it was either Kuznetsov's stick as he swung at the rebound, Erik Gudbranson's glove or both—but it still counted to put Washington up by 2.
RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE CAPS-CANUCKS GAME
The second period
Usually the Caps' weakest frame, the second period was when Washington really took control of the game. Washington was dominant on both ends of the ice and outshot Vancouver 18-4 for the period. Kuznetsov's goal put Washington up by 2, but it felt like 20 by the time both teams headed for the locker room.
Bottling up Boeser
If the NHL season ended today, Brock Boeser would likely win rookie of the year. Coming into the game, Boeser led the Canucks in goals with 22. No one else had more than 12. He led Vancouver in points with 40. No one else had more than 29. Clearly, Boeser has established himself as the Canucks' top offensive threat, but he was invisible in this game. Through the first two periods, he did not have a single shot attempt. He finally got two shots on goal in the third period with a missed shot for good measure, but by then the game was no longer in doubt.
MORE CAPITALS: YOU NEED TO SEE THIS GOAL BY JOHN CARLSON BECAUSE YOU PROBABLY WON'T SEE ANOTHER GOAL LIKE IT AGAIN
Philipp Grubauer standing tall
Grubauer usually gets some pretty lousy assignments. This time, he got a start at home two days after the Caps' last game. With a rested team in front of him and some goal support to work with, Grubauer did the rest. He ultimately turned aside 37 of Vancouver's 38 shots with the lone goal coming on a two-man advantage in the first period. As dominant was Washington was in this one, a Canucks goal in the third period would have pulled them within one making it a game. Grubauer made sure that did not happen.
Alexander Ovechkin's offseason continues to be one for the books.
Just a week removed from celebrating with the Stanley Cup in Moscow, Ovechkin was named Best Male Athlete Wednesday night at the 2018 ESPYs.
The 32-year-old is the first NHL player to win the award since it was first introduced in 1993.
"The Great Eight" beat out Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
Ovechkin was not in Los Angeles to accept the award.
Can Alex Ovechkin still challenge for another Rocket Richard Trophy?
Inside Alex Ovechkin's Weekend Party with the Stanley Cup in Russia
On Wednesday night ESPN hosts their yearly sports award show, the ESPYs, to celebrate the best of the last 365 days in sport.
One thing they will not be celebrating, or did not even consider celebrating, was Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
This year there were 16 plays nominated to be the “Best Play” and were seeded into a bracket. For the past month fans have been voting in each head-to-head matchup culminating in four pretty outstanding plays:
All of those plays can be viewed here.
Three of those four were in a championship game, the other was a just a once in a lifetime play from a teenager.
But the ESPYs are saying that there are 16 plays from this past year that were better than Holtby’s save… Can we really believe that? Everyone loves buzzer beaters, but they accounted for six of the 16 plays. One of them could have easily gotten bumped.
And aside from the three listed above there were only two that were in the championship event for each sport. Holtby could have rounded it out for six.
We’re not saying that Holtby’s play was the best in the past year, or even in the top four. Heck, there should be no one that tops Ogunbowale’s incredible heroics. But arguably the best play in D.C. sports history not making the top-16 for best plays in a 365 day period?
It must have been one heck of a sports year.
For those that are nominated, Alex Ovechkin is a finalist for Best Male Athlete and Best NHL Player. The Capitals are in the running for Best Team.