John Carlson's incredible season continued as he scored twice Wednesday to lead the Capitals to the 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. In the dreaded California road trip. Washington now sits 2-0-0 with only Friday's game in Anaheim remaining.
Here is how the Caps won.
What can you even say at this point?
One day after tallying three points in San Jose, Carlson came up big again scoring twice in the first period to make sure this game was never really in doubt.
Kings forward Trevor Lewis was trying to corral a bouncing puck in the offensive zone. Carlson saw that and attacked, stealing the puck away and sprinting down the ice. Carl Hagelin was with him but cut behind him leaving Carlson with no pass options. Instead, he called his own number and fired a wrister that hit off the far post and into the net. It was not clear, but the puck may have ramped up off the stick of defenseman Matt Roy.
Later in the first, Lars Eller battled for a puck in the corner of the offensive zone. He got it away from traffic up to T.J. Oshie. At that moment, Carlson was on the far side and recognized he was wide open. He charged towards the net and received a great pass from Oshie to put him in alone on goalie Jonathan Quick. Quick thought Carlson was going high the whole time and was leaning forward to make himself big to cover up high. By leaning forward, however, he committed himself and could not adjust as Carlson smartly stick-handled around and behind him.
That goal would prove to be the game-winner.
Carlson's goals were the 10th and 11th of the season making him the sixth Cap with at least 10 goals this season.
The penalty kill
Washington got arguably its best penalty killer back in the lineup for Tuesday's game in San Jose. The Caps did not take any penalties against the Sharks, however, so the team did not get the full impact of Hagelin's return. He got plenty of time to show off his penalty-killing acumen on Wednesday, however, as the Caps gave up three power play opportunities.
Washington killed off all three of those power plays to maintain their lead. Hagelin led the team with 3:55 of shorthanded ice time.
It was not just the penalty kill, the Caps defense as a whole was strong. Los Angeles was limited to just 44 shots with only 23 of those attempts getting in on net.
Ilya Samsonov was strong despite one mistake behind the net that led to the Kings' lone goal of the game and turned aside from the remaining 22 shots he faced.
The Caps did a great job of limiting Los Angeles' opportunities with key plays. Oshie took a penalty late in the second as he slashed Anze Kopitar to deny him a chance when he had gotten inside of Carlson in front of the net. Jonas Siegenthaler delivered a picture-perfect 2-on-1 defense as he timed his slide perfectly to cut off the passing lane and make sure the Caps would escape without even giving up a shot. Those key defensive plays stifled the Kings all night.
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