Capitals

Capitals

WASHINGTON – The Capitals finished their six-game homestand off on a high note with a rare 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. With the win, the Caps finished their homestand with a 4-1-1 record, earning nine out of a possible 12 points.

This game marks the first win for Washington against the Kings since Feb. 5, 2017.

Here are five reasons the Caps won.

The top line

Todd Reirden reunited Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson on the top line and the move paid off.

Evgeny Kuznetsov was the star of the night with two goals and two assists, giving him five goals and five assists in his past four games. Ovechkin scored his first goal since the All-Star break with his power play tally and he also added two assists for a three-point effort. Wilson contributed an assist as well.

Alex Ovechkin from the office

Ovechkin scoring from the office is a major part of the Caps’ offense, but we have not seen it as much this year with the team’s struggles on the power play. Ovechkin finally broke through in the first period to put Washington on the board first.

It wasn’t they typical blistering one-timer. The pass from Kuznetsov was at Ovechkin’s feet so he quickly got control and threw it on net. The shot got the job done, however, as it deflected off the stick of defenseman Drew Doughty and through the six-hole of Jonathan Quick, between the blocker and body of the Kings’ netminder.

 

The power play goal was Ovechkin’s first since Jan. 22 and just his third in his last 24 games.

A timely goal from Kuznetsov

The Caps took the lead twice in the first period and allowed the Kings to tie the game twice in less than three minutes. At the start of the second, Los Angeles took its first lead of the game as Oscar Fantenberg scored a shot from the blue line. This time it was the Caps who responded.

This was one of the better games of the season for Kuznetsov and he was very opportunistic on his goal and was ready after some hard work by Wilson.

Alec Martinez grabbed a loose puck right in front of Quick and tried to sweep it away with the backhand, but Wilson got a stick on it and tipped the puck on net, forcing a save from Quick. Kuznetsov was there for the rebound, however, and buried it into the net.

The Kings looked like they were starting to take control of the game, hemming the Caps deep within their own zone early into the period. Kuznetsov put Washington right back in it with his game-tying goal.

A bizarre first for Djoos

Christian Djoos scored his first goal of the season on a play that definitely was not how the coaches drew it up.

Djoos stepped into the offense during a Caps’ rush and took a pass from Ovechkin that forced Quick into the splits to try and cover the net. Djoos did not shoot, however, and looked for the pass back to Ovechkin in the slot. A backchecker for the Kings got his stick on the puck sending it up into the air. It trickled out back to Djoos who poked at it with one hand on his stick. The puck arched its way into the net for the bizarre tally.

Brutal puck watching from the Kings

With the Caps up 4-3 in the second, Los Angeles got caught puck watching leaving Jakub Vrana wide open for a one-timer goal that would prove to be the game-winner.

T.J. Oshie won the puck away from Paul Ladue along the boards and Vrana grabbed it. He passed from the faceoff circle back to the blue line for Michal Kempny. Kempny looked like he was setting up for a long-range wrister, but instead passed the puck right back to a wide-open Vrana who one-timed it past a helpless Quick.

When Vrana passed the puck to Kempny, everyone on the ice in the white jerseys turned to watch. Everyone forgot about Vrana. All five Kings began shifting over to Vrana’s side of the ice and did not even cover the lane for the return pass.

No penalties…after the first period

Penalties have been a hot topic of late and things were not good for Washington to start. The Caps were called for three straight hooking penalties in the first period and allowed a power play goal to Tyler Toffoli.

 

After the first, however, Washington managed to stay out of the box completely.

To recap, the Caps took three minor penalties in the first and were tied 2-2. They did not take a penalty the rest of the game and did not allow another goal. Amazing how that works.

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