Scoring drought? What scoring drought? The Capitals tallied four times in the first 25 minutes Wednesday night against the rival Penguins and pulled away for an emphatic 7-1 victory at Verizon Center.
How it happened: The question hockey fans all around the DMV have been pondering the past couple of week is, ‘Where did the Capitals’ high-scoring offense go?’ As it turns out, it didn’t go anywhere. It just took a few games off. Anyway, it’s back—for now, at least—after lighting up the defending champions on national television. T.J. Oshie (two goals, two assists) scored shorthanded just 7:32 into the game. And Braden Holtby took it from there.
What it means: It means everyone can stand down. The emergency has been cancelled. The Caps knocked off an elite team for the second time in four games and pulled even with the Penguins with 22 points in 16 games.
For starters: With Oshie’s shorty, the Capitals have now scored first in 13 of 16 games this season. Their work in the first period, however, was far from done. They also got goals from Backstrom (two goals, three assists) and another from Oshie. The outburst marked the first time all season the Capitals stuck three times in the opening stanza and just the second time they tallied a three times in a period.
Stone paws: Jay Beagle often jokes that he has hands of stone. Maybe he does, but they’re getting the job done these days. Beagle earned an assist on Oshie’s shorthanded goal, putting the grinder among the league leaders in shorthanded points, with two in four games (he scored a shorty in Chicago.) Overall, Beagle has three goals and three assists in his last nine games.
Friendly fire: The turning point of the game came late in the first period when Evgeni Malkin’s stick accidentally struck an unmasked Matt Murray in the face. Murray headed to the locker room and the Caps wasted no time testing Marc Andre Fleury. Fleury stopped the first shot he faced, but Oshie was there on the power play to clean up the garbage and put the Capitals ahead 3-0 just eight seconds before the first intermission.
On the defensive: Dmitry Orlov scored his first goal of the season and his first since March 9 of last season (in Los Angeles), a span of 32 regular season games. Orlov now has points in three of the last four games. He wasn’t the only D to get on the score sheet, though. Matt Niskanen, John Carlson, Nate Schmidt and Brooks Orpik all registered assists.
Ovi okay: Ovechkin went to the dressing briefly in the second period after getting tripped by Kris Letang and landing hard on his left wrist/arm/shoulder. Ovechkin missed the ensuing power play but returned moments later for another man advantage. In the third period, Ovechkin scored his eighth goal on a breakaway to put the Caps ahead 6-0 and an exclamation point on a wild night.
Look ahead: Wednesday night’s game began a five game homestand for the Capitals. The team is off Thursdaybefore hosting Mike Green and the Red Wings on Fridaynight. The Blue Jackets, Blues and Sabres also make stops in Washington on the season-long homestand.