Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/6/13
The list of things that went right for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night is long and noteworthy. Alex Ovechkin returned from a two-game absence to score twice and add an assist. Marcus Johansson, occasionally frustrated, scored his first goal. The relentless power play scored four times in six chances, and the night ended with Ovechkin smearing a shaving cream pie across the face of rookie Tom Wilson, a baptism in honor of Wilson’s first NHL goal. “I thought it was our best game,” Coach Adam Oates said. “I think by far it felt like we were the most ready to play a complete hockey game tonight.” So after the 6-2 trouncing of the potentially potent New York Islanders at Verizon Center, the Capitals may be in a position to which they are fairly unaccustomed this season: with a chance to build real momentum. The victory was their third in a row and sixth in eight games, and it helped them both leapfrog the Islanders into second place in the Metropolitan Division and climb above .500. Their power play looked lethal, securing its spot among the best in the game, and the penalty kill — which thwarted the Islanders on each of their five chances — continued to show it could be considered top-flight, too. “This is what we need to be every night and every practice,” said Nicklas Backstrom, who chipped in with three assists. “I think we can build off this. . . . It would be nice to get on a winning streak.” Though there is tough competition ahead — Minnesota at home on Thursday, followed by road games against Western Conference heavyweights Phoenix and Colorado — Tuesday showed what the Capitals can be. They trailed 1-0 after the first period, and then took the game over. Defenseman John Carlson opened the scoring by taking advantage of a sloppy Islanders’ clear, and then the goals came rapid-fire — almost corresponding to New York penalties. Ovechkin’s first of the night came just three seconds into a power play, off a faceoff win from Backstrom. Though the Islanders tied it up 17 seconds later, Johansson put the Capitals up for good, whacking in a rebound on the power play to make it 3-2 with 13 minutes left in the second. “I just took a whack at it,” Johansson said. It didn’t matter how he scored, just that he did, and his addition to the score sheet put further emphasis on Oates’s mixed-and-matched lines for Tuesday, an exercise made necessary by Ovechkin’s return from a shoulder injury. Oates kept Marin Erat on the top line with Ovechkin and Backstrom, and put Johansson, who has spent most of his time at wing, in the center of the second line. “I think I’m getting a little more used to it,” Johansson said. “The first couple games, it was a little different. But I think the more times I’ve played center, it feels better and better.”
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