The Washington Capitals extended their current win streak to four games by edging past the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday. Braden Holtby was excellent in goal with 33 saves while forward Marcus Johansson continued his rejuvenated form the second line with a goal and an assist.
Credit head coach Adam Oates with putting Johansson on the second line; there is more chemistry and point-scoring on that line now with Johansson meshing well with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer. Johansson should stay on the second line as he’s getting more shots, more points and playing some excellent hockey of late.
Minnesota is a tricky team to play against; they seldom turn the puck over and have the second-best power play unit in the NHL behind the Caps. Not to mention, they employ the No. 1 goaltender in the league, Josh Harding. This was a big win for the Caps, a morale boosting and uplifting victory that they need to keep building upon.
Holtby was magnificent between the pipes, and that’s vital for a team like the Caps. In the past, they have won and lost games based on their netminder’s performance. When the goalie is confidently stopping shots, the D-men and the forwards feed off that confidence. It’s a win-win-win situation.
The Caps have outscored their last four opponents 18-6. Alex Ovechkin is on fire (again), tallying his 13th goal of the season on Thursday. He currently sits one goal behind Alexander Steen of the St. Louis Blues on the NHL goal-scoring chart. This is the Caps team we’ve all been waiting for. The real Washington Capitals have stepped forward.