Weird Year: The Game: Caps beat Rangers 6-3 – Russian Machine Never Breaks

Some corrupted bastardization of the Washington Capitals summoned an eldritch win over the New York Rangers on Monday night. In a hockey year that has been hockey weird, this game was downright spooky.

There were lot of goals from the shambolic revenants who think they still play Caps hockey. For starters, Nic Dowd scored a rush goal, and Conor Sheary added on with a nifty assist from Michael Raffl.

Mika Zibanejad ended the first period and began the second period with a pair of goals, as he always does against Washington. The Rangers took the lead off Kaapo Kakko’s stick, but Garnet Hathaway tied it up late.

Four minutes into the third period, Daniel Sprong pulled off some more elite moves to restore Washington’s lead. Our only good son Nicky Backstrom fended off two Rangers D to extend the lead. Tom Wilson added an empty-netter.

Caps win.

(No “Bailamos” tonight. House rules.)

  • Alex Ovechkin played one shift, under a minute. He left the game and did not return.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov did not dress for the game due to some team discipline. They were late for some team event.
  • One thing we’ll never know is whether Kuznetsov’s discipline forced Ovechkin to play, or whether Ovechkin’s determination to play allowed the team to sit Kuznetsov. Either way, it was a disastrous series of events.
  • Elsewhere, TJ Oshie missed the game to personal reasons, and Justin Schultz is nursing that same injury. All that resulted in a very shorthanded Caps lineup.
  • And then, in the second period, Tom Wilson punched Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head while he was prone and face down. That set off a brawl, which Ian has dutifully documented for you. Wilson was rightfully punished, and I would not wince he got more. In the immediate aftermath, he left his team’s shortened bench even shorter. I think I’ll be updating this old yarn in a couple days.
  • On the other end of the ice, Artemi Panarin left the game after the second period. I believe that was due to his scrap with Wilson, pictured above.
  • Daniel Sprong‘s go-ahead goal in the third period was his fifth in five games. Folks, he could catch McDavid.

There was a tornado in Frederick tonight. We’re all fine in RMNB land, but it was scary. If you were caught in it, I hope you’re okay. I suppose I was just sorta distracted by it, which is a blessing. But for that distraction I can’t muster my usual outrage over Wilson’s smartness, or my worry for Ovechkin, or my tongue-clucking “boys will be boys” smirk for Kuznetsov and Samsonov.

Tonight was weird, but not really in a fun or funny way. I didn’t like Ovechkin playing and leaving. I didn’t like Tom Wilson being a dipshit. I didn’t like Panarin getting hurt. I didn’t like Kuznetsov and Samsonov being two little rascals.

But I like that the Rangers were officially eliminated, and that a bunch of winsome depth guys gutted it out and played terrifically while down two or three guys. So I’m conflicted.

Like I said: it’s been a weird year.

RMNB Coverage of Caps at Rangers

Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington