After their win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, 12/21 the Captials were on a six game streak. With a looming holiday break a key question was could the Capitals maintain their momentum? Tonight, not only did the Capitals increase their win count to seven in a row, the second and third lines showed us that they can lead the charge.
In tonight’s game against the Canadiens, it was second line center Evgeny Kuznetsov who drew the first score but it was the third line that got the start and it was the third line that took center ice. Two of the NHL’s Stars of the Game — Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson– are third line forwards while Nate Schmidt is a rookie defenseman. Regarding Jason Chimera, the third forward on the third line, “we [Beagle, Chimera and Wilson] were joking how we didn’t sweep the podium on the stars. Schmitty got the third star, he played great”, said Wilson.
These Capitals, typically strong supporting cast members, were the stars of the show tonight at Verizon Center. Beagle tallied his goal early in the second period. He has earned a point in two straight games and the Capitals are 21-0-5 when Beagle scores a goal and 9-0-1 when he scores a point. Chimera also earned a goal and an assist. Wilson said, “I don’t ever think I’ve seen Chimmer skate so fast and that’s saying a lot because he blew right by their guy on that goal.” Chimera also earned an assist tonight, marking his sixth multi-point game of the season and the 54th of his career. Chimera has earned a point in four consecutive games. Wilson tallied two assists, marking his second multi-assist game of the season (11/12 at PHI) and his third career multi-assist game.
With the Montreal Canadiens effectively shutting down the goal-scoring efficacy of the top line, it was the depth of talent among the other Capitals lines that enabled a win over the Habs. “A lot of times our top line has to carry the load. This team relies on different people to contribute and when there’s an extra goal or two from the third line – tonight we got two – makes us even more dangerous when those guys are contributing,” said Coach Barry Trotz. It was the strength of our second and third line forwards that facilitated the 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadians and that will fuel future wins for the Capitals.
By Stephanie Judge