Bird In A Cage - Devon Toews scored late in the second period of Saturday's matinee match on Long Island, his goal giving the Islanders a 4-1 lead over the visiting Capitals at 17:25. At that juncture of the afternoon - and having produced the first three-point performance of his 95-game career in the league -Toews felt sufficiently emboldened to break into a mocking version of the "bird celly," a post-goal jubilation jig minted and trademarked by Washington's own Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Not quite four months into the 2019-20 season, if we've learned anything, we've learned not to count the Capitals out of a game. On Saturday afternoon against the Islanders in New York, Washington issued yet another stout reminder of exactly that.
Baby Just Break - The Caps are on Long Island for a Saturday Metro Division matinee match against the New York Islanders, the last game for Washington ahead of its midseason bye week/All-Star break. After Saturday's game with the Isles, the Caps are off until Jan. 26, when they practice in Montreal ahead of a game there with the Canadiens a night later.
The Main Thing - Facing the New Jersey Devils for the second time in a three-game homestand, the Caps were looking to avenge a subpar performance in the first of those meetings, a 5-1 Devils win on Saturday night. Washington put forth a strong response in the middle match of the homestand - a 2-0 win over Carolina on Monday - but on Thursday, it sought to show the Devils what they didn't see on Saturday, namely one of the best teams in the NHL.
From the drop of the puck on Thursday night against New Jersey at Capital One Arena, the Caps seemed hell bent on making amends for an ugly 5-1 loss here at the hands of the Devils on Saturday night. They came out with purpose and drive, and they could have been up by multiple goals in the first couple minutes of the game.
Keep The Devil Down - The Caps have a rematch with the New Jersey Devils tonight at Capital One Arena, five nights after the Devils dismantled them 5-1 in the opener of their three-game homestand. Washington got right with a strong performance in a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday in the middle match of the homestand, and now it seeks to make amends for one of its poorest outings in its first 47 games of the season.
Contract negotiations are almost always a tricky and sticky subject in the NHL, particularly in the case of players whose 30th birthdays are in the rear-view mirror. But when team and player enter into those negotiations with similar goals, the process and the journey to a deal can be smoother, and the outcome can be amenable to both sides.
Sam's On - Only twice in 47 games this season have the Capitals entered a game having lost each of their two previous outings in regulation, and both of those instances have occurred within the last two weeks. Both times, the Caps faced the Carolina Hurricanes, the team that ousted them from the playoffs last season. And both times, rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov halted Washington's short slide with a solid performance and a victory.