Alex Ovechkin will get all of the headlines for his performance tonight, and rightfully so. But there was another forward who had an eye-opening effort: Mike Knuble, who is starting to look like the reliable, consistent, net-crashing winger the Caps signed in July to complement Ovechkin on the top line.
Knuble scored two goals tonight -- and both came inside in the crease. After struggling a bit following surgery to repair a broken finger earlier this season, he has five goals in his past five games.
"Six years in a row he's scored more than 20 goals," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Now he's back on that pace. ... I think they're pretty goals."
Check out my gamer here, then come on back for some notes and quotes:
*First, the news of the night. According to the rulebook, Jason Chimera faces an automatic one-game suspension for his fight with Jay Rosehill with 2:38 remaining. Chimera was assessed an instigator penalty, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct.
Coach Bruce Boudreau also will be fined $10,000 because Chimera got the instigator in the final five minutes of the game.
*Boudreau praised Jose Theodore for his effort tonight and his overall resilience during a difficult season. He also said the goalie will likely get the nod Sunday against the Flyers.
"I hope this gets him some confidence," Boudreau said. "He'll probably start on Sunday afternoon. He's a competitor, a battler. He's done it his whole life being a small goaltender with the awards he won. So it's no surprise to me that he's gone in there and is saying, 'The heck with you guys, I'm going to be great.'"
Theodore made 28 saves, including 14 during a pivotal first period and 10 on Niklas Hagman. After that, I thought the Leafs, who were playing for the second time in two days, were done.
*Can't say a whole lot more about Ovechkin. But just when you think you've seen it all, he goes and gets four assists for the first time in his career.
Since being named captain six games ago, the two-time MVP has three goals and nine assists. And tell me if I'm just imagining this ... he also seems to be backchecking with more vigor, right?
*Just hours after being reassured that his sore right wrist is structurally sound, Alexander Semin notched two assists to give him his 16th multi-point game of the season. He also has five goals and four helpers in his past six contests. His spin and dish to Tom Poti was a thing of beauty.
*John Carlson, called up late morning to replace an injured Brian Pothier, arrived around 6:10 after flying in from Albany. The rookie skated 14:32, put two shots on net and earned the red hard hat from his teammates for the effort. The best part of the night, though, was the ovation he received when the starting lineups were announced. It was a thank you for his OT goal in the gold medal game at the world junior championships earlier this month that lifted Team USA to a win over Canada.
"It's pretty cool when you get cheered on like that," Carlson said. "It's cool to recognized like that. But you have to make sure to stay focused on the game, so they're still cheering for you after the game, too."
*Coach Ron Wilson with the quote of the night: "Ovechkin makes things happen. If you play the game with a deer in the headlights [look], then you're probably going to get run over by the car -- like a deer would."
That pretty much sums up tonight's game at Verizon Center.
Practice tomorrow is at 11 a.m.