Siegenthaler's first goal, the second line is so hot right now and the non Wilson-Reaves rematch

J.J. Regan
NBC Sports Washington

Raise your hand if you had Jonas Siegenthaler scoring the game-winner on Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights. Anyone? Believe it or not, the rookie defenseman's first goal of his NHL career was, in fact, the game-winner in the Caps' 5-2 victory over Vegas.

Check out the game recap here.

Observations from the win

No fisticuffs for Wilson and Reaves

This was a feisty game with a lot of pushing and shoving after the whistle. T.J. Oshie got so fed up at one point, he just took down Brayden McNabb. Pretty much everyone was involved...except for Tom Wilson and Ryan Reaves.

Wilson and Reaves said all the right things before the game, diffusing any potential fireworks we could possibly see stemming from last year's late hit that Reaves delivered to Wilson. Even if they wanted to, it would have been hard for them to go after one another considering they were never on the ice at the same time. Wilson and Reaves were both on the ice together for a grand total of 1:46. There was no player on Vegas that Wilson played less against than Reaves.

Even if they had wanted to go after each other, they really did not have the opportunity to do it. That worked out just fine for the Caps who would have lost that trade-off between Wilson and Reaves if they both ended up in the box for fighting.

The second line is red-hot

In the last four games, Wilson has four goals and four assists, Jakub Vrana has five goals and two assists and Evgeny Kuznetsov has one goal and six assists. That line is really clicking right now.

"They're definitely getting some chemistry," Todd Reirden said. "I think they're really reading off one another, I think they're playing a complete game. Not all of it's coming off of offensive zone and rush plays, some of it's coming off of faceoffs, some of it's coming off of playing in D zone first and getting rush opportunities. They have obviously a lot of speed on that line on both wings and obviously Kuzy is an elite skater so they've been able to create a lot of opportunities."

Braden Holtby has rebounded

On Oct. 14, Holtby was pulled in a game against the Colorado Avalanche after giving up three goals on the first three shots he faced. Since then, Holtby has gone 7-0-1 with a .920 save percentage.

Offensive output

The Caps have played 18 games this season and have scored four goals or more in 12 of those games. The Caps consciously gave up goal scorers to focus on defense in the offseason and yet the offense is currently leading the NHL with 4.06 goals per game.

"I was pretty confident we were going to score goals this year," Reirden said. "We made some decisions personnel-wise as an organization that we let a few goals leave our organization and the idea of trying to become a more well rounded, more difficult team to play against, better penalty killing, better two-way play. If you install the right system within that and you have the buy-in from players about what you're trying to accomplish as a team then you're going to have success with the skill level that we have. It's good to see obviously Nick [Backstrom] get a couple today, but you're starting to get contributions from defenseman and the second line has been really hot lately."

That last part there is key. How does the offense keep clicking with a top-heavy top six and virtually no offense from the third line? It's the defense. The contributions from the defense have been absolutely key to the offense clicking and we saw that again on Saturday with Jonas Siegenthaler scoring the game-winner to go along with John Carlson's two assists and Dmitry Orlov's one.

Turning point

In the moment I thought the answer would be Siegenthaler's goal. In a 2-1 game in which neither team could gain control, Siegenthaler's goal seemed like the moment that would break open the game for Washington. Then Garnet Hathaway took a penalty, Vegas scored on the power play and it was a one-goal game again. You knew the game was over though in the third period when Backstrom squeezed one past Marc-Andre Fleury.

Play of the night

Not only did Siegenthaler score his first goal of his NHL career, but he did it on the one-year anniversary of his NHL debut. That deserves a tip of the cap.

Stat of the night

When you pass a legendary player like Scott Stevens, you know you're doing something right.

Quote of the night

Siegenthaler sounding real casual about his first goal:

"I kind of saw the free ice in the middle and I saw [Travis Boyd] turning up. I was like yeah let's jump in there and he saw me."

Fan predictions

The only fight these two had was to see who could downplay their rivalry more.

Reaves was about the only player with no bite for Vegas on Saturday.

Carl Hagelin is a huge part of the power play, but the Caps managed to allow only one goal on four opportunities and a lot of those came at critical moments.

You got the two-goal scorers right thanks to an empty-netter for Backstrom. That feels like the fan prediction equivalent to a backdoor cover.

OK, I guess you'll have to keep predicting it. Someone had the same strategy about a Radko Gudas goal, but they eventually gave up.


Siegenthaler's first goal, the second line is so hot right now and the non Wilson-Reaves rematch originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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