My job is not easy tonight, friends. This game obeyed no laws of hockey that I know to be true, and it shakes me to my very core. The Tampa Bay Lightning take two points and a victory away from their 7-4 win over the Washington Capitals, but they leave questions and doubts in the minds of Caps fans worldwide. For starters, wtf just happened?
Let’s get this over with:
- Lil Goalstopper Supreme Michal Neuvirth was tested relentlessly in the first period, and he was found wanting. He delivered a couple great stops, sure, but four pucks got past him. Neuvi-not-Neuvy can share the blame with an incompetent defensive force, but he certainly earned the hook Boudreau offered him after the first period.
- Nicklas Backstrom has a reputation for being a self-disciplined playmaker, but tonight he flipped the bill. Backy gave up two poorly timed penalties and created no plays.
- Mike Green scored two great goals and flirted with the Hat to no avail.
- After a missed call, Alexander Ovechkin got into a brawl with Tampa Bay right winger repeat offender Steve Downie. The two split minors, but upon exiting the box Downie instigated another fight. Kapitan was dropping his gloves when all of a sudden
- Matt Bradley, who is probably the heart and soul of this team, takes his boss’ spot in the fray. I guess Brad could not allow the games best weapon to be locked up for another penalty. That’s a real team-player move, and we commend him for it. If we had a sense of humor, we might even make a joke. For his heroism, Bradley was given a game misconduct.
- David Steckel and his baby face even got in on the fight action. For some reason the Eddie Haskell of the Caps agreed to drop gloves with ultimate warrior Zenon Konopka. Steck put his dukes up, and landed a lovely first cross, but that was pretty much it. The refs must have decided to break up the fight when Zenon’s arms got tired.
- The Bolts grabbed 4 power play goals. Excepting a few bright spots from Brian Pothier, the Caps’ defense were inequal to the task of stumping Tampa Bay’s …electrifying… offense. (You know we’re unhappy with the game when we let a horrible pun that like that make it to post.)
- Here’s a bright spot. The Caps led shots on goal 16-5 in the second period. We’d like to think that Ovechkin roused his teammates from sleepwalking through the first. In the same manner, we suspect it was Captain Caveman who led the team into the barfight-on-ice that concluded the game.
There’s more to say about this game. As Master Blogger Ian “Oland-is-the-kind-of-hammer-you-want-on-your-back-end” (and yes that’s a Craig Laughlin quote) Oland said, tonight felt like a few dozen games strung together. Frankly, we’re demoralized. The Capitals got outplayed and outfought for fifty nine minutes and fifty nine seconds. We’re thankful that the officials handed out a mercy kill and spared us that last, grizzly second.
The Washington Capitals have THREE more games to play this week. Tomorrow night the boys from Chinatown will drag their bruised carcasses to Sunrise, Florida. Here’s the part where I usually say something optimistic, but it’s hard to be plucky when your favorite team just got beaten up– figuratively and literally.