When the Caps last met the Flyers, the blood had to be squeegeed off the ice. The December 5th 8-2 smackdown might have been the nadir of the Flyers’ season, and we sorta knew they’d bring everything they had to today’s faceoff. Unfortunately for the Flyers, that “everything” included goalie Ray Emery. By the end of the first period, the Caps had figured out the Philly netminder and began a steady treacle of goals for all sixty minutes. Notably, Brooks Laich emerged from a long goalless streak (in regulation at least) to drive two pucks behind Emery. Caps win, 5 to 3.
Let’s break it down:
- In the post-game conference, head coach Bruce Boudreau said his “much-maligned defense” played pretty well. That might be because they were following the lead of Tom Poti. Poti must have thought Theo needed help in the net, as he took it upon himself to swat away one shot and chest block another during a crucial second-period PK shift.
- Alexander Ovechkin served a delicious rebound to garbage man Mike Knuble in the first, but he had trouble actualizing his offense for the rest of the game. When he stole a lazy puck from Flyers defense in the third, Captain Caveman successfuly drew himself one dandy of a penalty shot. One deke wrister high on Emery’s glove side ended Ovie’s regulation penalty shot drought, put the game far out of reach for Philly, and earned everyone with a ticket free wings at Glory Days. When asked about the shot, Alexander said, “I just wanted to give the fans free chicken wings.” Honestly, we at the Russian Machine are a bit unnerved by how much Alexander has embraced our loving parody of him.
- Brooks Laich had been having some tough games recently. He began the season as one of our top goal producers, but sometime this winter he stopped chasing pucks and fighting in the crease. Tonight Brooksy came back big. His tying goal in the first period was a gloriously messy clean-up, and had this fan skanking around the TV for glee. But Laich was not done. Serving on a penalty-kill unit in the third, Brooks stole the puck and secured a lovely shorty. Brooks also delivered a masterful deflection to Semin for the go-ahead goal in the second. Laich had a 3-point night and earned his player of the game status. Maybe Brooks and Ovie can split a cab to the Palm Restaurant to enjoy their Nova Scotia Lobsters together. Or maybe something else.
- Alexander Semin continues to play hockey at a level miles above the competition. Several of his no-look passes tonight intimated that the Siberian Sasha has a heretofore undiscovered 360-degree radar sense. However, Gabby expressed concern at the post-game that Semin might think his recent success is due to his lack of practice, in the process betraying a bit of static between 28 and the boss. Either way, Semin’s recent offensive success curiously seems to have coincided with the ceasing of any trade buzz. Alex leaves the Verizon Center today with another two points.
- The game can’t be all smiles and shorthanded goals. Swingman Tyler Sloan struggled mightily with the rules of the National Hockey League for sixty minutes. Through the two minor penalties he gathered today, we hope that Sloan had ample time to study and reacquaint himself with the banalities of NHL gameplay. Punching a player in the chin during play, for example, is verbotten.
- And lastly for those of you who were stuck at Verizon Center today, sorry to say you actually missed the best part of the game. During the third period, Hooters’ came out with it’s newest commercial and boy was it raunchy. If you attend the Capitals 11AM practice tomorrow and are wondering what all the players will be doing for lunch, we’re guessing they’ll be attending “More Than A Mouthful Mondays” at the local Washington DC Hooters. The Russian Machine has already RSVP’ed.
All in all, the Caps delivered another stunning exhibition of pro ice hockey. We’re becoming a bit spoiled, I fear, basking in these four+ goal games. But you remember what they said about the man who suddenly got everything he he always wanted? He lived happily ever after (with Lord Stanley’s Cup).
Finally, because I know Caps nation is dying to know, I was wearing my Russian Machine Never Breaks t-shirt tonight (soon to be available in Russia!). The Caps continue to be unbeaten while I don Ovie’s devious smirk on my chest. I don’t know what my fashion calendar will be for Tuesday, but you can be damned sure I’ll be wearing it on Thursday against the Penguins.