“Can’t lose.” – Me, 22 hours ago.
It’s hard not to sound like an amateur here. There are expectations when committing a game to print. We must write with a detached, sober tone befitting the excellent journalistic standards demanded by our audience.
Well, screw that noise. Tonight’s game deserves hollerin’, and hollerin’ is what we will give it. It’s not often that the Caps get a chance to redeem themselves against their biggest rival. It’s been only eight months since Washington sputtered out in that notorious game 7, and the memory is still fresh in our minds. But like Ray, Egon, and Venkman before them, the Washington Capitals have exorcised the ghost of that loss in tonight’s stunning 6-3 game. Vindication is the word you’re looking for.
Let’s exalt our returning heroes.
- Alexander Ovechkin. The Russian Machine was running smooth tonight. His power play goal was only half of the team’s perfect performance with the man advantage. His pool shot to an empty net sealed the Penguin’s coffin. Ovie was not stingy with the hits either, and despite getting dinged a few times, he was the most physical dude on the ice. And drawing a penalty from Guerin (and his sweet porn ‘stache)? Brilliant.
- Mike Knuble concretizes his reputation as The Garbage Man. Kanoobs picked up AO’s trash for the Caps’ first goal and continued to threaten Brent Johnson all night.
- Eric Fehr earned his goal through pure subterfuge. Fehr feigned as if he were going to circle behind the net, but turned at the last moment to stuff the puck behind a clueless Pittsburgh netminder. The point was nice, but Fehr’s psy-ops might have been more devastating.
Alex Semin sent Tomas Fleischmann a glorious saucer and afforded him a crucial breakaway at the beginning of the third. Flash sniped the top corner and delivered the game-winning goal for the team. This is all well and good, but the real distinction for Tomas was the one monster hit he delivered. You know it’s a vicious game when sweet, softspoken Tomas gets in on the action.
- Jose Theodore gave up the opening goal in a tragicomic disaster. Theodore failed to clear his puck and sent it wandering towards his own net. In the ensuing confusion, Theo seemed to give up on the play before the goal was sunk. A goof like that can suck a goalie out a game, but Jose came back harder. By the third period, Theo had erected an invisible brick wall in front of his net. I still notice an overeagerness among Caps fans to lambast Theo for mistakes made by the defense, and I plan to unleash a string of profanity the likes of which the tri-state area has never seen if this happens again. Theo is our man between the pipes, and we’re glad to have him.
- The Caps managed to stay dominant on both ends of the ice despite a lack of marquee defensive players. John Erskine and Bryan Pothier continue to heal, Quentin Laing is out, and Mike Green was a gametime scratch. Thank goodness we had The Hero of Saskatoon John Carlson and the always dutiful Tom Poti covering. The D squad should take the blame for the Pens’ second goal (not Theo!), but they did an admirable job tonight. Now, if anyone has an inside track on Mike Green’s illness, let me know. I have feeling he caught something in one of those strip clubs in Sunrise, FL.
- Hey, The Pensblog. I was trying to post some funny JPEGs on your site, but it was down during the 3rd period, dude. Next time, right? If you come to Chinatown for a game, we’ll buy you a pint. P.S. – sorry about your team. XoXo.
- Blogtator Ian Oland and his statistic whiz-kid Daniel Moroz attended the Japers Rink/Puck Daddy viewing party tonight. Apparently all the area bloggers and fans (and TheHornGuy) got together to whet their pixel-stained whistles whilst watching Washington win. I’m sad I missed it, but I think my penchant for throwing silverware at the TV would not have been welcome. Besides, some of those people can’t even get the blog’s name right. It’s Russian Machine Never Breaks, not Russian Machine Does Not Break. Get it right. Nyah!
So, the Capitals should be riding high right now. In back-to-back games they’ve dismissed both of last year’s Cup finalists. Tonight’s match-up represented the precise manner of depth and fortitude that can make a long and fruitful post-season possible. The psychological boost of burying the damned Penguins can’t hurt either. Historically, this is the time when the Caps can fall into a rut and start blowing easy games. And on that note, we’ll see you Saturday– when the Caps somehow lose to the Coyotes!
Oh, and a final note! The shirt remains undefeated. Скоро в России!