Sweet Revenge! Caps Beat Pens 6-3

Nicky Backstrom keeps the power play perfect

Nicky Backstrom keeps the power play perfect

“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.
  • "Oh."


    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!

The Capitals have an untarnished record while Peter is wearing this t-shirt.

The Capitals have an untarnished record while Peter is wearing this t-shirt.

  • Bobbielynn

    Nice picture, and of course I don’t mean the one of Dan Bylsma, unless that was the face he was making after the Capitals scored one of their six goals last night.
    What a game, what a game. A bit shaky at first, but things finished out the way they were supposed to, I’d say.
    Major props go to Semin, of course, Flash made that goal, but Semin made one nice pass to get him the puck. Then again, I’m sure if you asked Semin about it, he’d say it was a piece of cake.
    Ovie played well offensively, as well as defensively. He was all over the place, as usual, and I’d say his goal topped Crosby’s. (considering the fact he actually had to shot the puck to get his)
    To all the Theo bashers out there, the first goal was all his fault, I’ll give you that, his bad, right? But please tell me you did not miss the rest of his performance, he was standing on his head on there in the 3rd period! He made 13 saves alone, in just the 3rd. And if you don’t believe the stats, go watch the game again, it’ll be on again soon enough.
    Congrats to Carlson on getting his first NHL point. Yes, it was only an assist, and it wasn’t even the primary assist, but he’s up on the board, and he keeps on being a + player, averaging out a +1 per game, that’s pretty nice for a 20 year old rookie, wouldn’t you say?
    Of course, I can’t leave anyone out, it was a team play, all game. The team did good from a shaky start in goal, to a great finish for Theo. A bit of a shaky start for the defense, but finished off well, (ShaMo had two assists, one penalty, one shot on goal, and was a +3, look who’s turning into Mike Green over here). And to a pretty nice performance from our offense. I’d say, I can’t wait to see that done again soon!

    Oh, and Peter, keep up the good work on wearing that shirt, I’d like to see the Caps record grow even strong in the ‘wins’ category.

  • Hell yeah, Bobbielynn.

    Thanks for the remarks. I think I’ve had the shirt since Ovie’s first game as captain, and I didn’t wear it the game the Caps lost.

    And thank you for sticking up for Theo! His first goal was unacceptable, but that’s about it. It would’ve been great if he coulda covered up on the 2nd goal, but those slapshots were too damn fast. It’s the job of defense to stay on top of rebounds if the’re unavoidable.

    I loved this game, so being able to bicker about imperfections in a win is a privilege.

  • Bobbielynn

    Not a problem, I’m known for throwing my “two-cents” in there, even if it’s not needed.

    Truthfully and honestly, I’m sick of Theo bashers. Obviously they are blind to all the amazing saves he’s made. Obviously they are blind to his stats the past 5 games. He is a good goaltender, who like most, tends to make mistakes, but hell, we all do. But he does what he has to do to win a game. If that involves standing on his head to make a save, he does that. If that involves him getting an assist, hell, he’ll do it.
    You obviously can’t win them all. I’d like to see a team go 82-0-0 in the regulars season, and 16-0-0 in the playoffs, but that sure as hell isn’t going to happen. And when a team loses, it’s as if it’s all the goaltenders fault. Hello, there are 18 others players out there. 18 teammates to help the goaltender out.

    It was good to The Caps got that last night, not for the whole game, but for most of it, with the defense doing what the could, and the offense up there scoring goals, and playing a little D along with that.

  • Hell yeah, Bobbielynn. Next time somebody trashes Theo, remind them of the multiple 40+ save games he’s had this year.

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