Wings for Stevie K! Caps beat Ducks 5-1

Ovechkin scores a minute in - Caps Beat Ducks 5-1

Steve Eminger returns. No he still can't play defense. (Photos not by Stevie K)

Steve Eminger returns. No he still can't play defense. (Photos not by Stevie K)

I’ll admit it– wearing my undefeated Mean, Mean Russian Machine t-shirt tonight, I was a little worried about tonight’s game. It’s not as if the Ducks are a west coast powerhouse or that the Caps are missing players; it’s just that the streak has to break sometime. Why not tonight and against a lesser opponent, the kind the Capitals used to play down against.

It only took forty some minutes for the Capitals to wake up. The home team dominated the first period, but had only a 1-0 game to show for it. The second period was a sleepy affair, and gave the Ducks a chance to tie it up. But early in third period, the Caps reached deep into their bag of tricks and pulled out a game-winning goal from Shaone Morrisonn. Let me state that again: Shaone Morrisonn (0 goals in the last whole-bunch-of games) scored the go-ahead goal tonight. And that’s when the flood gates opened. Within less than three minutes, the Caps delivered two more notches. The Ducks tried to muster up some bluster with some good, old-fashioned hockey violence, but to no avail. Caps beat Ducks 5-1.

Bullets, anyone?

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Photo Dump Fail: Caps vs Ducks

Friend-of-the-blog Stevie K. is rinkside tonight at the Verizon Center. As you can see below, his seats are wicked close. He’s going to have a great view of Theo Varly Neuvi. Click on the photos to see them at full resolution! We’ll be updating this post all night long!

Warmups:

Money Seats!

Money Seats!

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Russian Machine Sometimes Breaks: Surfing the Zenith

The period after Christmas and before the break is typically when teams struggle the most.  It’s odd then that Washington Capitals have made January their most winning month.  The last thing any team wants to do is peak too soon, especially before the end of the regular season. After winning seven thunderous games in a row, it’s about time the Caps come back down to Earth and mount another surge for the post-season. To ensure that, here are some injury updates:

  • Jose Theodore skipped the final period of last night’s Islanders game. As per usual, the Caps staff declined to describe the nature Theo’s injury beyond the perfunctory “lower-body injury.” I’ve reviewed the game tape, but I’m unable to ascertain the nature of the injury. As such, Russian Machine has commissioned his (smokin-hot) wife Stéphanie to investigate Jose’s lower body more vigorously.
  • Our spies at Kettler shoe-phoned to inform us that Semyon Varlamov is skating today. Semyon’s lower half has completely failed him since December; we hope his junk is still under warranty. It’s encouraging that Varly is skating, but he is definitely not taking shots. The Olympics now seem unlikely, and our heart aches for Varly. It’d be selfish of us to be glad that Semyon will get more rest before the playoffs when it comes at the cost of such a big personal goal. Therefore, we must hope either that his recovery drastically hastens, or that he’s still a superstar goalie in 2014.
  • As the previous two bullets have made clear, the Capitals now have a full-blown goalie crisis. What a world away we are now from the halcyon “Which awesome goalie shall we play tonight?” days of November. To fill the ranks, the organization has recalled Braden Holtby from the Hershey Bears. It’s one of our distinct pleasures as Caps fans that we get to see promising players from the organization’s stellar farm club. In the last few years, we’ve enjoyed standout performances from Matthieu Perrault, Karl Alzner, Semyon Varlamov, Captain America, and many more. I’m not well educated on the Bears, so I’m spending some time today learning about Braden, and I like what I see (.935 save % on 506 SOG). Let’s just hope he doesn’t hang around D.C. too long.
  • Exchanging a Top Gun high five with Holtby somewhere around York, PA, is Karl Alzner, who has been returned to Hershey’s care. Karl has only an even +/- from his recent four-game stint, but we recall fondly his crucial assist on David Steckel’s GWG. Plus, Karl got to hang out at Casino Night (check out Emily Karol’s terrific story if you haven’t already).
  • Brian Pothier. I don’t really have any news on the dude, but then again I’m not a real journalist. Let’s just assume he’s going to play tonight.
  • He’s not on our team, but Jack Hillen‘s faceblock last night was too monstrous not to mention.  After attempting to catch an Ovechkin slapshot with his teeth, Jack fell to the ice with a bloody, wet thud.  The Islanders report that Hillen broke his jaw and several teeth.  He’ll miss 6-8 weeks, but Quentin Laing has already promised to send over a dandy protein milkshake recipe.  Poor guy.

Tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks (24-22-7) begins at 7 PM. Russian Machine has a correspondent on location to document. Will the goalie problems discussed above end the Caps winning streak? Will Braden Holtby submarine some dude at center ice? Will Matt Bradley (whose jersey, it seems, I must now buy) secure a hat trick? Tune in and find out.

Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Links Of The Week

This week we’ve got a study on the age at which hockey players are at their peak (an important consideration when looking to sign a guy to a long-term contract), a look at what kind of conclusions you can draw from how a team does over various stretches of time, what it appears goalies are awarded three stars for, and a new stat based on plus-minus and Corsi.

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