After spending the last few days discussing if the Capitals are coasting to the playoffs or not, one thing was certain: Washington needed a win in a bad kind of way tonight. With three straight losses under it’s belt and a Capitals Blogosphere filling with doubt for the first time all year, somebody had to step up and yell “Пора взять быка за рога” (It’s time to take the bull by the horns) . And lucky for the Caps,
Alex Ovechkin Matt Bradley was equal to the task. Caps THRASH Atlanta 2-1.
Me so punny:
- With the victory over the Thrashers tonight, we can finally wave goodbye to the Capitals 3 game losing streak and usher in the Capitals first back to back 50 win seasons in Franchise History. Oh man, that has a much nicer ring to it. Tonight’s win also marked the third time the Washington Capitals have won 50 game or more in it’s 36 years of existence.
- Dare I say, on a night where RMNB First String Goalie Semyon Varlamov needed to look like the Semyon Varlamov of old to have any shot of playing in the postseason, he in fact did. Varly played spectacularly, stopping 19 shots and diffusing a first period Maxim Afinogenov breakaway that – if converted – could have completely altered the complexion of the game. For the first time in a… really long time… we can say that Semyon looked agile, not fragile in the third period. We salute you, comrade!
- With the Hart Trophy beckoning, Alex Ovechkin once again went goalless. In fact, in the last 9 games, the Russian Machine has managed only two tallies. Is it time to hit the panic button? We’re going to say no. This may be a severe goal drought for the two time MVP, but if you were paying close attention tonight, Atlanta double-teamed him every time he had the puck in the offensive zone, a defensive tactic that has been used ad nauseum over the last few weeks. We think this drought has more to do with his 1st line teammates not capitalizing on their open space, than Ovechkin failing in any way. But maybe we’re the wrong people to ask.
- Mike Green must have been drinking his Muscle Milk because lately he’s been on a roll. Not only did he lead the team with 24:20 of Ice Time tonight, Green’s brilliant slapshot led to Washington’s first goal: a deft deflection by Nicklas Backstrom, his 30th of the year, in front of the net. With the primary assist on the play, Green tied his career high in points, 73, with 5 games to go. It’s nice to see Game Over firing on all cylinders, and at the end of the season for a change.
- Honestly, I’m not sure what was worse, Colby Armstrong’s right cross to the head of Mathieu Perreault or Shaone Morrisonn’s weak defense of his fallen teammate. Was he trying to kiss him? Come on ShaMo, throw some bows, throw a right cross. Just do something man! We also ask Colin Campbell to please make an example out of this cowardly act. I’m all for eliminating blatant head shots with an intent to injure. Can you join me? Armstrong should have been given a 5 minute major for – charging, roughing, elbowing, your choice really – and a match penalty. I’m guessing the NHL won’t suspend him because Perreault is still capable of breeding. But we shall see tomorrow.
- Shaone Morrisonn you also get another bullet for your terrible defensive breakdown with Tom Poti which allowed Tim Stapleton (who?) to score his first goal of the season and also ruin a potential shutout for Varly. Sigh. At least it set up…
- Matt Bradley and his Heroics. In the first period, we learned that Matt Bradley can move a mountain. And by that I mean, he flattened 6’4” 255 lb Evgeny Artyukhin (Thanks CapitaLoL’s). Then in the third period, we learned that Matt Bradley can make a 3 time Norris Trophy Winner cry. As Brads skated out of the corner with Chris Chelios’ stolen puck, a crazed look came to his eyes – a power that I can only surmise came from the hands of God. This holy power boost allowed him to take the puck hard to the net and backhand an ordinary shot past Ondrej Pavelec. Yes, the GWG goes to Matt Bradley. And then for the cherry on top, Bradley described the goal as lucky in the post game interview with Lisa Hillary (HOLLA). This is absolutely ridiculous. It’s really too bad that I still hate him for stealing the Russian Machine’s fight.
- Lastly, it was hard for me to concentrate on the third period after Abram Fox notified me that TSN wrote a column linking to our Barack The Red website. Check it out here. This is truly incredible (if you couldn’t tell by my reaction on Twitter) – and Mr. President – It’s about time you come to a game. James Cybulski is right, if you can pick brackets on SportsCenter, go to a Wizards games and throw out the first pitch at a Nationals Game, you certainly can make time to see the best team in hockey. TSN, thank you for the support.
Anyways, what a game. I can’t really think of a great way to end this post tonight, so I’ll leave you with a hilarious Post Game Live text that I noticed. It read: Caps don’t take no thrashes. WHO NEXT?!?!