The last game of the season is a curious thing. The playoffs are a sure thing, and the only matters left to question are individual achievements and not getting injured. So then, was today a bust?
The Boston Bruins, filled out by AHL call-ups, bested the Washington Capitals in 65 minutes of hockey and three rounds of a shootout. Whatever. We’re over it. Upward and onward.
Your final regular season bullets.
- Through nearly 26 minutes of time, Alex Ovechkin had 0 assists and goals, ending his pursuit of Art Ross and jeopardizing his claim on Rocket Richard. Ovie did have 5 shots on goal, though, so his absence from the board should be viewed through the prism of Tim Thomas‘ masterful performance in net.
- Ovie was chasing those trophies awfully hard. At various points in the game we saw the GR8 combined with not-so-classic partners like Eric Belanger and David Steckel. Only Mike Green was on the ice longer.
- Speaking of @GreenLife52, no player gave us stronger pangs of anxiety than this one. Every race to the corners, every shoulder hit, every spleen-splitting blocked shot, every elbow to the face could have put Mike in the same situation he was in last spring. Let’s hope the bruises he accrued today fade quickly, and he’ll be ready to shut down [INSERT ROUND-1 OPPONENT HERE].
- Alex Semin‘s 40th goal on the season looked like a breeze. Semin was one of the most dialed-in players today, even if he did cough up the puck three times. Semin continues to regularly trade places with Mike Knuble on the top and second lines, and we think that’s great.
- No, really. Mike Knuble + Brooks Laich = Hell for goalies.
- Originally touted as a tough-guy enforcer, Jason Chimera hadn’t really shown us his teeth too often this season. When Chimmer charged (or was shoved into) Tim Thomas, he was greeted with a headlock and four quick blockerpads to the face. Jason was remarkably restrained in this spar, but after returning from his interference penalty, he immediately returned to Timmy’s grill. That plus his crosscheck in front of the net earned Jason fourteen minutes inside the Jason Chimera box. Someone go check to make sure he’s not still there.
- Semyon Varlamov had a series of late-game saves that may have made this game worth it. Seeing the kid scoot from post to post, making wild swats at errant pucks, reminded me of a goalie we met last spring who was capable of anything. Welcome back, bud!
- The shoot-out line up was a parade of WTFery. Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley are two of my favorite players, but they were easily outclassed by Tim Thomas. I get it though, BB wanted to give these hard workers a nod. Still, I would have paid any price to see Jason Chimera score the GWG in a one-on-one. Alas, it was not to be.
- There’s an old playoffs word for “overtime loss.” Loss.
Congratulations to Henrik Sedin for his presumptive win for the Art Ross Trophy. Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby may yet lay claim to the Rocket Richard. No matter. They are all excellent players, but it’s time for our focus to shift. There’s a 35 lbs. cup of infinite glory lying it wait for the Washington Capitals. Separating the two are at least 16 games of the best hockey we may ever see.
Shave your face, friends. This may be your last chance for a while.