Caps beat Devils 7-2 as the Circus Comes to Town


Ovie converts on the penalty shot. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the eternal words of Keanu Reeves, whoa.

Tonight’s bout between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals was everything last night’s lackluster opening game was not. The Caps offense took no prisoners while savaging the Devils’ net.  The game had pretty much everything you could ask for: prolific Capitals goal-scoring, the role-playing you’d expect from Caps depth players, and solid goaltending from Michal Neuvirth. And then everything went to hell in the boku battles that erupted late in the third.

Two goals and an assist from Alex Ovechkin, two assists and a goal from John Carlson, two penalties and an assist from Alex Semin. These are the Capitals you’ve been missing. Seven beautiful goals from all sorts of Caps heroes put this game far out of reach for the Devils, who found their only recourse was starting five fights in the waning minutes.  Caps beat the Devils, handily, 7-2.

It’s impossible to recap this game, but these bullets will try their darndest.

  • John Carlson! The newly anointed  Calder Trophy favorite opened up the game with a laser over Brodeur’s glove hand.  He’d follow up with two smart assists. He also came to the rescue of the besieged Marcus Johansson in the third, earning 12 PIMs and a misconduct for his loyalty. Captain America definitely earned the Palm tonight.
  • Speaking of MoJo, despite looking much better on the faceoff (7 for 11), Marcus Johansson enabled both Devils’ goals tonight. He was supposed to be defensively superior to Mathieu Perreault but has yet to deliver on that promise. Our scorn is outweighed, however, by sympathy as Marcus was assaulted by Pierre-Luc LeTourneau-LeBlond Champs-Élysées Bourdeaux Camembert de Normandie Époisses de Bourgogne Sainte-Maure de Touraine. PLLL (as we’ll now call him) will probably face extra discipline for that late instigator penalty, by the by.
  • Quick aside: does the President’s Trophy banner in the rafters feel like the scarlet letter to anyone else? We’d rather store it in a dark closet somewhere.
  • The Caps’ power play woes continue, yielding only one goal on five chances and also that one against the team with the man advantage. At least, Alex Semin, Marcus Johansson, and John Carlson had good view of that shorty from Henrik Tallinder, watching statuesque as it happened.
  • Anton Volchenkov chose- unwisely- to block a rare Nicklas Backstrom slapshot WITH HIS FACE  at the tail end of the first period. After the blood and teeth were swept up, the lack of that shutdown d-man and shot-blocker extraordinaire might have been a key factor in unleashing the Caps’ fury.
  • Michael Neuvirth stopped 17 shots in the second period, keeping the Caps in the game until the forwards got their groove back. For the second consecutive night, Neuvi was there when we needed him. It might be time to dial back any anxiety about the budding netminder.
  • Alex Ovechkin delivered on a penalty shot for one of his three points. It was refreshing to see Ovi show patience and restraint on that PS, but it would have been even better to see him score on that spoiled breakaway. It could have been The Goal, Part II.
  • Kovalchuk versus Green. At 7 PM tonight, was anyone expecting this??? It was like Rick Martel versus Shawn Michaels at Summerslam 1992: No hitting in the face. Kind of embarrassing for both parties, but Green narrowly got the best of Ilya in our opinion.

  • Not the same can be said of Jason Chimera‘s brawl with David “Kelly” Clarkson. Now second in the Caps fighting depth chart to D.J. King, Chimmer sort of got his clock cleaned. We’re afraid to look at the hockeyfights entry for this one.
  • Alright, catch-all bullet for fights.  Hendricks v Pelley (winner: Hendricks), Brads vs Clarkson (winner: Brads), Boudreu vs. NJD coach John MacLean through the glass (winner: everyone). Not to get too righteous about it, but New Jersey should not be proud of how they conducted themselves in the final minutes. We won’t absolve the Caps of responsibility though. Oh, well.
Joe B's suit-of-the-night

Joe B's suit-of-the-night

We hope you hockey fans had your popcorn at the ready tonight. The Capitals delivered that special recipe for hockey that we love them for, that we so direly missed in the opener. Forgiven is last night’s false start in Atlanta. Let the match between the Devils and the Caps, held on this 9th of October 2010, be the gold standard for the rest of the season. If every game can come close to the excitement of tonight, ’10-’11 will be even better than ’09-’10.

See you on Monday. We need a drink. Or five.

  • CapsFan1975

    Gold standard? For goal scoring and breaking out of a slump, yes. For fighting and general conduct at the end of the game, not quite. (But I think the Devils behaved worse, IMHO.)

  • Got Stanley?

    I’d offer a wager on the likelihood of King getting a sweater the next time these two teams meet, but my momma said never to bet on a sure thing.

  • Lbbuggin

    Fight is a part of hockey, I mean if you can’t beat them, beat them up. I think the officiating robbed Carlson of a Howe hattrick. Should have given him the fighting major instead of roughing, it would have made my night more than watching the Devil’s $100 million dollar pony erm…”fight” with Green.

  • Brad

    Cant wait for the rematch. Dj King will be given a sweater that night, no doubt

  • WashCapsRock

    11/22 rematch. It is on like Donkey Kong (or King Kong)! Pretty sure RMNB needs to make a road trip to NJ for the game! And see people Neuvy is a capable goalie! 🙂

  • OK, that was awesome. I enjoyed the game tremendously. I haven’t been that entertained in a long, long time.

    What I didn’t see in the replay of the Green-Kovalchuk fight is that Kovy slashed Green and got away with it, right before Green got in his face.

    Chimera was wearing a butterfly bandage on his cheek from the puck he took to the face while on the bench last time; if Clarkson hit him there, chances are it stung pretty hardcore.

    And I was really pleased to see Carlson jump in to rescue Johansson,,, guess those “sons” have to stick up for one another, huh? 🙂

    One last question: how do you get “LeTourneau-LeBlond Champs-Élysées Bourdeaux Camembert de Normandie Époisses de Bourgogne Sainte-Maure de Touraine.” on the back of a jersey, anyway?

  • P.S. – Photos from warmups and a few stills from up in 429 will follow on my site – maybe not tonight, but they’ll be up soon. 🙂

  • Tim

    It was an incredible game. The 1st was rugh, but the Caps OWNED the 2nd and 3rd. The last 5 minutes was a bit over the top though. I REALLY hope to never see Green get in a fight again – that might have been worse than Semin.

    As for New Jersey – the coach should be fined for that, and PLLL should get at least 3 games for the slash/instigator. Next time we play the Devils, send King out against PLLL.

  • OK, couple more comments…

    1) Marcus Johansson and Eric Fehr were the only two players on the Caps team that were in the -‘s for the game, at -1 each.

    2) Mike Green? Green was credited with a team-high six hits!

    3) I’m figuring the game misconduct that Carlson got was a desperate attempt by the referees to regain control of the game before it was too late, because a game misconduct is not usually handed out with a two minute roughing minor! Thoughts?

  • You all are very eloquent when you drunk-blog.

  • Holly Golightly

    For not actually being at the game (for which we all are eternally grateful), this was a pretty spot on recap. I don’t even have anything to add, other than that this was one of the single greatest nights of my life. Can’t wait for the rematch starring King DJ.

  • Peter Hassett

    We weren’t really drunk when we wrote the recap. Now however…

  • Peter Hassett

    Late joke from Ian: Green and Kovy deserved roughing, not fighting, penalties for their “fight”

  • capsgirl1

    One of the most bizarre games I’ve ever been to. Greenie fighting? Wow, I was worried for him! HA!!!

  • barb

    “If you can’t beat them, beat them up.”

    that comment made me laugh out loud! thanks! 🙂

  • J.P.

    That was great team effort and ya gotta love the energy and urgency they displayed last night. Definitely washed the bitterness outta my mouth from that poor showing in Hotlanta the night before. As an added bonus, we got to watch some Penguins fans sitting near us at the bar, wince and scowl as they watched their home team lose to the Habs in the final minutes. Life is good, my friends!

  • Josh

    Anyone else find it odd that the Devils actually LET Kovy fight?

  • Pingback: Defending Mike Green’s Fight Against Ilya Kovalchuk()

  • Katie

    That game was a ton of fun to be at. The fighting got a little out of hand, but it seemed that NJ was starting it, and I won’t fault our guys for not backing down. That penatly shot was awesome. I have now witnessed both of Ovie’s penalty shot conversions in his NHL career, and man, there is nothing so great as watching Ovie be Ovie.

    Did anyone else think the new opening video at Verizon really sucked though? Along with the stupid contests that involved asking the crowd to point in different directions?

  • Peter Hassett

    Katie, I actually love the new opening video. I plan on writing on it this week. Tell me why you don’t like it.