Opening games seem, in my opinion, to be among the most exciting games of the year. But of all the opening nights I’ve been to, last night’s Devils-Caps game one has to be the #1 most exciting. Decked from head to toe in red (literally: I was wearing a wig), I entered Verizon Center for the first time since March; eager to see my Caps play again. And play they did!
Trailing by one goal after the first period, you could feel the tension in the air. No one wanted a repeat of the night before. I had a feeling, though: a feeling that the rest of this game would be great. The Caps dominated in the 2nd period, scoring four goals to take the lead. Two of those goals came from Alex Ovechkin, including one beautiful penalty shot.
Then came the third period. Already up 5-2, the Caps once again went on the penalty kill. As the Caps cleared the puck down the ice, New Jersey goalie Jonan Hedberd (who replaced Martin Brodeur) skated way out of the crease towards it, then handed it right to Brooks Laich and gave him a wide-open net for the shorthanded goal. Whoops.
With about four minutes to go, things got crazy. Ilya Kovalchuk dropped the gloves to fight Mike Green. MIKE. GREEN. The only other time I’ve seen Green fight was while playing NHL ’07. Usually when a fight breaks, I shout something like, “knock his block off!” This time, however, there were no jeers.
Laughter. Hysterical laughter. It was honestly the funniest fight I’ve ever witnessed. Then everyone else joined in. Bradley fought. Hendricks fought. Even Carlson. And of course, Johansson, who was targeted by Pierre-Luc Whateverhislastnameis, who at one point looked like he was about to climb onto the Capitals bench, e.g. Tommy Hanrahan from Slap Shot.
What a game! What a crazy finish! It this is a sign of things to come, this season will be quite a ride. I can’t wait.