Caps beat Isles 2-1 in a Squeaker

Nick Backstrom tips-in Alex Ovechkin's slap shot from the point. Caps win 2-1.

D.J. King's first bout of the year only took one shift. He should have a nice shiner tomorrow. (Photo by Nick Wass)

D.J. King's first bout of the year came on his first shift of the year. He should have a nice shiner tomorrow. (Photo by Nick Wass)

Nicklas Backstrom’s first goal of the year is the game-winner! (Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett)

The Caps’ final game of their three-game residency at Chinatown maintained their perfect record there, but also continued the sloppiness haunting this early season. Despite a few soaring, individual efforts, the team as a whole could not click. For the second game in a row, it was the efforts of Alex Ovechkin and Michal Neuvirth that made all the difference.

Alex Ovechkin‘s second period goal and third period deflection via Nicklas Backstrom were all that was needed to put the team over the Islanders’ lonely score by the fresh-faced Nino Niederreiter. Little Mikey recorded 23 good-looking saves to endear himself a remaining skeptical minority of Caps fans.

This mid-October, mid-week match with the New York Islanders was a bit of a snoozer , as the Caps keep on looking ugly and winning anyhow. Lessons still need to learned apparently. Oh well. Caps beat Isles 2-1!

Taco night bullets for my homeys

  • 2:47 into the game, D.J. King engaged Trevor Gillies in single combat.  Why? Not sure, but it’s possible that Gillies mustache said something about King’s mother. Please drop us a line or a tweet if you can figure out what this fight achieved, as we’re still baffled.
  • Mike Green played like a man on a mission tonight. He owned the puck, skated like a cranked-out wallaby, and fired bullets from the circles. Greener led the team in shots on goal (4), but tragically could not convert. Sadder still, Mike left the game injured after a bad, shoulder-led check. Someone gas up the bus from Hershey.
  • Also playing like a crazy person was Brooks Laich. He’s tenacious in the slot, and he’s aggressive on the penalty kill. If he weren’t 6’2″, he’d be a candidate for a new nickname: Shorty.
  • Bruce Boudreau’s experiment with the lines lasted all of one period. Tomas Fleischmann returned to the second line, and Nicky Backstrom regained his rightful position within hugging distance of Ovechkin after goals.
  • The Islanders looked better at almost every turn, putting a ton of heat on the Caps defense and forcing two d-men in particular, Carlson and Erskine, to resort to icing a few times. Given their performance in their own zone, I’m not really sure how the Caps pulled out this win.
  • It wasn’t the checking lines. The third and fourth put up the lion’s share of the shots this evening, but scored all of none. Keep it up, guys. It’ll happen.
  • Just like last year, Nicky Backstrom opens up the season’s scoring with a total fluke. Last year it was a dump-in from center ice, this year a game-winning boot deflection fed by Alex Ovechkin. Ignominious? Maybe, but it’s a start.
  • Good to see former-Cap-now-Islander Milan Jurcina on the ice tonight. His long bombs kept Neuvi busy, and he tossed Flash like a rag doll once, but at least he’s working!
  • Hey, power play scored! Penalty kill is still perfect! Happy days are here again. Somewhere, Neil Greenberg is working on a post about regressing to the mean, but we don’t understand his scary numbers.
Joe B suit-of-the-night

Joe B's suit-of-the-night

For a while we expected inert chemistry to lose this one for the Caps, but that would be forgetting Ovi’s inexhaustible ability to defy expectation.  Still, it seems like the only team that can beat the Caps- besides les Habitants- is the Caps themselves. There’s a moral here somewhere.

Final note: does Nicky Backstrom sound like a guitarist in Dethklok to anyone else?

  • Hale

    That would be the fresh-faced Nino Niederreiter.

  • Tim

    Wish I’d seen more of the game – I heard the first 2 periods on the radio, and only got home in time to watch the 3rd. It was good to see Backs break his slump, even if the goal was fluky.

    As for King, that fight was started by Gillies. King hit an Islander hard from behind, and Gillies jumped to his defense. Might not have been much reason other than that – but neither of those two needs a reason.

    And for the record (I’m sure it’s just a typo) Neiderreiter scored for the Isles.

  • Elyssa

    Lol Nicky could totally be Skwisgaar if they ever did a live action version of Metalocalypse…but he wouldneed much longer hair. I’m glad I’m not the only person who would make a connection to that cartoon :)

  • CapsFan1975

    A power play goal for the Caps could not have happened at a better time. Thanks to Sasha, John, Ovi, and Nicky for making it happen! Sasha gathering the puck at the boards to John and the rest was history.

    Way to break out of a dry spell in style, Nicky!

  • CapsFan1975

    Elyssa,

    Lots of laughing about Nicky needing much longer hair to do a love action version of Metalocalypse. Gee, and to think the report was that he hadn’t ever gotten a haircut during his rookie year since he couldn’t trust anyone in North America to cut his Swedish locks. I used to joke about the fact that he’d have really long hair if the Caps ever went deep in the playoffs and he could grow a playoff braid instead of a playoff beard.

  • http://flashyglovesave.blogspot.com Kathryn

    Just curious, how exactly does a cranked-out wallaby skate?

  • http://make-lemons.com michelle

    thanks for making me have to look up the word Ignominious :)

  • Guinnessfan

    Seeing King fight makes me miss Sugar Sugden.

  • http://www.irockthered.net/ IRockTheRed

    “Bruce Boudreau’s experiment with the lines lasted all of one period. Tomas Fleischmann returned to the second line, and Nicky Backstrom regained his rightful position within hugging distance of Ovechkin after goals.”

    Boudreau himself said that this was about getting Backstrom going. It worked, dinnit? Here’s the quote:

    “When you’re in a slump you want the other one to do great,” Boudreau said. “So Ovie’s looking for Nicky so much, all the time, and then Nicky’s looking for Ovie instead of doing the right thing. You get them away from each other so they can continue to play their own game then once they feel the confidence you put them back.

    “Once Nicky got the assist I just knew he was going to get more, because he never stops at just one once he gets a little bit of a roll going.”

  • Livia

    Regarding the twitter conversation on the pronunciation of Neuvy’s name–I think Joe B. says, “NOY-VAYRT.” My guess is that it’s closer to “NOY-VEERT.” It would be nice to hear the proper pronunciation from the man himself!

  • http://twitter.com/mcawful mcawful

    I’m feeling pretty confident Backstrom’s finally ready to rock, or røck, or whatever. I think the line shakeup was good, even though seeing Ovi alongside to Flash is like seeing your Mom with a strange guy who calls you “buddy”.