DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (All photos by Jeff McIntosh)
Halloween. This is the time of year when the eerie and unlikely are commonplace. This is the season of mists, of despair, of loss.
Nah, forget that. The Caps struggled mightily in the first period with the Calgary Flames. Going down by two goals early on, the Caps looked vanquished. A pathetic power play only hurt our wavering confidence. Maybe we should turn the game off and hit up that costume party after all? Nyet. Nicky Backstrom turned the Caps second power play into a goal reminiscent of ’09-’10’s best, and then the second period happened.
Let’s not mince words. The second period of this game was a bulldozer. The Caps scored six goals, two pairs of those goals coming within 13 seconds of each other. I’d tell you who scored the goals, but it’d take too long. Trust me: it’s everyone you’d expect. And also Dave Steckel. The Flames never came back after those early volleys. Caps beat Flames 7-2.
Thick-sliced, Canadian bullets.
- The Caps continue to tackle their lineup issues. Tonight featured Brooks Laich at second line center, Fleischmann at wing, Hershey’s Brian Fahey on D (replacing an injured Tyler Sloan), Fehr and Perreault scratched, and Boyd Gordon returned.
- Not only did Coach Boudreau shake up the lines, but their zone starts as well. 8-19-28 had none of the Caps’ two offensive zone starts in first period. Once they were unleashed, they scored on both 5v5 chances they had in the second.
- Knowing how the second period would go, we’ve come to grips with Olli Jokinen‘s first-minute goal. The oddest-looking man in the National Hockey League received a great chance from Jay Bouwmeester and placed it on the top shelf.
- Jay Bouwmeester. No comment here, just a fun name to say. Bouwmeester.
- The lasting scar of the first period is seeing the D getting physically abused at every chance. Somewhere, GMGM watched this solemnly by candlelight, banging his fists on a table made entirely from the hull of a wrecked 16th century slaving ship.
- The Caps’ first power play was the worst ever seen that did not end in a shorty for the other team. The team had precious little offensive zone time and choked up multiple breakaway chances for the Calgary PK unit. Embarrassing. How can they recover?
- The Caps’ second power play resonated like the very best of their man-advantage work. Mike Green fed Nicklas Backstrom a perfectly timed, perfectly placed pass that made the goal look easy. All the kvetching about being out of sync? Forget it.
- The second period of this game deserves its own recap. It was the best period I’ve seen the Caps play in memory. The Caps dominated every stat and even looked great on a long 5-on-3 penalty kill. They scored two goals within twelve seconds, and then two goals within thirteen seconds. There’s lots of individual accolades to go around, but please consider this a 21-person high five.
- Just twelve seconds apart, Alex Ovechkin scores twice– both on the power play, both on nearly identical shots. Maybe the smelling salts in Canada are stronger; Ovechkin looked uncannily aware tonight, and let the hockey gods pity anyone who must face him like that.
- Brooks Laich as second center? For now, let’s call us undecided.
- A sign of holiday weirdness? David Steckel‘s superlative penalty killing leads to a breakaway, leads to a penalty shot. And the fresh-faced kid nails it like a pro: away with you, water bottle!
- Bringing us back down to earth for a moment, both D.J. King and Hershey’s Brian Fahey looked dumbfounded when passed the puck. The caption goes something like, “what is this strange rubber disc, and why is it on my stick!?!”
- Michal Neuvirth. Takes two goals, puts up the wall. I’m telling you guys; he’s something special.
- For the second time, Nick Backstom shows up on the naughty list for an ugly boarding penalty. Again, very unlike him. Two anomalies does not make a pattern, but we’re going to watch this closely.
- John Carlson, unlike his peers, had a rough night. He had a team-worst CORSI of -11, and might have been the Flames’ best ally in the first.
- Former Cap, Brendan Morrison, deserves a note. He’s started this season, now with Calgary, as strongly as he did last. Brendan has 10 points in 11 games. Good for him!
- Not enough room for everyone’s goals tonight: Mike Green with a beauty, Alex Semin with a beauty. It’s a beauty contest for goals, people. The passing was so dialed in, Calgary didn’t stand a chance.
Those who stayed up late on this late, Saturday night, holiday game have been rewarded for their trouble. After throwing out one of the ugliest periods in a long time, the Caps delivered a period as good as they ever have– creating goals not just numerous but lovely.
Have a great Halloween, everyone!