The Halloween Renaissance: Caps beat Flames 7-2

Suffice to say, it was a tough night for Kiprusoff

Green scores. Ovi tackles. (Photo credit: Jeff McIntosh)

Green scores. Ovi tackles.

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 first period was rough literally and figuratively. Here, Matt Hedricks gets rocked by Tim Jackman. (Photo credit: Jeff McIntosh)

The first period was rough. Matt Hendricks gets throttled by Tim Jackman.

  • 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.
Joe B's suit-of-the-night

Joe B's suit-of-the-night

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!

  • Sara Bae

    after having a wild friday night, my body was telling me to skip the partying and watch the caps game. first period and had my own version of varly-“Stink face” and just kept yelling and fanning my arms to the right doing the “move! get it out of the zone! ” motion at the tv like a dumbass as if the caps could hear me the first period, thier passing was sloppy and were acting as if the puck was made out of a super ball you get from the 25-cent-machine at “Giant”…during the 2 man adv powerplay, i was in the middle of texting my friend “WHAT .. IS…THIS…SHIII”——-NICKY scored! instant reaction: jumped up, threw my phone across the room screaming YEAAAH B*TCHES!!!!! i was sitting far on the edge of my friends leather sofa (that makes fart noises when you move in it) so when nicky scored the first goal, it made the couch “Fart” as i JUMPED UP AND WAS SCREAMING! and then AGAIN!!! it just kept getting better and better and better and BETTER! i love that flamer who decided he wanted to be a caps player for the night scoring in the wrong net ahahaaha WHAT A DUMSHET but a lovely dumbshet! GREATTTT GAME.. watching this game was like a party in a way because it made me happy like the way parties do…. minus the hang over that usually follows the next day! ME LOVES IT!

    p.s. my throat hurts now… how dows that “lets go caps!” yelling guy not have a sore throat every home game day???

  • BobbyG

    Maybe this is just what the doctor ordered, the kind of breakout game–or rather the breakout second period–the Caps needed to get them out of their doldrums and move them forward into the second month of the season. Ovie needed this kind of game too, to break him out of whatever funk he was in because for long stretches of games he looked “off” and out of sync. Hopefully those days are behind him and he and the Caps can carry this victory over to more and more wins. I also hope the Caps can break their habit of starting off slow and sluggish, falling behind early and start taking control of games early.

  • Tim

    It was great to see Ovie, Backs, and Green get their game together. The PP goals were picture perfect examples of what this team can do with the man advantage. But the team owes another big thank you to Neuvirth for stopping all those early 2-on-1’s. That was ugly.

    And can you guys cut King some slack? He was solid yesterday, especially considering how little he has played recently. He was a big part of the 4th line chasing pucks down, cycling, and generally eating up the clock.

  • BobbyG

    This game marked a personal Renaissance for me, as well as a potential page turning game for the Caps. I had been in a funk for a few days, getting all sorts of bad vibes about Ovie personally and the team in general, imagining all sorts of negative scenarios and outcomes. And then the skies parted and the fog lifted. I was reborn, happy for Ovie and the Caps. I have the date marked on my calendar because IMO it could be the start of a great regular season run for the Caps, carrying over into the playoffs.

    GO CAPS! GO OVIE!

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  • http://youresovain-dailyvanityplates.blogspot.com/ Katie

    I was pretty pissed for most of the 1st period. I was not expecting the 2nd period, but damn it was beautiful. Everything was just clicking. I especially loved seeing Stecks convert that penalty shot. When it was called, I honestly thought there was no chance he would get it. Loved the big smile on his face when the camera panned to him on the bench afterwards. Two games this season when we have scored 7 goals, both of them including a penalty shot. Weird.

    And Neuvy IS something special. I have a ton of confidence in this kid.

  • jenn

    neuvy is absolutely special. i’ve been team varly for a long time, but neuvy is solid and makes some truly spectacular saves – over, and over, and over. much love for the kid.

    as for stecks… how sweet was that penalty shot?! AND his first goal of the season, no less! GO BUCKEYES!!!