Game Over Strikes Again: Caps beat Flyers 3-2 (OT)

Game Over, Mike Green. Caps beat the Flyers in OT 3-2.

Braden Holtby, in his first career NHL start, makes one of his 23 saves on the night. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

Braden Holtby, in his first career NHL start, makes one of his 23 saves on the night. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

Game Over. (Photo credit: Luis M. Alvarez)

Traditionally, Sunday games have been trouble for the Washington Capitals.  The crowd might be docile, the ice sloppy, the players hungover; doesn’t matter. Quoting Ovechkin: “It was a five o’clock game. Usually you take a nap at this time.”

Tonight’s bout with Eastern Conference-rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, was remarkable enough to wake the players from their expected slumber. The Flyers, riding a five-game winning streak and leading the league in penalties, brought the smash-mouth brand of  hockey that we expected and did not permit the Caps to play lazy.

Flyer Nikolay Zherdev beat the Caps’ new goalie, Braden Holtby, on a two-on-one to open up the game. Eric Fehr responded with a low-probability/high-awesomesauce snipe from a wide angle. Ville Leino (who it turns out is a person and not a cozy Italian hamlet) got improbably lucky off a deflection to put the Flyers up 2-1. Alex Semin tied the game up on a power-play sweep-in, and there the scored remained until the end of regulation. The specter of a Sean O’Donnell boarding penalty chased the Flyers into OT, which Mike Green turned into an OTGWG. It wasn’t the raucous glove-dropper we were expecting, but a W is a W: Caps beat Flyers 3-2 (OT).

Unordered list of list items!

  • 29 seconds into a overtime, “Game Over” Mike Green launched the puck netward. Deflected by Flyers D and screened by Knuble, the puck found its mark. Green is on a 4-game goal streak/5-game point streak. Forget the James Norris Trophy; Green is gunning for the Chuck Norris Trophy (“awarded to the defensive player so rad he cures one disease and invents another to replace it”).
  • Braden Holtby took a pensive breath before taking the ice before the game. That was the only sign of hesitation in the goalie. Composed but aggressive: that’s how we’d describe it. 23 saves on 25 shots. Lots of new fans are learning about the Caps’ new star in net and his Holtbyisms, but not you, distinguished RMNB readers. You already knew. For his efforts, Holtby earned the Palm.
  • Braden double-bullet! Regarding his rebounds, Holtby said, “I know I can compete at this level now, but there’s a lot of things I need to work on and it was pretty evident tonight.” I’m reminded of a familiar aphorism from Ben Franklin about how all one needs to succeed in life are humility and Holtbyisms. I think beer was in there, too. I’ll dig up the quote and get back to you.
  • Speaking of Mike Knuble, the funk continues. It’s like a Bootsie Collins box set up in here.
  • Even when you were panicking, I knew we’d win. How did I know? The roster sheet had jersey fifteen on it. The Caps remain undefeated in every game Boyd Gordon in which has suited up.
  • Tyler Sloan and John Erskine are the most maligned defensive pairing for the Capitals, and tonight that isn’t fair. Besides the misread play that led to the Flyers’ first goal, Tyler and Big John were on point. Sloan had a was good on both ends, and Erskine had a smart assist on F16’s goal and one NFL-style tackle and smear.
  • Brooks Laich missed some ice time after an upper-body injury. Corey Masisak (who has unfollowed us on Twitter despite our typo-laden pleadings not to) reports that Brooks wanted to return, but was rebuffed by team physicians.
  • Nick Backstrom took 26 faceoffs tonight. Do you even care how many he won? Fine. It was 16.
  • For the millionth time (rough estimate), the Caps sent an opposing player hobbling to the bench after striking him with a puck. Tonight, two-way superstar center Mike Richards was puckified by Alex Ovechkin. Richards joins the ranks of Anton Volchenkov, Zdeno Chara, and Tim Gleason. The aim-for-someone’s-face-and-release tactic should be a core part of the Caps playbook by now.
Joe B's suit-of-the-night: he was eating lemons, btw

Joe B's suit-of-the-night: he was eating lemons, btw

This was precisely the kind of match-up the Capitals need to win to match the ridiculous expectations we fans create for them. Luckily, this team is as passionate as we are imperious. We’ve seen Alex Semin and Mike Green extend their streaks (while Mike Knuble extends his), Eric Fehr return to prominence, and the inauguration of a stunning new talent in net. Not bad for a sleepy Sunday night.

See you on Tuesday from the Earthly hell that is Long Island. Yech.

Additional reporting by Ian Oland.

BONUS:

Thanks to @UnleashTheFury, we now have video of Braden’s “Holtby Shuffle” during the National Anthem! Go Braden, GO!!

  • BillyT

    Great game, great effort all around. Congrats Holtsby! Looked good moving out of the crease to challenge and handle. Seriously though, could Alzner move any slower?

  • Manda

    The Holtby dance is your chance to do the Holt…

  • Peter Hassett

    Alright stop what you’re doing, cause Braden’s ’bout to ruin / the image and the style that you’re used to / I play funny, but hey I’m making (NHL) money

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    Isn’t Holtby supposed to be in the crease during the National Anthem?

  • WashCapsRock

    HOLTBY HOLTBY HOLTBY!!!!!!! And a double bullet from RMNB. Wooo!

  • Pat

    Holtby did fantastic tonight, but who is gonna be hershey’s goaltender? Hopefully Varly comes back soon, because Sabourin is playing terribly up here in Chocolatetown…

  • Ellen

    Peter, Peter, love RMNB since the first post, but tonight you wound my Long Island heart. What have we done to offend you? if you said Philly, now that, I could understand, but my beautiful LI? Also confused, cause last time I checked, the Rangers are on tap for Tuesday and they play at MSG, not in Uniondale. A born and raised LI native, I had the good fortune to marry me a DC boy and convert to Captholicism…..mixed marriages can be difficult and I worried for the children… I pledged my loyalty to the Caps for ever more, but a big ouch on that left field LI hate……..

  • Peter Hassett

    Ellen,

    First and foremost, thanks for the comment. Second, I offer my most heartfelt apologies for your condition. I have a few friends who were born in Long Island, and I frequently participate in events to raise funds and awareness to fight the scourge of Long Islandness.

    Third, I must say that I am very impressed by your communication skills. I once dated a girl from LI who spoke only using a series of grunts, and hisses, and rhythmic pounding on the door of the broom closet in which she lived.

    Finally, I’m sorry I offended you. I didn’t expect anyone from Long Island to read this. The same goes for Maine, Pittsburgh, Canada, and the other side of the street where I live. These are all Unclean Places, and will be purged from the maps when I take over.

    Ellen, keep on reachin’ for that rainbow.

    Thanks,
    Peter

  • http://www.capssnaps.com/ Chris

    Nice game from Holtby. He’s seems to be making a seamless transition to the NHL.

    Also, Peter is awesome.

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  • http://twitter.com/lindseynotlohan Lindsey

    Peter significantly improves my quality of life with his sheer wit and hilarity.

  • Em

    Um, OMFG…LMFAO. These comments were more hilarious than the blog itself.

    He’s not here to cause no trouble, he’s just here to do the Holtby Shuffle!

  • http://bit.ly/txstarsgirl D’Ann – txstarsgirl

    The Caps depth in goal is just unbelievable. Good for Holtby stepping in and getting the W.

    I clearly have been gone from DC for too long…I always have to resist the urge to yell “Red” during the national anthem but had forgotten that you guys yell “O!” too…sheesh..looking at calendar to plan trip…just hope I don’t yell “Stars” when I’m up there ;)

  • Rockin’ The Red in VA

    Alright stop what you’re doing, cause Braden’s ’bout to ruin / the image and the style that you’re used to / I play funny, but hey I’m making (NHL) money….

    BEST REPLY EVER!

  • BobbyG

    What I find impressive is the Caps leading the Eastern Conference despite they as a team and IMO Ovie in particular not hitting their full stride. If they get all their gears running smoothly and into a winning streak groove, they might run away with their division by Christmas.

    IMO that might not necessarily be a good thing if they start to coast in the New Year. They should have learned from last season that regular season success does not always translate into playoff success. Let’s hope the lesson has been learned, and if they dominate their division and conference, to continue to put the pressure on and not let up.