ROBO-BRADLEY DOES NOT COMPUTE POST-GOAL EMOTION. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
Last week’s loss at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres inflicted more psychological damage than anything else. The Washington Capitals have been adjusting line combinations and trying chemistry experiments ever since. Like a gauntlet thrown down, tonight’s game challenged the Capitals to play a complete hour of hockey for the first time in a while. Not quite there yet, guys.
On a 5-on-3 power play, Alex Semin set up Nicky Backstrom for a backdoor knock-in. Matt Bradley followed that up by converting an excellent pass from Jason Chimera. That same line hooked up for the third goal, again facilitated by Chimera, but put in net by a well-timed shot from David Steckel. For a while it looked like Ryan Miller had been defeated, but the Sabres recovered with a two-goal burst in the second period sponsored by Derek Roy and Jordan Leopold. Goalie Michal Neuvirth reasserted himself in third period, turning away all ten attempts. With the Buffalo net abandoned, Alex Semin launched an ICBM from the Caps zone to punctuate it. Caps beat Sabres 4-2.
Your Wednesday night bullets:
One of my favorite virtues in the Caps is their ability to find strength in unlikely places. Alex Ovechkin essentially disappeared tonight; he was sort of a liability. Ovi’s troubles of late are like a clarion call to the grinders, inspiring them to step up. But I guess we can’t be too surprised when Matt Bradley kicks it up a notch. Matt Bradley is a rock, a fob watch, a homecooked meal from mom. Matt Bradley soars on the wings of griffins and plucks dragon teeth for sport. I am a Matt Bradley fan– and tonight– so are you.
The Capitals have points in nine straight games. They’ve won the last seven home games. It’s a good night, friends. Ian will have the reins on Friday; go easy on him.
Look! We went an entire recap without mentioning Ryan Miller’s hair. Ah. Dammit!
Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg.
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