Here’s a picture of Ovechkin eating snow for the billionth time. (Photo credit: Scott Cunningham)
To all our friends stuck on the roads during this crazy #thundersnow storm, safe travels. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
So the final game for the Washington Capitals before the All-Star break found them meeting the Atlanta Thrashers in the not-so-balmy temperatures of Georgia. It did not go well.
Nik Antropov settled a lucky bounce in the Caps zone, leading to an easy goal against Semyon Varlamov. That was it. No other goals. Shutout for Ondrej Pavelec. Thrashers beat Caps 1-0.
- Atlanta didn’t offer a lot of pressure in the neutral zone, but they did an excellent job of pushing traffic to the outside in their zone and clogging the net when crashes were attempted. The Caps offense was stymied, so all the Thrash had to do was wait for a weird chance, which they got. Atlanta is still a playoff contender.
- Our nerd Neil Greenberg is stuck in the snow somewhere between BWI and his luxurious villa estate, so we don’t have reliable scoring chance stats for you. The Caps did fire 36 shots on Pavelec (and attempted another 30), but most of those were marginal opportunities. The net was crash-proof.
- The Caps power play continues to be an empty ritual with no actual impact on the game. Across two and three-quarters chances, the Caps only threatened Atlanta’s net a precious few times.
- The Capitals had 5:37 of 5v4 time. Mike Green attended to all but seven seconds of it.
- Of the seven Caps shutouts this season, five have come against teams from the Southeast division. Craig Laughlin has renamed it the “Southbeast”. Let us never speak of this again.
- Is anyone else sick of making every opposing goalie look like Patrick frakking Roy? Throwing low-quality pucks at guys like Ondrej Pavelec gives false confidence to those netminders. I would sell your first born child to see some timing plays and one-timers again.
- Brooks Laich, who is awesome, led the losing team with 7 shots, 3 hits, and a 2-for-2 faceoff record. Alex Ovechkin was right behind him with 8 shots and 2 hits, but Laich didn’t create excruciating turnovers at pivotal moments.
- After a third period power play, Alex Ovechkin got speared and generally roughed up. No whistle. He looked hurt after that, but he did return for more shifts. Wouldn’t it be a riot if he joins Malkin and Crosby in missing the ASG?
- Consolation/your-sister-is-your-prom-date award to Semyon Varlamov, who knocked down 23 shots. The one that got by him was an unfettered dart, so it’s hard to fault him for the loss. Then again, how would Braden “87-for-90” Holtby have handled it? Just stirring the pot.
- Welcome back, Matt Bradley. You had a monster chance in the second period, but an unfortunate holding penalty in the third. Let’s get that rust off and reclaim your spot as The Greatest Player Ever (According to Peter).
- Once Alex Semin rejoins the ranks, who gets sent down: Jay Beagle or Mathieu Perreault? Neither had ANY offensive presence tonight, so we wish we could say both.
At the beginning of the season, some thought the Capitals’ big problem would be their young defenders and goalies. I, an arrogant S.O.B., said the problem would be the psychological trauma inflicted after that offensively meek playoff series with the Habs. The Caps have now been shut out seven times on the season, but they’ve allowed only one goal against in each of the last four games. What’s up?
So here we are, pausing for a short intermission before the final run to the postseason. It’s time to summon all warm feelings, page all sports psychologists, and crash every damn net between here and May. We hereby declare the Capitals offensive slump over, and welcome with open figurative arms a blizzard of goals.
Stay safe, peeps. Catch you next week.
P.S. – Something about a Sputnik moment here.