Photo credit: Greg Fiume
You could liken Tomas Vokoun’s debut for the Washignton Capitals to being fed to wolves. A team that relies heavily on their netminders, the Capitals chose their date with the fluke-friendly Tampa Bay Lightning to introduce the goalie. This is the same team that knocked the Caps just a few months ago and whose coach has mastered the art of saying passive-aggressive dick-y things. No pressure. GAME ON.
Teddy Purcell deflected off Mike Green’s legs for an early goal that probably pissed Vokoun off righteously. Marcus Johansson converted a wraparound after Dwayne Roloson left the net (more on this below). Bruno “Ricky” Gervais wristed it from beneath the goal line, catching Vokoun off the post to put the Bolts back up. Dennis Wideman unleashed a monster from the blue line that hit iron and webbing (Neil put this shot percentage at around 2%). Dominic Moore had all the time in the world to put his puck in short-side from the slot. Then Schultz ripped one off of Troy Brouwer, whose shot was screened by Joel Ward.
Lemme catch my breath… There’s more.
Jason Chimera crashed the net to clean up Brooks Laich’s rebound and put the Caps up 4-3 in the third. Nick Thompson exploited a completely screened Tomas Vokoun to even it back up. Vokoun had no excuse on the next one, a deep-from-behind ricochet by Brett Clark. Jason Chimera tied it up with a rocket from the circles, earning all in attendance free wings from Glory Days. Into overtime and onto the shootout. New paragraph needed.
Hendricks dekes a deke that hath not yet been deked to give the Caps one. Vokoun sends back soup. Ovechkin rebuffed. Vokoun sends back soup. Sasha scoars! Caps beat Bolts 6-5 (SO)!
- Tomas Vokoun had as tumultuous a premiere as one could have. Three sketchy pucks on sketchier bounces, the seeming calling card of Tampa’s Lightning, flummoxed the veteran. Vokoun looked angry, and his defense was not doing him many favors. Three bad goals against would slay most goalies, but Tomas recovered to play a stellar overtime and an even better shootout. Every goalie has bad games like this, but Vokoun followed through to play like a champ. Welcome to the team.
- Despite the shot disparity (43-28 Caps), this game’s scoring chances were dead even at 22. A good bout and a great rivalry.
- Jason Chimera has three goals in two games. Jason Chimera has three goals in two games. The third line is on fire. The third line is on fire. That was Chimera’s 100th. And 101st. That was Chimera’s 100th goal. And 101st.
- How do you know that line is on fire? Bruce Boudreau gave Brooks Laich 11 offensive-zone starts compared to Nick Backstrom’s 6. That tells you who coach trusts right now.
- Sasha cares very much… with the man advantage. Alex Semin had 4 of the Caps’ 7 PP scoring chances.
So that first goal against Dwayne Roloson… let’s do some old jokes! Roloson wandered out of the net as if he was off meds and looking for Werther’s Originals. A Silver Alert was posted on all the highways, but Rolo was lying low somewhere out of the crease, probably watching reruns of NCIS and counting his social security checks. Happy 42nd birthday on Wednesday, Dwayne. For an old guy who looks like Jackie Earle Haley, playing goalie for the other team, you’re still awesome.
- So it’s NOT okay to throw your hockey stick at another player? Hunh. News to me. I guess it’s still verboten to take your skate off and try to stab someone with it, right?
- Marcus Johansson looked like a god among insects out there tonight. He leveled two hits on his first shift, scored a picturesque wraparound, drew a scary trip in overtime. Even on scoring chances for and against, but still a good night for the younger Swede.
- On the other hand, there’s Alex Ovechkin. AO’s minus-2 rating and mild offensive contributions made him little more than a neutral player. He didn’t have his first scoring chance until 55 seconds into the 3rd period.
- Neutral is what Nick Backstrom should aim for. Minus-2 with two penalties and two shots thoroughly shanked. Not Nicky’s night.
- Troy Brouwer recorded his first goal as a Washington Capital by deflecting Jeff Schultz’s rocket. Fellow newbie Joel Ward also gets props for screening the goalie on that one.
- Whose fault was the too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty? Coaching? A zealous player? Semin in the box? Let’s find out soon, because this is one penalty we see far too much of.
Okay, let’s give Alan May the mic for a second:
Not entirely sure what “thick & proud” means, but you should really be following @MayHockeyCSN.
This game was thoroughly insane. There’s too much for one recap. Some might open fire on Tomas Vokoun for letting by some softies, but his performance in the closing minutes should water it down a bit. For now, let it be Jason Chimera’s night.
I hope that this victory over Tampa, the first in a very long time, gives you some relief. I hope you eat delicious wings from Glory Days. I hope you picked up Jason Chimera in your fantasy league.
We’ve got the Penguins on Thursday. Expect to see Vokoun in net.
We leave you with a tune from Veruca Salt dedicated to your Palm player of the game:
CHIMMER CHIMMER LIKE A GIRL SHOULD YEAH!
Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg, who totally called Chimera being hot tonight.