Look how happy those white people are! (Photo credit: Ann Heisenfelt)
The final two undefeated teams in the NHL, the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings, met in Chinatown– each with the intention of removing that title from the other. All eyes were on this game. And it was a good one.
On the power play, Nick Backstrom found Mike Green, who scored with surgical precision from the high slot. Just 61 seconds later, Mike Knuble’s takeaway led to a short-side goal by Marcus Johansson. Back to Mike Green, who turned Ovechkin’s lateral pass into his second powerplay goal of the night. Niklas Kronwall unleashed a monster one-timer during a two-man advantage to put Detroit on the board. Mathieu Perreault ended the second period by cleaning up Matt Hendricks’ rebound. Brooks Laich stole the puck and set up Joel Ward to make it 5-1. Perreault showed up again with a clever wrister up front to make the score just plain ridiculous. The Wings didn’t even try to stop Nick Backstrom, who made it a touchdown. Caps beat Red Wings 7-1.
- The Capitals are now 7-0-0. They’re the only remaining undefeated team in the NHL. This is their hottest season start in franchise history. The beer flows like wine.
- Joel Ward scored the Caps’ fifth goal. That means all the Red Wings fans in attendance get to enjoy free Wings from Glory Days to commemorate the loss. From what we hear, the contingent from Hockeytown was in full effect at Verizon Center– competing with the “Let’s Go Caps!” cheers and applauding their team’s lonely, solitary goal. We’re still building America’s hockey capital here, so we’ll be gracious about the invasion until our dominance is secured. Please pity the next person you see wearing the winged wheel.
- After his first goal, Mike Green caught a puck in the face. He promptly headed into the locker room and returned after the intermission. Recall that it was a puck-face collaboration that led to Greenie’s concussion last season, and be glad he returned. A couple stitches is a small price to pay for 2 goals and 2 assists. This was Mike’s 12th career 2-goal game. Serious breakout.
- Detroit’s cumulative goals against count was 7 before tonight. You can double that now.
- This happened after Green’s first goal. They’ve hit thirty banks in three years, up and down the coast, following good waves:
- The secondary assist on Mike Green’s second goal gives Dennis Wideman a point in every game this season (and every game since he returned from his gross leg injury). According to the Caps game notes, that 7-game streak ties his career best.
- The triumphant return of the Alex Semin offensive-zone stick penalty! It’s been too long, brah. Good to see you again. Keg’s in the back.
- The second period was a disaster. Four Capitals penalties created two five-on-three opportunities for Detroit. The penalty killers deserve cake and presents for their effort, allowing only one goal through the whole ordeal. Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin took a catnap on the bench.
- Mathieu Perreault‘s big problem last season was maintaining his intensity from game to game. Three goals in five games will do the trick. As Craig Laughlin put it, Matty’s second period goal broke the back of the Red Wings. His third period goal made it just plain ludicrous.
- And Marcus Johansson has four goals in six games. Between him and Perry, your dark horse fantasy picks produced some fireworks tonight, eh?
- The depth is remarkable. No one on the Caps put up more than three shots on goal. Saturday saw five goal scorers. More players had assists than did not. Just phenomenal.
- Tomas Vokoun will probably play around 55 games for the Caps this season. He’s been awesome in all of them so far, and he’s gonna be awesome in the rest. He’s an awesome goalie. Do we have to write something new about it every time? If we start copying and pasting last game’s bullets and just replace the stats, would you even notice? Vokoun’s reliability in net is astonishing and new. 32 saves for the Caps #1 goalie.
The Washington Capitals are the #1 team in the National Hockey League. They just beat the #2 team. They’ve started the season as hot as any team has in the last few years. They’re going to be #1 on every power ranking you see next week. They’ve got a record-breaking streak brewing. They’ve got offensive depth and creativity that we haven’t seen since 2009-2010. They’ve also got a huge target on their back.
Now the Caps have four days off. Then the Caps will be heading out of town for a jaunt through the Canadian wilderness. Let’s hope they’re still the same team after the break.
Have a great Saturday night, everyone. See you on Thursday.