Khabibulin vs. unsatisfactory soup (Photo credit: Andy Devlin)
On their first long road trip of the season, the Washington Capitals encountered some trouble from the Edmonton Oilers. With a perfect record so far, there was a lot on the line in the Canadian wilderness.
Karl Alzner opened it up with a wicked wrister from beyond the circles. Then, on the second 4-on-3 of the first period, Taylor Hall snuck one in from the back door. Jordan Eberle took a powerplay rebound and turned it into a goal. That’s it. Oilers end the Capitals streak 2-1.
- Read this out loud: Matt Hendricks whistled for diving. Just sounds wrong, doesn’t it?
- Let’s break down those late first period penalties. First, Semin hooks (I know, I know) at 15:23. One minute later, Ryan Smyth slashes Johansson, so it’s 4-on-4. Four seconds later, a freak deflection earns John Carlson a delay of game penalty, so it’s 4-on-3. 45 seconds later, Bad Sasha escapes the box, ending a successful 3-man kill for the Caps. But after just 20 seconds of 4-on-4, Roman Hamrlik gets called for hooking. Half a minute later, Taylor Hall scores. And then a few seconds later, Smyth finally leaves the box. “Let the boys play,” my Old Bay-powdered behind.
- The second period found FIVE penalties, all of them called against the Capitals. Breaking it down would be tedious. Some came from lazy play, most from referee strabismus. There’s a lot of naughty words in the English language; just use whichever springs to mind.
- One penalty not called: goalie interference. Your boy Tomas Vokoun was bowled over and roughed up a bunch tonight, stopping a respectable 17 shots on the way to his first loss with the Capitals.
- Halfway through the game, Andy Sutton bullied Marcus Johansson with three big hits behind the net. No whistles on those, nor were there any Caps players available to step in. At least there was a call when Ladismav Smid elbowed his head in the third. Poor Mojo.
- Andy Sutton was finally called for hitting Matt Hendricks right in the face… with one minute left to go.
- Brooks Laich caught a puck with his pretty face in the third period. After some stitches on the bench he returned to action. If you recall, Laich received a pair of high sticks to the face last week. The lesson here: WEAR A FLIPPIN’ VISOR, BROOKS.
- More importantly, the third period contained the Capitals’ most potent offense of the season. 18 shots were loosed, but Nikolai Khabibulin bested all of them.
- Count 6 shots on the score sheet for Alex Ovechkin, who looked ferocious in pursuit of the elusive tying goal.
- Edmonton’s Eric Belanger dove face-first to block a Dennis Wideman shot. How much can one man hate his own teeth? Luckily, he was spared this time.
A mountain of sugar is too much for one man. It’s clear now why God portions it out in those tiny packets, and why he lives on a plantation in Hawaii.
Homer Simpson is right. Winning all of the games would be inhuman and an affront to the Natural Order of Things. Each individually wrapped win is a precious thing, so piling them together just lessens their value. Tonight’s sugar packet was either lost or stolen (you decide), but there will be another one on the table come Saturday night.
Saturday will be a late, late game with the Canucks. Plus it’s the night when everyone is throwing their Halloween parties. Plus it’s gonna snow. So maybe we’re gonna do things a little different. For now, let’s talk about how exactly this game got away from our boys.
Finally, Joe B’s suit of the night is so sad, it deserves to be full size:
Crash the net.