Photo credit: Jonathan Hayward
The Washington Capitals ended their expedition through Western Canadia with a game against the Vancouver Canucks. These being the two most offensively potent teams of the last two seasons, the Saturday night bout had the rapt attention of all of Canada and the five or six D.C.-area fans who didn’t get invited to Halloween parties (e.g. us).
Tomas Vokoun left the net to play the puck, but retreated back just in time for Maxim LaPierre to bank it off his skates and into the net. Alex Ovechkin returned fire with a swat that rolled behind Roberto Loungo’s tuchas. On the power play, Christopher Higgins had all night to shoot, grab a rebound, and shoot again. Alexander Edler zeroed in on the net early into a power play to make it 3-1. Alex Ovechkin fired a laser pew pew pew on the power play. Mike Knuble put enough stank on his penalty shot for it to wobble past the goalie– tie game.. Edler struck again, one-timing from wide open after a pass from one of the Sedin twins. Marcus Johansson seized on a bad Canucks line change to beat Luongo and tie the game.
Then Alex Ovechkin committed interference, and it all went to hell.
Relief goalie Michal Neuvirth bobbled the puck to give Henrik Sedin for an easy tip-in. Soon after, Chris Higgins skated past a wiped-out Sean Collins to give Canucks a two-goal lead. Maxim LaPierre’s semi-breakaway made it a three-goal lead. Canucks beat Caps 7-4.
- At the beginning of the second period, Michal Neuvirth made his return to the ice– his first since the first game of the season. Don’t blame it on Tomas Vokoun, who has been pulled only 45 times in 614 games according to Joe Beninati. The first intermission demanded a change, and Bruce gave Mikey a chance. Let’s just say Neuvy was getting the rust off and leave it there. Between him and Vokoun, they faced well above 40 shots, which tells us that problem on the ice was somewhere in front of the G spot.
- The Capitals of the first period played their worst 20 minutes of hockey so far this season. The Canucks owned the puck, played more physically, and exploited their powerplay opportunities. Meanwhile, the Capitals couldn’t enter the offensive zone, kept getting smacked around, and got outmaneuvered while on penalty kill.
- Sean Collins is a good hockey player, and he’s pretty quick for a defender. But he only shows up when someone’s hurt and he was plainly outmatched against the Canucks forecheck and quick pace. One could argue that two goals against could be put on his shoulders.
- The Canucks are a good hockey team partially due to their fantastically aggressive forecheck. In much the same manner that Tampa Bay pwned our Capitals, Vancouver kept pressure on defenders, turning over breakout attempts and creating way too many secondary chances. Is Washington particularly susceptible to this strategy because of their offensive eagerness? Does goal-scoring zeal lead to defensive lapses? Food for thought once you sober up.
- Alex Semin‘s hooking penalty (at least in the defensive zone this time) puts him at 12 PIMs on the season. Team leader!
- Alex Ovechkin loves Hockey Night in Canada, and he loves multi-goal games. He has now regained the team lead from Jason Chimera and dear god is that actually true? Alex’s eagerness for a hat trick probably led to his interference call, which would’ve been understandable were it not in the offensive zone during the third period of a tied game. The ensuing power play yielded the game-winning goal.
- We should be grateful for the coverage that CSN provides. Replaying two Caps penalties after the whistle, CSN revealed bad calls: It was Ryan Kesler’s stick (not Joel Ward’s) that was high, and Troy Brouwer’s delay of game was actually a deflection off a Vancouver stick. We hear that other hockey fans around the league don’t get that kind of competence, so here’s us saying thanks, dudes.
- Mike Knuble drew a penalty shot, only the second of his 273-year-long career. At first we were worried that he might not know what to do– that he might skate the wrong way or hold the blade end of the stick. These fears were unfounded. Then we were worried he would need a break skating from center ice to the net– perhaps taking a breather around the blue line while asking the linesman why they’re not making new episodes of Monk anymore. That didn’t happen either. Instead, Kanoobs barreled towards Luongo with enough oomph to score. It was a typically ugly goal for the old man, which is to say– it was beautiful.
Let’s get the hell out of Canada. It’s a stupid place, full of stupid people and stupid poutine. All the cool Canadian people had to come to America before they did anything cool: Trebek, Moranis, J. Fox, that’s it– end of list. The Capitals’ northern exposure gave us two losses in two games, and we didn’t even get to see Mike Green squinting on the bench looking all cool. Aside from a fun second period, this game was a total bummer.
It’s after midnight on the Saturday before Halloween. No one is reading this thing except for drunk people dressed like sexy nurses and Steve Jobs. So here’s a bunch of things that have nothing to do with hockey: A puppy sitting on another puppy, Anamanaguchi’s “Helix Nebula”, a picture of a baby ferret to placate Ian, insane speculation/spoilers for A Game of Thrones that you SHOULD NOT READ, a picture of my bulldog Georgia, Wikipedia list of people killed by their own inventions, aaaaaand animals being dicks.
Back to hockey. Nevermind; this game sucked. Let’s just end it.
Ian informs me that our t-shirt store is offering free shipping until midnight on Sunday. Now is the perfect time to buy your mother-in-law that IN-SEMIN-ATION shirt. Use the coupon code WITCHINGHOUR.
Anaheim comes to town on Tuesday, along with our boy Andrew Gordon. We’re gonna rip him to shreds.
Have a happy Halloween everyone. Send us your hockey-themed pumpkin pics and look out for razor blades in your candy apples.