Photo credit: Gerry Broome
The Washington Capitals last met the Carolina Hurricanes at home for the first game of the season. That game established the 2011-12 Caps as the scoring force we’ve been waiting for. Tonight was more of the same. More delightful, delightful same.
Right after the faceoff, Anthony Stewart redirected a Jay Harrison shot that Neuvirth wasn’t ready for. Jeff Halpern dove for his goal in the second. Soon after, Marcus Johansson provided a gorgeous saucer to Troy Brouwer, who scored effortlessly. John Carlson slapped a big one home on the power play. Cody Eakin scoared his first NHL goal halfway through the third thanks to a smart pass from Alex Semin. Alex Ovechkin slid the puck gracefully to points-leader Nick Backstrom, who executed the layup. Caps beats Canes 5-1.
- The Canes actually scored on their second power play of the night, but the goal was waved off when the ref lost sight of the puck. Since this is the sort of thing we kvetch about endlessly, it seems right to acknowledge incompetent reffing working to our team’s favor for once.
- Per a scoring change, Cody Eakin recorded his first NHL point ever!
- And then… Alex Semin on a semi-breakaway, dropping to the carrot-topped noob. Eakin holds the puck, eyes the net, and releases with the hand dexterity that only a 20-year old has. That game puck is headed back to the Burrow. (Pic via @SergeyKocharov) Not bad for 8:45 of ice time.
- Your best line of the night might have been the sleeper bunch of Matt Hendricks, Jeff Halpern, and Mike Knuble. They are three guys with somewhat overlapping skill sets, the kind you’d expect not to have much synergy. But you’d be wrong. No one worked harder than this trio, and I’d bet one of these guys is wearing the hard hat tonight.
- With his holding penalty tonight, Roman Hamrlik is clearly challenging #BadSasha for the team’s PIM crown. Roman has 10, Semin has 12. This penalty competition is the cause of Bob Woods’ irritable bowel.
- Little known fact: Eric Staal absorbed his twin sister in the womb*. Also, he speared Big John Erskine in the peepee and bubbles. All around bad guy.
- The lead-up to John Carlson’s (awesome) goal was Tuomo Ruutu rolling dirty on Dennis Wideman. After the hit from behind, the guy standing up for his brother was Mike Knuble, who played the tough guy convincingly.
- Overlooked in the goal romp is Michal Neuvirth, who was solid in his first full game since the last Canes game. 25 shots, only one getting through (and that one via deflection.)
So Bruce Boudreau did his line shuffling trick again. We really gotta stop doubting this guy; he gets results. Every time he puts Hendricks in the shootout on a hunch, or sits Ovechkin for a couple shifts, or puts Eakin out with Mojo and Semin, we should just shut our big dumb yaps.
The Caps’ record right now is a lot – a couple – none. The team is clicking in every way, so enjoy your Friday night and meet us back here tomorrow night for a date with the Isles. I won’t be covering the game (ten-year high school reunion for the win!), so please scrutinize Ian’s grammar in my place.
* NOTE: This is not actually true. You really shouldn’t trust us.