After a disastrous road trip, the Washington Capitals hoped to snap their four-game losing streak by walloping the Phoenix Coyotes. It wasn’t a wallop truly, but let’s just be thankful for the win.
John Carlson’s turnover on the power play set up Radim Vrbata for a shorthanded breakaway and the game’s first goal. Lauri Korpikoski converted the penalty shot he earned from another shorthanded breakaway. John Carlson deflected off a Coyote to get the Caps on the board.
Then a red balloon floated eerily above the ice like an angel of mercy.
Cody Eakin scored the second goal of his career with another flukey deflection, and we were tied. Early in the third, Nick Backstrom scored the kind of greasy goal you could lubricate an engine with– 3-2. On a 5-on-3, Brooks Laich scored, screened by Troy Brouwer, to snap the Capitals’ power play drought. Korpokoski got an ugly rebound to keep it interesting. Caps beat Coyotes 4-3.
UPDATE: You knew it was coming. We’ve got a rally balloon shirt.
- Up in Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby had a 2-goal, 4-point night in his first game since early January. Crosby is only five goals behind Alex Ovechkin, who had another frustrating night despite earning an assist.
- Sorry about the bullet, guys, but if you don’t think that’s the story of the night, you crazy.
- Dmitry Orlov played the first NHL game of his career, a win. Orlov had 0 shots, an even rating, and 11:56 ice time. Subbing for big John Erskine, Dima at least brought speed to a blueline that has dearly missed it. Yeah, there’s the small matter of that bad late-game rebound goal against, and he didn’t take any shifts late in the third, but still: he played in the NHL!
- Mike Knuble has logged a lot of time on the 4th line of late, and he’s acquitted himself well. He’s a role player, whatever the role. Promoted up to the top six, Kanoobs was all over the ice tonight. Per usual, he exhibited superior effort along the boards in his 20:08 ice time, the most among forwards and second only to Wideman.
- The Capitals held the Coyotes to two shots on the penalty kill, but surrendered goals against on their first two power plays. As the man advantage soared up to a staggering goalless streak of 28, Brooks Laich finally gave children a reason to smile again. There is indeed joy in Mudville once more, as the power play streak has been done broked.
- Good to see our old bud Boyd Gordon. Gordo took 16 faceoffs, only 4 on forward ice. Classic Boyd move. Gotta bet his foot is still all gross too. Just like old times.
- In the enemy’s net was Jason Labarbera, the lastest of many backup goalies burned by the Caps this season. It’ll be a really special night when Washington beats a first-stringer.
- And finally, this game marks Bruce Boudreau’s 200th career win, a mark that took him five attempts to hit. Congratulations, sir. We never doubted you for a second.
But seriously: CRASH THE NET. It’s not just a cute slogan; it’s a flawless tactic that yields goals, smiles, and normal blood pressure. Three of the Caps’ four goals tonight owe themselves to net crashy-ness.
People. There was a red balloon on the ice. In case you weren’t sure about the absurdity of the Capitals, there was a freaking red balloon on the ice. It lingered for long minutes, just out of reach like an almost-sneeze. Once the balloon descended, punctured by a zebra, the Caps found their legs. Their newfound hustle was surely a testament to the deflated bag of gas, their goal-scoring panache was definitely a tribute to the bag of air. Their coach’s 200th NHL win owes its legacy to a latex sack powered by increased air pressure and lowered air density.
Which leaves us with one question: How many of you guys are gonna throw balloons on the ice on Wednesday?
The Capitals have a crazy Thanksgiving week. We’ve got the Jets on Wednesday, the Rags on Friday, and a trip up to exotic Buffalo on Saturday. If this game were a loss, if there were no rally balloon, how miserable would this week be? But friends, there is hope. There is balloon.