Alex Semin interferes with Mattias Tedenby (Photo credit: Andy Marlin)
The last game before the holiday break featured the Washington Capitals in desolation against the New Jersey Devils. The Caps looked desperately weak for most of the game, digging a deep hole. But the third period was an explosion of Caps offense– one of the best comebacks in recent history. Still, the gimmick loomed.
Ilya Kovalchuk struck on a power play in the second period, a dribbling puck between Neuvirth’s pads. Not long later, Alexander Urbom scored on a defenseless net to make it 2-0. Adam Henrique chipped one in from up close to make it dire.
Brooks Laich used some speed and a Wideman pass to get the Caps on the board. Jason Chimera crashed the net and made it a one-goal game. Then Chimera tied it up at the end of a long offensive shift.
Into the shootout, where the Devils came out on top. Devils beat Caps 4-3 (SO), but the Caps take home one well earned standings point.
Who’s the man? Jason Chimera, the Chimdog. Chim-chim. That’s who.
- Alex Semin races for the minor penalty throne! His 20th of the year was an open-ice hit whistled for interference. He’s now tied with Corey Perry for 2nd in the league in minors. Brenden Morrow of Dallas has one more. In the game of deuces, you win or you die.
- Whatever. Sasha still got two assists in the third period. Even trade.
- The Devils penalty kill is superb: first in the NHL at 92.6% going into this game. That’s typical for a team notorious for its offense-stifling trap. What’s less typical is how forward the Devils played when they’re down a man. They were aggressive, spending PK shifts in the Caps’ zone generating more shots shorthanded than the team that was up a man.
- The Alex Urbom goal was a curious one. The Caps blueliners were playing too far up before the turnover, so the last man back was Alex Ovechkin. Ovi reflexively cut off Tyler Zajac’s shot, but left Urbom wide open to deke out a scrambling Neuvirth.
- Nick Backstrom had the best chance of the night to get the Caps on the board, but he rang iron… twice… from 2 feet out. Same thing happened to Semin a few minutes later. On nights like this, the luck just sorta stinks. The Devils hit the post a few times too, so at least it was equal-opportunity misery.
- Wooo. Marcus Johansson had a stinker. In 18:29 on ice, he fired 1 shot (in OT) and ended up minus-2.
- Mike Knuble had a season-low 8:45. He never started a shift in the offensive zone and didn’t see a shot on Marty Brodeur while he was on the ice. Is there something else going on here? This is absurd.
- Jason Chimera really deserves all of the bullets tonight, doesn’t he?
If the comeback didn’t happen, we might have gone into the holiday with a bad taste in our mouths. One we wouldn’t be able to wash out with egg nog or peppermint-flavored something-or-other. The shootout loss still stings, but not quite as bad.
But Dave Nichols of the excellent District Sports Page reminds us of what’s important:
Don’t let the result of a hockey game ruin your mood this holiday season. In the long run, it doesn’t matter that much.
That’s 100% true. The world is full of ideas and music and people who love you. There are enough strange and beautiful things out there– enough friends and family– that the fickle fates of hockey should not get us down for too long.
It’s the holiday season. Spend it with the people who matter to you. The Capitals will be waiting for you when you get back.
We’ll be here too. Keeping the faith, cracking jokes, dropping S-bombs on Twitter.
Peace on earth. Good will towards men. Crash the net.