Brouwer celebrates the hatty! (Photo credit: Nick Wass)
Coming into tonight’s game, the Capitals had scored on five of their last 12 powerplays. Meanwhile, Tampa was playing their second game in two nights on the road.
Right off the hop, Alex Ovechkin took advantage of Tampa’s tired legs, scoring on the powerplay via a blast from the point. The goal, courtesy of a screen orchestrated by Troy Brouwer’s rear, was Ovi’s 18th on the year. The Hockey Gods then rewarded Troy’s hard work with a goal of his very own 1:53 later on the brouwerplay.
In the second period, Brouwer went to the second power, pushing a rebound past 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson. With 2:54 left in the second, the Lightning got their first of the night when Mike Knuble had his pocket picked by Martin St. Louis. That freakin’ gnat then dished to Tom Pyatt who one-timed home his fourth goal of the season.
Steven Stamkos gave Tampa’s comeback some steam with a powerplay goal in the third period to make it 3-2. But Troy Brouwer then responded by collecting a hat trick with an empty-netter. Still the Lightning wouldn’t die as Vincent LeCavalier deflected home a St. Louis shot with 11 seconds left. After another wild deflection in front of the net almost got past Vokoun, the buzzer finally hit zero. Caps beat the Lightning, 4-3. WHEW.
- The Capitals came out hard tonight and put Tampa on the ropes early, earning 3 powerplays in the game’s first five minutes. After failing to get a shot on net on their first powerplay, the Capitals scored immediately on their next two. The game never really seemed in doubt until…
- Mike Green tweeted and set in motion the most bizarre set of hockey plays the world has ever seen. Let’s recap.
- Jason Chimera took a puck to the face and bled in front of the cameras.
- Alex Semin hit the post twice on the same shift.
- Karl Alzner, I repeat, Karl Alzner dropped the gloves with Steve Downie and landed the only punch.
- Troy Brouwer got called for boarding on a counter hit because Martin St. Louis weights 30 pounds.
- In defense of his fallen midget, Steven Stamkos dropped the gloves and tried to fight Brouwer.
- This happened.
- For those of you who still don’t believe in the wicked power behind Friday the 13th, I sure hope you do now. And if you still don’t, I guarantee a piano will fall on your head the next time you go outside.
- Anyways, other fun stuff happened tonight as well. Troy Brouwer had the game of his life, notching his first career hat trick. In two games against the Lightning this season, Brouwer has four goals. This was his fifth career multi-goal game.
- Dennis Wideman had two assists a day after being named an All Star for the first time. During CSN’s first intermission interview, he was still humbled by the selection telling Al Koken, “it’s something I wasn’t sure was ever going to happen [in my career].” Wideman tallied his fifth multiple-point game the season and skated a team-high 27:29.
- Beyond his first period goal, Alex Ovechkin‘s most noteable moment of the night was the peace sign he flashed to the crowd when the Capitals honored him for being named to his fifth All-Star game on the jumbotron.
- And personally, I’m just a huge fan of this Alex Semin hug.
With the win and Florida’s loss tonight, the Capitals are now two points behind the Panthers for the Southeast division lead with a game in hand. After everything that happened in the first half of the season, this seems incredible to me.
After a 11am practice Saturday at Kettler, the Caps will face the Carolina Hurricanes at home Sunday night. And just as a heads up, it’s a funky 5pm start because of the Ravens game that day. We’ll see you then!