Lil Mikey Neuvirth Comes Back Big: Caps beat Habs 3-0

Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz

The Washington Capitals invaded Montreal like pillaging barbarians, and they only needed 16 shots to do it.

Hometown boy Mathieu Perreault ripped a wrist-shot high on Carey Price’s far side to score in the first five minutes. Marcus Johansson had to fence with Andrei Kostitsyn, but he got a shot off to make it 2-0. Alex Ovechkin’s puck slipped through a few legs during a supersized power play. Caps beat Habs 3-0.

  • It took only 15 seconds for Matt Hendricks to ask Rene Bourque to dance. Hendy meant well, trying to get some paybackstrom, but Bourque walloped him good. That’s okay– this was more about team solidarity (“thick and proud!”) than about punches landed. Bourque had a breakaway later in the game, but rang the post because there is such a thing as cosmic justice.

  • Marcus Johansson caught Mathieu Darche‘s stick in his mouth behind the Washington net. Reports of improvisational dentistry followed.
  • Despite tantalizing but erroneous tweets dring the pregame, Mike Knuble did not serve on the top line tonight. He returned to fourth line service, where he felt unappreciated and surfed pinterest all day instead of working. 15:08 TOI.
  • Michal Neuvirth hadn’t played a full game since December 26. He spent the time since complaining about Dave Prior’s absence and leveling up his wood elf thief in Skyrim. Well, Little Mikey came back with a vengeance on Wednesday. After some shaky saves in the opening minutes, Nuevy dialed it in and delivered one of the finest performances — and the second shutout– of the season.  31 saves for the stud. It won’t be 10 games before we see him again.
  • John Erskine hadn’t suited up since the 9th, so he wanted to get all his nasty hits in during this one. His headshot on Max Pacioretty earned him the rarest of rare PokeMon: the triple minor penalty! The Capitals have avoided the attention of Brendan Shanahan so far this season. Not sure if that streak continues now.
  • There was a lady apparently just casually holding a bottle of gin at Bell Centre. Typical Montreal.
  • Alex Ovechkin (1 goal, 1 shot) got whistled for delay of game, despite the puck hitting the glass. Also Typical Montreal.
  • Marcus Johansson left the ice late in the game with an apparent leg injury. We’ll keep you posted, but this team can’t lose another center. Somehow, incredibly: Typical Montreal. [UPDATE 10:39 PM: Johansson reports to WT’s Stephen Whyno that he is fine, which we assume refers to health and not just being hawt.]
  • And finally: penalty kill. The Caps kept Montreal scoreless through 7 PP opportunities and 9 5v4 shots. There’s no better way to practice your penalty killing than against one of the very worst teams in the league. How bad are they? Bad enough that a few Caps PKers snapped their own sticks just give the Habs a sporting chance.

Joe B suit of the night

The story is shots, shots, shots. The Caps fired only 10 through two periods and finished with a grand total of 16. That’s pathetic. The Canadiens are garbage at possession, but the Caps still had to block 25 of their pucks. That’s just embarrassing.

Winning in the worst way.

We’re happy– nay, elated– over the win. The Caps climb the Eastern Conference slowly and steadily, but we’re looking for a team that can do more than get lucky (and scoring on 18.75% of shots is luck) against the league’s bargain-bin teams.

We want a contender. We want a team with an infinite thirst for offense– even when they’re up 3-0. We want a team that SCOARS MOAR GOALS.

P.S.  -  Ian did this and isn’t even ashamed:

[Seriously?]

 

  • Sentientcheese

    The Washington Capitals invaded Montreal like pillaging barbarians, and they only needed # shots to do it.

    umm.. i know you like to get it ready during the game…. but what’s the number?

  • al

    mikey was sick this game, and i agree we need to spend more time out of our zone in more time in their zone with quality shots on goal

  • Peter

    16 ya big jerk! It was at the bottom of the post too!

  • Sonja Andrews

    Photo = priceless

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  • http://twitter.com/traceybeeh Tracey

    I wasn’t able to watch, but the news of MoJo being injured (twice, apparently) does not make me happy.

  • Guest

    Jeez Hendricks got destroyed by Bourque.

  • Max Duchaine

    “Stan Marsh? Stan DARSHE is more like it!”

  • Stephi

    there are no words for that photo…

  • Pattyo

    I’m not gonna complain about the shots, just gonna be happy we’re winning, ovi is scoaring, and our goalies are out of their respective slumps.

    The shots will come with time, i feel…

  • Princess

    I’m glad the cosmic justice league intervened in preventing Bourque’s shot. I think Ovechkin needs to do further justice with a hit like he did on Ruutu next time. 

  • http://twitter.com/kat326 Rachel Cohen

    Nice pecs, Neuvy. ;D

  • brian!

    Glad someone else caught that!

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  • MathMan

    Montreal isn’t “garbage at possession” now that Gomez is back in the lineup, though it certainly would help if Cunneyworth knew who the heck his tough-minutes players are (hint: not Eller) and had a clue about personnel usage.

    Discounting empty-nets, their goal differential is -1. They might be in the doldrums of the lineup but they’re almost certainly better than most of the teams around them, even though the new coach seems determined to squander their ability.

  • Peter

    Fair enough. On the season their team fenwick ranks 20th while the score is close. That said, they’re terrifically offensive when coming back from being down a goal.

  • MathMan

    They were 52% with the score close until Gomez got injured in the Carolina game, then below 45% until he came back, and have been in the black since. Too many injuries, and Gomez’s puck possession abilities papered many of them. The Habs could have survived not having two real top-6 matchup centers, and they might have survived the lack of a credible second D pairing, but both at the same time was more than they could handle. Combine that with ridiculously bad PP shooting (their sh% is worse than most clubs’ 5-on-5 sh%, including their own), and, well, you get what you see here.

    The new coach is just silly though. Eller is not yet a tough-minutes center. He *will* get there, but it’s too early to throw him into the fire with no support. Chris Boyle calculated that he was a .520 Fenwick-close player under Martin and has been .368 under Cunneyworth and it all comes down to usage.

  • 28ISGREAT

    So I know you guys have this thing for Knuble of late – and I get it – but having been watching him pretty closely these last few games, I have to say, the guy’s age seems to be showing.  He’s skating slow (compared to his peers on ice – not compared to me) and he’s doesn’t seem to be in place for the plays that do end up developing.   I’m just not impressed this season.

    I think this is #22 on the first line push is based a little more on wishful fantasy than what he’d actually bring to a  Mojo/Ovi line combo.  Frankly, I think a better case can be made to give Laich a shot on the #1 line – but Kanoobs – I don’t know… 

  • Peter

    Criticism hard to take seriously from dude with the handle “28ISGREAT”

    But for real…

    Knuble plays better with better linemates. He’s been a great complement to Ovechkin in the last 2 years. Laich is neither a proven finisher or a playmaker– just a solid dude on the puck with a great D upside.

    All we are saaaaaaaaaayiiiiiing is give kanooobs a chaaaaaance (on the first line with Ovi and whoever the center is) 

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  • https://twitter.com/#!/batmaneatsbabie Sandra Dee

    Surely I’m not the only person who hopes the “Mikey” nickname does not carry on.  I mean, come on.  He might look like a small child cat boy – but I don’t think “Mikey” when I see Neuvirth.