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.
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: