Photo credit: Mitchel Layton
Friday night’s meeting between the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens was an exciting one. The only thing that muddled the joy is that funny feeling that this may be one of the last times we see this version of the team play..
Mathieu Perreault got on the board by redirecting a Jason Chimera pass along the crease that Tomas Kaberle deemed not worth his time. Jason Chimera took the puck for an 80-foot stroll, pushing Carey Price into the net along with the puck. 16 seconds later, Marcus Johansson dropped a pass to Dmitry Orlov, who set up Alex Ovechkin waiting in the circle for a one-timer. That shot found the back of the net, giving the Caps a solid 3-0 lead going into the third.
Rene Bourque ended the shut out (actually 260 minutes and 4 seconds long) with a shorthanded goal. Joel Ward got the empty netter, and that was that. Caps beat Habs 4-1.
First, I’ve been waiting several games to use this picture. Doesn’t it describe the mood perfectly?
Mike Knuble was scratched for this pivotal Friday night match-up. Andy Strickland of truehockey.com reports that multiple teams are interested in 22. It’s possible we may never see old Kanoobs in Caps red again. If that’s true, we owe him a tribute post. Or 50. Submit your art now.
- Not strictly Caps-related, but we reported extensively on prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov suffering an injury this morning. We’ve got good news. All recent reports have said the injury was not as bad as we first feared. Traktor even says he’ll be playing at the beginning of March. So… uhh.. sorry about freaking you out. Our bad.
- On the revenge front, Mike Green sent Rene Bourque flying into the Caps goalpost for a penalty. Totes worth it.
- But Bourque struck back by ending Neuvy’s shut out with a shorthanded goal. That was on the Capitals’ 4th failed power play of the night, suggesting that the team’s crappy road man-advantage has come home to roost. Actually, Bourque was the Habs’ biggest threat through the third period.
- Don’t let goal that diminish Michal Neuvirth‘s performance. After relieving Tomas Vokoun capably in Ottawa, Neuvy had another solid one at home on Friday: 29 saves. I think he starts on Saturday, but I’ve been wrong a lot in predicting Dale Hunter’s decisions this season.
- The Caps blocked only 10 shots all game. Weird, right?
- This game was a penalty party. The Caps were motivated, outskating Montreal by a margin and drawing penalties in the process. In fact, one could argue that the Canadiens got away with a few bad hits in addition to the 6 they got called for. Of course, the Caps reversed that leg-up with some dumber violations in the third, but luckily the Canadiens ended two powerplays prematurely with penalties. Pick a peck of –you get the idea.
Captain Alex Ovechkin returned to action after missing Wednesday’s game, apparently due to a bruise on his leg. Ovi recorded 3 shots in the second period and none in the first and third. One of those shots was a pretty pretty goal. Talking to Al Koken during the intermission, Alex Ovechkin described the gravity of the team’s situation thusly:
Got it. Thanks, Cap. (Pic by @ThatWilcoxGuy)
We should mention that Ovi had a team-worst minus-7 Corsi score. His line was responsible for 3 shots on goal… and 12 against Neuvy’s goal.
In other news, our PUNCH THIS FACE campaign made a few appearances at tonight’s game.
Taped to the wall!
Yeah, the Caps were outshot. Yeah, the Caps power play bit the big one. But the boys in red had fun in the offensive zone, they played tough in their own end, and dammit– even without Mike Knuble they crashed the damn net. Washington is still outside of the playoff picture, but they’re just a little bit closer now. And we’ll see Rene again– at the end of March.
See you guys tomorrow night! Have a good one.
P.S. – We did a little video blog thing after the second period. If that’s the kind of thing you wanna see more of, let us know!