Ovechkin Ascendant, Holtby Perfect, Caps beat Wild 3-0

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

After letting the Jets steal two points on Friday, the Washington Capitals direly needed a win against the Minnesota Wild to keep them off the golf course come April 8th. Aware of this fact, the Capitals played a smart game– even after getting the lead.

A little over 30 minutes in, Alex Semin accelerated into the Wild zone and set up Jason Chimera for a smart opening goal. Mathieu Perreault crashed the net for a goal on an undeserved power play. Alex Ovechkin did the Alex Ovechkin thing in the third. Caps beat Wild 3-0.

  • For a while it seemed like this game would be a tightly reffed affair, which probably would have been good news for the Caps if they could have mustered more than one shot on goal in their first two PP opportunities.
  • Under the rules of our The-Universe-Hates-the-Caps theory, a puck that goes over the glass after hitting Mike Knuble’s stick does not yield a power play. But it happened and now we must assimilate new information into our unified theory of everything. That PP led to Perreault’s goal, which makes it a doubly tough break for the Wild, but mistakes will happen in this sport as long as it is ref’d by humans. Or until there’s a coach’s challenge.
  • Unless you’re muting NBC (in which case, nice!), you’ve heard someone compare Braden Holtby to Ron Hextall. They’re both eccentric goalies who have played in PA, but at this point in Holtby’s career the comparison is absurd. We love love love Braden, but he’s still a little, pink, newborn pup in the NHL. Even with the excellence tongiht, let’s hold off on the Hextall chatter … unless we’re trying to deal him in the offseason.
  • Uber alles, good goaltending wins games. Holtby gave the Caps that tonight, including pulling some crease-clearing barbarian moves that got Verizon Center cheering. 28 saves and the third career shutout for the kid from Saskatchewan.
  • Unleashing the fury is one Alex Ovechkin, riding a five-game scoring streak on another classic Ovi goal. Add to that his crucial secondary assist on Perry’s PPG, and you’ve got another great multi-point game from the Captain. Add to that a brilliant check to stop a shorthanded chance, and you’ve got good stuff on both ends of the ice. We will just skip the part about that one turnover in front of Holtby.
  • Ululations about his decline aside, Alex Ovechkin is now 4th in the NHL in goals scored.  He’s tied with Phil Kessel, which has a sort of poetic symmetry to it.
  • Usually the Capitals play conservative with a two-goal lead. The “prevent defense”, which is about as effective as the rhythm method contraception, was thankfully absent tonight.
  • Uhh.. were they chanting HOLTBY or OVI at the end there?
  • Calling this game a must-win was apt. The Capitals are back in 8th place, and Tuesday’s opponent, the Buffalo Sabres, held out of the playoffs due to the tiebreaker.  So I guess Tuesday is a must-win as well. They’re all must-wins. Whatever, we’ve been calling games must-win since November. We were doing it when it was still underground, but now it’s all trendy.
  • Kick back and enjoy the rest of your Sunday night. Your Caps won. Mix up a sidecar, put on your most comfy slimline suit and skinny tie, smoke a billion cigarettes, and watch Mad Men. Take it easy. You earned it.

Bailamos!

No Joe B pic tonight. This game was on NBC Sports, so while it had Doc Emrick’s capable play-by-play work, it lacked the intelligence and non-dick-ish-ness of a CSN broadcast. Call us whiners if you want. I think we just have good taste in TV.

See you on Tuesday. Sabres. Must win. Crash the net.

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja n a

    They were chanting HOLT-BEE … except the idiots calling the game were too interested in (never) questioning Ovechkin’s effort -.-

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Carroll/15609808 Will Carroll

    i think both got chanted at different points…at least it sounded like it

  • Joe B

    Totally agree with that last paragraph those commentators must have a contract that says they can only speak negatively about the Caps.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    I’m all for open criticism of the team. You’ve seen what we’ve published here. But when it’s all one note, and when it’s not even based in data (like trashing Green’s defensive play), it’s bad TV.  -Peter

  • Chris

    NBC was on rare form tonight with the backhanded Semin compliments. It pains them for him to do anything well.

  • bailamos?

    BAILAMOS TO THE TUNE OF (INSERT YOUR FAVORITE SONG HERE)!!!

    WE’RE IN THE PLAYOFFS!

    (much more caps lock will be provided once we actually clinch) :)

  • brian!

    Yeah, that “feature” on Green in-between periods was pretty awful too.  The whole time watching it I kept yelling at the TV about him just now coming off hernia surgery for bleep’s sake.

  • brian!

    Random query: given the strong play of late from Holtby and Neuvirth, is it fair to believe that they should have been the goaltending tandem all season?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    ADDED

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    Don’t think so.

    Holtby is still pretty green. He needs more starts, but he can’t be the guy you depend on for 40 gms a season.

    Neuvy and Vokes both were wretched in the first 25 games or so. They both got better. Vokes got moar better, although Nuevy hotter later.

    Vokoun is still the guy. Or should be.  -P

  • Mllestecchino

    It was “Ovi” most of the time in the 2nd, “holtby” for basically all of the 3rd.

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  • brian!

    Sounds about right, though I would counter by saying the best way to get Holtby moar starts is by keeping him upstairs in the NHL.  Agree that Vokoun is our guy, but the nagging nature of his groin injury is worrisome.

  • ToeDrag19

    I also hate that they compared our injury riddled season to the Penguins’. Ours is completely different. We lost our far and away 1C. They lost their 1C who is only slightly (which is questionable) better than Malkin. They have a lot more depth, especially at center. This makes the comparison void. NBCSN just loves them some Penguins. It’s annoying that even when they’re not broadcasting a Pittsburgh game, they’re talking about them.

  • Guestz

    pfft. you probably said keeping Varly and Neuvy in net for last years playoff’s was a great idea too…… DERP.

  • Guestz

    i dislike Pierre McSUCK and his idiotic sideline commentary, but if he wants to keep bashing Sasha forcing our beloved #28 to react appropriately in order to shut him up, KEEP IT COMIN’!

  • Mesam

    I completely agree! I can’t believe after he set up Chimera’s goal, one of the commentators (Pierre?) said until then he’d been standing around the whole time! WHAT? Idiots…complete idiots.

  • Mesam

    Amen.

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