The Verizon Center with eight minutes left in the game. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
Losing to Buffalo, ugh. How could we lose to a team with such a beige, overpaid lineup? How could we lose to the team that employs Patrick Kaleta and pays Christian Ehrhoff $4 million?
Whatever, Buffalo. First one to a Stanley Cup gets the real bragging rights, which in your case will be in 2045 as the Kansas City Shortribs.
Holby gave the puck away to the Sabres and Cody McCormick was only too happy to give it back to start the scoring. Drew Stafford caught his own rebound just sitting there innocently in the crease to make it 2-0. Some person named Tropp deflected another huge rebound from from Holtby to put it in the net. Semin scored right of the faceoff and we wonder what Mike Milbury has to say about this? Pominville stole the puck from Ovechkin and scored shorthanded. Stafford destroyed what was left of our souls by scoring his second of the game. Caps lose, 5-1.
- The Caps actually had some good offensive pressure to start the game, but that was before our defense decided that it was probably okay to let the Sabres skate around in our zone, shooting pucks at our goalie(s) at their convenience. I’m sure they were just trying to be polite, but you know what they say about houseguests. It was not exactly an ideal start for the Most Important Game of the
Week YearEntire Existence of the Capitals Franchise.
- We got a close, personal look at Ryan Miller’s patented Petulant Fury tonight when Brooks Laich steamrolled him late in the first. It was interference. It didn’t get called. This is his nightmare. Fortunately Miller has learned by now that none of his teammates can ever be bothered to protect him from things like that, so he took it on himself to get into a shoving match with Laich. Will we get to see Ryan Miller unravel into shrill, greasy-haired madness again, raving about ghosts of Bruins past? Stay tuned.
- Braden Holtby has had some extraordinary games for the Caps lately. This was not one of them. I’ll give him a break on some of those maddening rebounds, he’s been working hard for us, he’s exhausted from living up to our expectations. He didn’t even Holtby Shuffle during the anthem, just stood there, and we should have known right then that this was just not his night. Michal Neuvirth was of course ready to step in when Holts faltered, because he is a hero, and the Caps promptly had the next ten consecutive SOG. Such is the power of Michal Neuvirth.
- The Sabres lost Christian “$$$$$” Ehrhoff in the first, and then Andrej Sekera to a shot block in the second. Man, it must suck not to have extra defenseman just lying around! Luckily they still had Franchise Player Tyler Myers on the ice, who is worth at least two defensemen because you can’t teach size, people.
- Five minutes later, Patrick Kaleta took a slapshot on the hand that he just came back from healing. We hear there are rumors about bounty systems in Washington.
- The power play was disastrous tonight. On the team’s first PP of the night, Vanek and Roy spent a good 30 seconds playing keepaway from the Caps’ forwards, and then they made good on that threat by scoring a SHG on their second PP. Pominville, population: 29, main exports: night ruining, boring personality, inexplicably being at All-Star Games even though no one can remember who invited him.
- Here endeth Alex Ovechkin‘s scoring streak. I do not believe that this was a fluke, however. I expect to see more of the way he’s been playing lately, so just in case anyone in the league has ceased to fear him during that teeny tiny little scoring slump, here’s your official notice: Russian machines do not break. Sometimes they need to shut down to recalibrate for a little while, that’s all.
- Mini rant: I hope nobody said anything like “well it looks like the Caps just don’t want it” to you tonight. There is such a huge difference between lack of desire and lack of ability, and the Caps have been playing for most of the year with a roster full of checking forwards miscast as scoring forwards. They’ve done reasonably well for the way they’re constructed, but it’s not easy the way it used to be for these players, it’s been like trying to play the piano with ten thumbs. It’s been a struggle, it was a struggle tonight, but I’m not going to say they didn’t want it.
- 5-1. That’s a familiar score. …Fire Boudreau?
Well, cool, the Buffalo Sabres have gotten just hot enough to barely miss the playoffs in painful and embarrassing fashion. We’ll make sure to wave at them as we go by.
Take Mike Knuble’s advice. There is a tomorrow after this game. There is time. We pile up expectation on certain games and often for good reason, but this loss doesn’t decide or doom anything, not all by itself. More hockey Thursday.