The Washington Capitals stepped out of playoff contention following their loss to Buffalo. Thursday’s game with the Boston Bruins was just the latest in a line of Most Important Games, but you couldn’t tell from watching.
After two scoreless periods, Dennis Wideman took a pass from Marcus Johansson and turned into a huge goal. Not long after, Alex Ovechkin saucered the puck to Johansson for a one-timer tally.
Then Krecji deflected in a shot from that hypothyroid guy with just three minutes left. Andrew Ference tied it up after Wideman failed to clear the zone right after that. Overtime decided nothing. Caps Bruins 3-2 (Shootout).
- Fourteen minutes into the first period, Jason Chimera chased Adam McQuaid behind the net. Maybe McQuaid didn’t know that Chimera was behind him, but he turned his torso– changing a mild shoulder check into a nasty-looking hit into the boards. Chimera, for his part, appeared to shift his body weight away from McQuaid as to not finish the check. Regardless, McQuaid went down. Chimera was assessed a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct. (When you skate like Jason, doesn’t every hit look like a charge?) Although the rest of the non-Alan May internet may disagree, we think Jason should get no extra punishment. McQuaid, who has a history of concussions, did not return to the game.
- The ensuing five-minute penalty kill was massive, but the Caps unit was up to the challenge. But at the end of that kill…
- …Tomas Vokoun left the game. This being his first game back from a nagging groin injury, Vokes’ comeback was short-lived. Michal Neuvirth relieved the senior Czech, who may not play in Caps red again if he doesn’t return soon.
- P.S. Nagging groin injuries… is that a goalie thing or a particularly Caps goalie thing? Discuss.
- The Caps had two shots and zero scoring chances in the first period (admittedly constricted by a major PK). The evidence seems to dictate that the team gets worse as their desperation grows. Why? Man, it’s almost April. I have no idea anymore. Let’s go with some scoundrely characterization like “the players haven’t bought in on Hunter’s system” or “their best players aren’t their best players.” Regardless, this problem ain’t gonna fix itself. How will the org address this?
- Zero shots on the Caps’ only power play bee tee dubs.
- Dennis Wideman’s goal was interesting. Ovechkin didn’t have the steam to carry the puck across the blue line, so instead he passed to Johansson and went to the net. Jojo dropped to Wideman, and the Bruin squad was too confounded to stop the shot. Creativity is the name of the game, but…
- There’s something to be said for the classics. Two minutes later, Alex Ovechkin entered the zone, went wide like usual, and served up a hungry Marcus Johansson at the goal mouth. It was as pretty as any Oates-to-Bondra goal from a billion years ago. Two points each for Marcus and Alex.
- Bruins, the best faceoff team in hockey, destroyed the Caps, who didn’t even have a Halpern in the lineup. So too went the possession game, but the Caps earnest blocking (20) was huge in limiting Bruins chances.
- The shootout bullet. Hendy, Sasha, Laich. Wow. Skill guys for the win!
You might say the Caps are now in 8th place, but it’s a mirage. With so few games left in this creaky season, that games played denominator becomes more and more important. The Caps are now rooting for other teams to lose.
On that topic, tomorrow night is Penguins at Sabres. The once red-hot Penguins are stalling (not Staaling) big-time this week, but they gotta win tomorrow night to tie our Caps up with Buffalo in eighth. (And once again, we’re rooting for the Penguins. This season has corrupted us all.)
What a crazy damn game. After a dismal opening 40, the Caps showed heart in the third before Magrubering in the last five minutes. And then the skillz guyz win it in shootout. Insane.
Don’t tell anyone we said this, but: hurray for the shootout!