Neuvy smirks after taking a Rene Bourque slapshot off the mask. (Via @WashCapsRock)
The Washington Capitals’ season is still on shaky ground. Buffalo’s loss to Pittsburgh on Friday kept their hopes alive, but Saturday’s game versus the Montreal Canadiens held huge determinative power. Perfect time for a Comebackstrom.
After having his initial shot blocked, Alex Semin found a wide-open Mathieu Perreault in the slot, for a one-timer. 1-0 Caps. Unguarded in front of the net, Matt Hendricks hit Jay Beagle with a cross-crease pass to put the good guys up 2. Erik Cole then scored a momentum-killing goal with one minute left to go in the first.
In the second period, the Canadiens dominated. Tomas Plekanec tied it up when he went around a slow-skating Roman Hamrlik and scored on the backhand.
After multiple scoring chances for both teams in the third period, the game went to Overtime. Then the shootout. Thanks to goals by Matt Hendricks and Alex Semin, Caps win 3-2.
- Alex Semin ended his penaltyless streak after finishing a check late in the first. Like his last penalty 8 games ago, it was a soft whistle. He’s not Matt Cooke or anything, but Sasha has certainly cleaned up his act.
- The Caps opened up hot with 12 shots in the first frame. But, like usual, they backed off big-time, allowing the Canadiens to catch up in the possession contest. This problem does not appear to be going away anytime soon.
- In fact, the Habs’ second goal was the result of the Caps being unable to sustain possession. Hemmed in their own zone for so long, Hamrlik (who looked ginger after a hit along the boards) and Wideman were unable to end their shift.
- No Nicklas Backstrom under the hood? Regardless of the circumstances, I’m disappointed.
- Michal Neuvirth took a puck to the throat late in the second, prompting Caps trainers to rush to his aid. But Mikey is made of sterner stuff and got right back up.
- The Caps didn’t play as if the season was riding on this game, but they had to have known it. A disorganized offensive effort and passive presence in their own zone convey a team that has given up. Like, ya know, the Habs.
- The guys who played best were the ones we expected least. Like Jay Beagle, whose timely goal and aggro PK service created a nucleus for an otherwise diffuse team effort.
- Matt Hendricks scored in the shootout, but that freeze move seems to be losing its mana. The word is out. Probably because of guys like us.
- Nicky is back. That’s pretty much all there is to say about that. He was a bit shy along the boards, but that’s understandable. He still managed to have 2 shots and win 12 of 18 face-offs in 19:38 TOI.
Pregnant women and people with high blood pressure should not have
been watching this hockey game.
Thankfully our friends in Toronto bested the Sabres, granting our Caps sole possession of 8th place. Fruit basket to those guys– someone make it happen.
Yeah, not the statement game we needed, and not an apt reaction to the team’s circumstance. But points are points and it’s Saturday night and Nicky is back and the world is okay.
Crash the net.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland.