Photo credit: Charles Krupa
After Thursday’s disappointing overtime loss to the Boston Bruins, Dale Hunter’s Washington Capitals redoubled their efforts. The result: another excruciatingly tight hockey game at TD Garden, but with a heluva lot more offense.
Troy Brouwer crashed the net to score to the game’s first goal after 38 scoreless minutes. Halfway through the third, Benoit Pouliot tied the game with a backhand off a loose puck in the slot.
And the overtime. Nothing. OT2 ended in a blink… as Nick Backstrom beat Thomas over the shoulder. Caps beat Bruins 2-1 (OT).
- Dale Hunter outcoached Claude Julien. Hunter double-shifted Ovechkin, freeing him in fleeting moments from Zdeno “would you like a peanut?” Chara’s halitotic coverage. That was the key to Troy Brouwer‘s crashed net and the Caps’ first goal in this series. Since I’ve been a critical jerk about Hunter all season, here’s me eating crow and singing praises: Hunter rules.
- Did you guys see Ovi webering after the Brouwer goal?
- I think JP called this on the last Caps Lunchbox: John Carlson has emerged in the postseason. He and Roman Hamrlik both, really. The Capitals’ defense has been the target of mockery and ire all season, but they’re playing a much tighter and physical game now that the 82 are over. Against a large and aggressive Boston offense, it means everything.
- One thing the Caps D-corps has done in particular is pressure along the blue line, causing approximately two billion off-sides calls against the Bruins.
- Thrown sticks, cross-checks, blatant trips, goalie punches– the Bruins got away with everything tonight. Contrast/compare the reffing in this series with the Penguins/Flyers. The officials were injecting their own narrative into a hockey game that is supposed to be decided by the players. People, it sickens us to say this, but even Mike Milbury thought this was some garbage hockey. Yeah: we agree with Mike Milbury. Print this recap out and frame it.
- We can admit that Alex Ovechkin‘s stick caught Dennis Seidenberg up high, but the Bruins were like Pesci in Casino: You beat ['em] with fists, he comes back with a bat, you beat him with a knife, he comes back with a gun, and if you beat him with a gun, you better kill him, ’cause he’ll be coming back and back, until one of you is dead. That applies particularly to Marchand grabbing Nick Backstrom‘s visor and shaking him around like a ragdoll at the end of the second. That’s assault, brutha.
- Dennis Wideman‘s deflection led to the Bruins’ game-winning goal in game 1. Dennis Wideman’s pinch led to the Bruins’ tying goal in this game (although with help from Matt Hendricks’ meh pressure and Holtby’s bad read). But then he saved the game in OT, so what do we know?
- As your boy Nate Ewell points out, punching a player in the head with a blocker is a game misconduct in the rulebook. The refs threw that book out.
Series: Bruins 1, Capitals 1
Erase all your doubts. This team can do anything. They’re stonewalling one of the best offensive teams in the league.
Dale Hunter beat Claude Julien. Alex Ovechkin broke free of Chara. Nick Backstrom has re-awoken.
Be very afraid of this team.
We’ll have a lot coming before Game 3, but for now: liberate yourself of predispositions. The rookie netminder is electric. The flaccid Caps defense is impenetrable. The lightweight forwards are throwing their weight around.