Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
DFL. The Washington Capitals came into Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers in dead last place. Not in the southeast, not in the east. In the whole damn league.
Here’s the part where they turn it around.
Halfway into the game, Bruno Gervais sent a loose puck deep into Holtby’s net. Nick Backstrom tied it up with his first goal of the year, a patient deke to beat Ilya Bryzgalov one-on-one late in the second. Troy Brouwer took the lead with a brilliant near-side roofer. Wojtek Wolksi robbed Baby Schenn and put a one-touch goal on Bryz to make it 3-1. The Flyers got one back with a Brayden Schenn rocket right as the power play expired.
Caps beat Flyers 3-2.
- After two weeks of bad breaks and ugly losses, it’s absolutely refreshing to see them score two or three pretty skill goals.
- It’s a sign of how dire things are for the Caps that John Erskine is their most interesting player right now. Erskine has been his usual angry gorilla self, but now he’s quicker and oh yeah he’s scored that one time. When Erskine landed that elbow on Wayne Simmonds’s head on Friday, the fun kinda got sucked out. I think John’s best chance to avoid suspension is that he might’ve been taking a defensive posture.
- The Caps of the first two weeks saw their decent puck possession marred by bad luck. Their losses in Toronto and Friday’s game vs Philly brought a much less aggressive Caps team. The Flyers tilted the ice something mighty after the game’s first couple minutes, and though the Caps came back later in the game, they’re gonna need a more complete effort from here on out.
- Welcome to the scoresheet, Nick Backstrom! After two unlucky weeks, Backstrom was finally rewarded for his efforts. It was a great one, too: John Carlson breaks up a zone entry while the Flyers are on the line change, the puck finding Backstrom at center ice. Backstrom strides into the Philly zone, looks around and notices he’s all alone. After that, he slows down and deliberately puts a backhand deke on Bryz. No better way to start your scoring season off.
- Russian enigma Ilya Bryzgalov took an Ovechkin slapper to the ribs during a third period power play. It was Ovi’s umpteenth shot from above the right circle, and it probably hurt a bit. It’s even more probable that Bryz was taking the opportunity to buy his penalty killers a breather. Smart move.
- When people go see PSY play in concert, do they ever think, I hope he plays something off the new album?
- The Capitals improved their discipline compared to Thursday night, but it would have been hard not to do that short of some deer antler velvet spray or a on-ice Catfishing incident.
- What’s the deal with delay-of-game penalties? If it weren’t Friday night, I’d make up some numbers about how many more DOGs the Caps have had lately, but it is Friday and it’s probably a boring stat anyway. Let’s just say they’re up 5734% from last year.
- The Caps got pwned on the dot. Ribs, who is awesome, was pwned in particular, winning just 5 of his 12 faceoffs.
And that’s how ya do it. Even without winning the puck-possession game, the Caps won this one– due in part to increased discipline as well as some solid goaltending and fancy moves.
I know everyone is a bit jammed up over the Caps right now. Our brains tell us they’re not a bad team, but as those losses keep piling up it’s easy to get cynical. I don’t have anything profound to say about that right now except: Yeah. That’s the point.
The Game is going to test you as a fan. Sometimes you’re up, and it’s important not to be cocky then. Sometimes you’re down, and then you cannot despair. From where I stand, what matters is that we celebrate success and think hard on defeat.
Tonight was a success. Hopefully, the first of many. We came, we saw, we wolski’d. There are more bad beats coming, and definitely a few our team will deserve to lose as well. And when those happen… well, I’ll turn it over to Toby Ziegler:
We win together. We lose together. We celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweeter because we did them together.
Good win. Let’s do it again on Sunday.
— StopThrowingHats (@stopthehats) February 2, 2013