Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter
The Washington Capitals schlepped down to that bustling metropolis of Sunrise to face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. It was classic Caps hockey: dumb penalties, tons of goals, a nominal interest in defense.
Mike Ribeiro found the puck on the weak side to score an early power play goal, but then Tomas Fleischmann banked a shot off John Erskine’s skates to even it up. Shawn Matthias knocked in a go-ahead goal for the Cats from high in the slot. Karl Alzner scored a nasty slapper off the faceoff to knot the score at 2. Let me repeat that: Karl Alzner scored a goal.
Peter Mueller Huberdeau bounced a flubbery puck past Braden Holtby, but then Matt Hendricks got a rebound of his own. Jonathan Huberdeau exploited some bad defense to make it 4-3 Florida. Holtby bobbled a loose puck to give Drew Shore his first NHL goal — after a review from Toronto. Eric Fehr finally made it onto the scoresheet with a tip-in just five minutes before the end of regulation. Alex Ovechkin ripped a tying goal off the faceoff during a late-game power play.
And then Troy Brouwer won it in OT on a breakaway. Cause that’s how this team gets down.
Caps beat Panthers 6-5 (OT).
- Wild one. Caps hockey. Dig it.
- Alex Ovechkin delivered a good hit to Kris Versteeg‘s shoulders early in the first. Versteeg went down in pain, but returned to the ice a shift later to deliver a cheapshot cross-check on Ovechkin and start a kinda/sorta fight. In addition to making Versteeg look like an injury-faker (and a generally unaware hockey player), the ensuing power play gave the Caps a tasty PP goal– so pretty much bad all around for Versteeg.
- I’ve been told there is some confusion over my goal report. The Caps’ second goal was scored by Mr. Karl Adolphus Alzner, a hockey player for Washington Capitals hockey club. It was only the fifth for the stay-at-home defenseman. That goal was made possible by rare candy: a Caps’ faceoff win in the offensive zone.
- The Caps have had some bad team defense of late, and there was no better illustration of that than the 3-on-0 Panthers’ rush in the second. Luckily Braden Holtby was able to tap into whatever Iron Fist and Shang-Chi tap into to stop the attack. Stunning work in the paint.
- Despite the DoG and goals-against count, Holtby was pretty great tonight. Now if only he could get his team to play defense in front of him…
- The Capitals gave Florida three power plays in the first period alone, including another dang delay of game call. The Capitals PK unit isn’t totally rancid, but all that time spent in their own zone (sometimes feebly) really dries up the offense. The kind of Capitals who win are the kind who shoot a lot. The third period Caps figured that out, but the Matts teamed up for two more minors in the third that came close to denying the team their comeback.
- News came in that Scott Howson was fired from his job as general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets. I know that sounds like bad news, but anytime someone leaves Columbus that’s a victory for all mankind. But now the Columbus Maw demands to be fed. Someone dry-rub Brian Burke and put him in a hot box.
- Behindthenet.ca’s Fenwick chart for tonight’s game isn’t up yet, but I can tell you the Caps flatlined for a big portion. The Capitals caught up to win even-strength shots 26-23, but they went shotless for over 12 minutes in the first. The foot-on-the-gas metaphor comes to mind.
The state of the Caps is a lot like the State of the Union. There’s a lot of good stuff going on, but some jackholes still can’t get their acts together long enough to really achieve anything significant. Don’t get me wrong: huge win, but there’s still work to do.
The Capitals are atrocious at defense: particularly clearing traffic and breaking out, but also unforced penalties like a holding call when John Erskine can’t keep up with the rush or Holtby’s nine-iron delay of game.
But the offense is alive and crackalacking. Both Mike Ribeiro and Alex Ovechkin are on scoring streaks. Troy Brouwer is a star. The Caps have real offense for the first time in a very long time; they’re just waiting for the other half of the team to come to life.
They’ll have their chance on Thursday night against the struggling Lightning in Tampa Bay. Unless that city falls into the sea before then. I’m fine either way.
Someone forgot to “leave the gate open” in Sunrise… twitter.com/recordsANDradi…
— Danny (@recordsANDradio) February 13, 2013