The Washington Capitals’ loss to New Jersey Devils on Thursday was one of their worst games in years. Saturday’s matinee still had some problems with penalties, but they added a magic ingredient: Alex Ovechkin’s thirst for SCOAR MOAR GOALS.
Alex Ovechkin sank a one-timer to cap off a great entry sequence by Chimera and Ribeiro. Ilya Kovalchuk used John Erskine as a screen to beat Braden Holtby late in the second period. Alex Ovechkin got his second of the day– coming up the right side and shooting between Volchenkov’s legs. Eric Fehr scored a shorthanded goal after robbing Johan Hedberg behind his net. Ovechkin converted a power play goal late in the third, and the hats rained down. Then Troy Brouwer got everybody wings, and it was party time.
Caps beat Devils 5-1.
- If this recap is below par, blame it on yesterday being Margarita Day. Or blame to Jimmy Buffett directly. He sucks by the way.
- That’s 11 career hat tricks for Alex Ovechkin. His first in over two years and his first in DC since Snowmageddon on Feb 7, 2010. Washed up? Naw. We told you it would happen, and it did.
- Wojtek Wolski missed a wide open net in the first period (although I think the puck rolled on him). That was a heartbreaker for a player already getting bad bounces lately. Wolski has been scoreless since his game-winner on February 1. With a bit of patience and perseverance, Wolksi should turn it around soon.
- Braden Holtby capably stopped a penalty shot by Steve Bernier. The shot was facilitated by Tom Poti’s trip while chasing Bernier’s breakaway.
- The Capitals PK unit has been terrific lately, a happy reversal from earlier in the season. They’re still overworked though. The Caps will take fewer penalties when they organize their breakout and neutral-ice game– you don’t commit penalties when you’ve got the puck after all.
- I don’t see why CSN doesn’t use Alan May between the benches in every game. He’s great with systems analysis, he’s got amazing stories (is there anyone he hasn’t fought?), and he gives Craig Laughlin more grief than anyone. Moar please.
- Nick Backstrom needs better linemates. If you’re expecting him to help guys score, he should play with guys who can score.
- With Carlson’s and Erskine’s pucks over the glass, the Caps now have ten delay of game penalties this season. That’s insane-o.
- There’s a lot to love about Ovechkin’s first goal. Ovi used his physicality to gain possession in his end, then immediately gave it up to Ribeiro and Chimera, who made the zone entry. Ovechkin got himself into scoring position and trusted his linemates to set him up. They did, and Ovi scored. People say Oveckin needs to broaden his game– but I think he’s still got a future as a pure scorer.
- Ovechkin’s second goal (man, it was fun to type that) was his first conversion of The Ovechkin Move (Right Side Edition).
- The third Ovi goal (okay now I’m shaking) was a clean bang-bang play– right after Ovi missed an open net a la Wolski.
- Eric Fehr was a great pick-up by McPhee. Never too early to re-sign a guy like Fehr, who has expanded his portfolio to include penalty killing (and shorthanded scoaring) this season. Now we gotta get him on the top line.
I know you guys don’t care about this stuff, but the Caps won this game because they shot early and often. The second period was a bit quieter, but the Caps looked like a completely different team compared to Thursday. Possession = wins, and the Capitals earned this win.
Braden Holtby has been terrific for three games straight now. It’s a shame he only got one win out of those, but that goes to show you that goalie wins are a silly stat.
What a freaking delightful game this was, and what a privilege it is to write about it for you guys. Enjoy your Saturday afternoon, and let’s welcome Alex Semin back to DC with a smile next week.
I am in the same press box with @russianmachine, the blog which did the thing with the space stuff. I can literally die in peace now.
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) February 23, 2013