Photo credit: Greg Fiume
The Washington Capitals just freaking obliterated the Florida Panthers. I don’t know how else to say it. Any flowery language would make the point less elegant: this was a thrashing. One of these teams is the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the other one is the Washington Capitals.
We learned that early, as John Erskine’s muffinly dump-in baffled Jacob Markstrom. We were reminded soon after– when Wojtek Wolski caught a Steve Oleksy pass and made it 2-0 on the Caps’ second shot. That was enough for Markstrom, who got the hook in favor of Scott Clemmensen, who promptly gave up two more goals on the Caps’ next four shots– one from Carlson, one from Ribeiro.
That was all in the game’s first 10 minutes. I could go on, but you get the idea. This was all Caps. Even when the shooting slowed, Braden Holtby was so on top of his game that this was never really a contest.
Caps beat Panthers 7-1.
- Braden Aloysius Goshdarn Holtby. A stinker in the season’s first ten games, he’s been truly elite since. I don’t know how long it’ll be until we find out if he lives up to the hype, but I– and the Capitals defense– are certainly enjoying the wait. Even without the shutout, Holtby had a gorgeous 29-save night.
- Serious stuff: Jason Chimera took a dirty hit from Tyson Strachan in the second period. It was a blindside elbow to the head, and it should earn Strachan a three or four game break from pro hockey. He should prefer that over my recommended punishment, which involves him dying in a fire. This was supposed to be Chimera’s night, dammit. Chimera returned to the ice after the hit, although did show signs of wooziness, which is actually a word according to my autocorrect.
- The flu is ravaging Kettler, but that’s nothing compared to the Florida Panthers, who had 8 dudes on their roster scuffed up in way or another.
- After a three-point night in which he was strong at both ends of the ice, Alex Ovechkin now has 699 career points. So this weekend should be fun.
- John Erskine reported that his opening goal wasn’t even supposed to be a shot– he was just dumping the puck in for a line change. Proof positive of the old maxim: shoot early and often. Erskine is one goal off his career best.
- Three-point game for Wojtek Wolsi, whom a lot of you thought was a chump. Penitence now accepted in the comments section.
- Chalk up another one for Eric Fehr. He’s got 4 points in the last three games and deserves every bit of credit he’s been given for it. Fehr worked through what many considered a career-ending injury, and is now so much more than just a good “character guy” for the locker room. He’s been a point-per-game player since getting promoted from the checking lines.
- Time for the Mike Ribeiro faceoff check-in: 3 for 7. That’s an improvement!
- Matt Hendricks was denied a third period goal– a greasy kick that would have given the Caps a full-on touchdown. Hendyface status: teh sads
- Matthieu Perreault’s 7-spot was a thing of beauty.
So pretty much everything is going right for the Caps right now, which makes sense after the way this season started. They’re firing more pucks, asserting themselves in the possession game, but most of all — the Holtbeast in net. The team needed this run so very badly, and now they’ve got it. The question is what happens now.
We’ve got two games coming up this weekend. Can the Caps keep it up? Will Alex join the 700 club? Will Michal Neuvirth get over the flu and take his net back?
I have no answers, but I’m genuinely excited to find out.
@ngreenberg You shithead
— RMNB (@russianmachine) March 8, 2013