Photo credit: Brian Babineau
The Boston Bruins are the best team in the East. I think they’re the East’s best chance at winning the Cup this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m rooting for them or that I didn’t want the Washington Capitals to crush them on Saturday afternoon. That didn’t happen though. The Caps struggled on defense, and their offense needed help to get the puck behind Anton Khudobin. The game got a little wild in the second and third periods, which is just how the Bruins like it.
Bruins beat Caps 4-1.
- I’m not sure who should catch the blame on the Nathan Horton goal. Matt Hendricks goofed on a dump-in, but Troy Brouwer‘s deflection gave Lucic the opportunity to pass it up the slot. And of course no one marked Horton at all. Horton had a clean one-timer from high in the slot, and he absolutely nailed it. David Krecji followed it up by sinking a loose puck. It was a bad way to cap off a pretty tight first period.
- So maybe next year the Capitals should put together an NHL-quality blueline. Jack Hillen and his unenthusiastic D was responsible for Krecji’s goal — perhaps expected after he sat so long on the shelf. Steve Oleksy was on-ice for both first period goals and Ference’s tally in the second.
- Marcus Johansson opened up the second period with a casual pass from behind Boston’s net. The puck was deflected through the slot by a Boston player and then deflected into the net by David Krecji‘s skate. lulz. That was Marcus Johansson’s second goal on the season (13 games played) and also the closing arguments of any essay about why puck possession is more important that goals when predicting future success.
- That wasn’t totally fair. Johansson really was the Caps’ best forward. He had 4 shots and possession score in the black (plus-7 Corsi, unlike most of his teammates). I’ve still got my eye on him, but even if his goal was unearned he absolutely deserves credit for a great game.
- Basically counts as a shutout for Anton Khudobin as far as I’m concerned. Tell me I’m wrong.
- Andrew Ference scored as four-on-four play expired with a wristshot that was not adequately covered by the Washington D (stop me if you’re detecting a theme).
- The Capitals– or really just Matt Hendricks– kinda got suckered into playing Bruins-style puck. Lots of scrums after the whistle, troll-y provocation, and ding-a-ling measuring going on. That doesn’t really seem to be a good fit for the Caps roster.
- But the Caps roster doesn’t seem to fit anything. Case in point: Aaron Volpatti, a waiver-signing who one week later finds himself skating with Ovechkin and Backstrom for portions of Saturday’s game. Volpatti got a sweater instead of Perreault and Wolski for reasons mysterious and got a spot on the top line because he has the correct dominant hand. Oates seems to summarily eliminate wingers from top-line eligibility for such a reason, regardless of how much they (and really we’re just talking about Eric Fehr) can drive play.
- Ian was so bored by this game that he read the CBA. It was that bad.
- Alright, let’s try to unpack the end of the second period. Alex Ovechkin gave Brad “Cupcake” Marchand some grief, but somehow Mike Ribeiro got pulled into a fight. A noble enterprise by Ribs, but maybe unwise considering he weights 110 pounds and had never been in an NHL fight before. Matt Hendricks was so moved by the bout (or pissed that it happened) that he attacked Nathan Horton. Hendy got the best of him there, though Horton did earn a Gordie Howe for his blood.
- Hendricks had to choose between Thornton and McQuaid for another fight in the third period. Hendy chose McQuaid, tearing his jersey and bloodying his hand. Thornton drew an unsportsmanlike for his role in the run-up. The Caps did nothing with the resulting power play.
- Jason Chimera? Hahaha no.
- The Bs needed all of 8 seconds to convert a third period power play (Hillen for slashing). The Caps PK is rotten, but no one seems willing to take out the trash.
- Usually the team behind in the score starts shooting more to try to come back. That didn’t happen. The Caps, who rank in the bottom 10 in possession while trailing, actually saw their offense decline. Mind-bottling.
The Bruins are a better team than the Caps right now. It hurts to say it, but it’s true by every measure. The only virtue in games like this is what lessons the team takes away. Hopefully, that means acuity in the dangers of signing and playing sub-NHL defenders, the continued and desperate need for linemates for Ovechkin who actually drive play, and the futility of playing the goon game against a goon team.
At least the Caps get to feed at the trough of Buffalo tomorrow. That team is scorched earth.
I think tonight is when everyone celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. Please be safe. The Capitals’ Mike Vogel called this holiday “Amateur Night,” and he ‘s totally right. Try to avoid the dummies and be careful on the roads. Make sure you’re here for tomorrow night’s game at home.