Photo credit: Joel Auerbach
Thursday night, the Washington Capitals moved into a playoff spot for the first time all year, taking over first place in the Southeast Division. Tonight, the Caps fought to defend their position against Miami’s other other other other team, the Florida Panthers. And they did.
OVI SCOAR, RIBEIRO SCOAR, OVI SCOAR, OVI SCOAR (ruined by Hendricks penalty), OVI SCOAR, HATS, Florida goals we don’t care about. Caps beat Cats 4-3.
There are only a few bullets tonight because Peter isn’t here and I’m stupid. You do, as always, get Joe B.’s suit of the night, crappy jokes, and a comment section. RMNB is always full service.
- The Caps were healthy for about 5 minutes before the injury bug hit again. First, Brooks Laich went down Thursday after possibly aggravating his groin problem (and seemingly taking a puck to the pucks). Tonight, it was Martin Erat‘s turn, who was slammed into the boards in just his fourth period with the Caps. Marty looked to be in a great deal of pain after his awkward meeting with the wall courtesy of Erik Gudbranson, who received five minute major and a game misconduct for his troubles. Suddenly, Washington is without top-six depth once again. We’ll wait to see how bad both injuries are.
- Last time out, Alex Ovechkin had his nine game scoring streak broken. That must have pissed him off — at lot. Ovi had two hat tricks tonight (Matt Hendricks ruined the first one by taking a roughing penalty just before the puck went in). After a slow start, Ovi looks positively 2008-y right now, with 13 goals in 11 games. He is now tied for second in the NHL in goals with 23 tallies. Four points on the night for the Great Eight.
- When asked by Locker during the second intermission if he felt any different during his recent hot streak, Ovi responded “I feel always great.” Same, Alex. Same.
- One more bullet on Ovi’s hat trick. This one doesn’t say anything, but I just wanted to point out OVI HAD A HAT TRICK again.
- Speaking of hot players, Mike Green would have extended his goal streak to five games if not for a pesky post. Screw you, post. Ribz popped in the rebound though.
- The Caps went three for five on the power play tonight. Their man-advantage unit has slowed down recently, but the ill-tempered Panthers gave them plenty of time to bump up their numbers once again. And the Caps used it well.
- Washington kinda sorta feel asleep in the third with a big lead. The Panthers made them pay as Tomas Kopecky, Peter Mueller, and Kopecky again tallied for FLA. The game wasn’t nearly as close as it looked in the end, but it goes to show what happens when you stop playing. They do say a four goal lead is the toughest in hockey.
- Joel Ward went one for one in the faceoff dot. Woo.
The Caps fought hard to claw their way from fourth to first in the New York Yankees of hockey divisions in just three weeks. (Get it? ‘Cause the Southeast and the Yankees both kinda stink. I know, I’m clever.) They’re healthy (well, they were a few days ago), used to The System, and firing on all four of their cylinders. The Caps have 7 of their remaining 10 games at home and Carolina and Winnipeg have both been faltering lately. It looks like we’ll probably be playing hockey come tourist season, so don’t spend all your money on Nats tickets just yet.
Peter will be back with you tomorrow when the Bolts come to DC. Also, it’s gonna be really nice out so I suggest you go look at some trees with a billion other people.
And oh yeah, ALEX OVECHKIN HAD A HAT TRICK.