Mitchell Layton

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

The Washington Capitals continued their drive to the postseason with a convincing win over the Southeast’s beaching whale, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite having the league’s best scorer in Steven Stamkos and veteran talent from Martin St Louis and that other guy I don’t like, Tampa has been a wreck this season. They fired the bad guy from Casino Royale, but they did pick up a really large person to guard their net now. The Caps scored on him a lot.

Caps beat Bolts 4-2.

  • Martin St. Louis moved quickly in his old age to put the puck on Lecavalier’s stick in the game’s first power play. John Carlson (and John Erskine) were a bit too tolerant of Vinnie’s occupation of the crease. That goal came just 7 seconds into the power play and two minutes into the game– that’s way too early for the subject of our next bullet.
  • Michal Neuvirth, who made his first appearance since March 16, probably wasn’t happy about his teammates’ defense on that first one. The second goal, a five-hole shot off a semi-breakaway by Killorn, was all on him though.
  • The Caps had a big second period. Alex Ovechkin tipped in a Jack Hillen shot. John Carlson fired one of the prettiest slapshots I’ve ever seen– the puck implanting itself in the net’s top-right corner. And then Joel Ward did the net-crashing thing perfectly, giving the Caps a crucial one-goal lead heading into the third period.
  • In case you missed it, we houseruled Alex Ovechkin’s shootout goal from the other night so that he’s now riding a twelve-game scoring streak as far as we’re concerned. He’s now tied with Tampa’s own Steven Stamkos, who did nothing on Sunday, for first in the goal-scoring race.
  • Nick Backstrom recorded his 300th career assist on Ovi’s goal. If Nicky wasn’t the best player on the ice, then it must have been…
  • Jack Hillen, who shut down Stamkos, contributed on offense, and drove possession definitively. Hillen kinda had a big day– in addition to his first multi-point game in a Caps uniform, he had a baby boy. Named Knox. Because hockey players shouldn’t be allowed to name children.
  • Okay, here’s where I’m at with the Aaron Volpatti thing. Volpatti (7:30 TOI, even unblocked shot differential) is empirically a less talented player than Wojtek Wolski (scratched on Sunday), so Wolski must be a total jerk or something. Since the explanation I’ve heard from the team (usually regarding some dubious physicality that Volpatti brings) is so unconvincing, Wolski’s secret jerkness is the only thing I can think of.
  • Tampa kind of sucks. They’re going to be a standings points ATM next season unless they do something drastic.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

The Capitals continue their march up the standings. That’s good, because their competition in the next week will be kinda tough. But with Alex Ovechkin attempting eleven per a game and getting eight on net, I’m a lot more sanguine about this team that I was two weeks ago.

Seriously, I’ve been pretty cool about the 2012 Caps, but they’ve been amazing in the last couple weeks. Unsurprisingly, that’s because of Alex Ovechkin. Adam Oates’ power play tactics and the move to right wing have given Ovi the inspiration he needed. All he had to do is get more pucks on net and the goals started coming. He did, and they have. His empty netter ties him for first in the Rocket Richard Trophy race. If he keeps shooting, I think he can win it.

Tuesday is gonna be a big one against a dominant Habs team. Crash the net.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pstobiassen Peter Tobiassen

    Stamko’s reaction to Ovi’s empty netter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7zfnbdyAW8

  • Toronto Caps Fan

    Alex Ovechkin can win the Rocket!!! My God does it feel good to say that again. I knew he was going to score that empty netter eventually!

  • demolition man

    ovie is playing out of his mind. i love it. that empty netter was gorgeous and that dude who tried to trip him from the bench should be suspended.

  • Akay15

    I’ve been enjoying Caps hockey so much lately I keep forgetting how much I hate Buttman and that this season only 48 games long…

  • http://twitter.com/m_roozy88 Matt Root

    I didn’t know Ryan Clowe played for Tampa!

  • OGD

    Fun fact. OV has had 17 goals and 11 assists since Milbury’s dumb comments. Thanks Mike!

  • JenniferH

    I think, not sure, but I think this might be my favorite opening paragraph from you yet, Peter. they did pick up a really large person to guard their net now. The Caps scored on him a lot. had me literally laughing out loud.

    Because hockey players shouldn’t be allowed to name children. And I’m laughing ridiculously again. I don’t know if you’re that funny or I’m on that big a high after tonight’s win.

    Great game, Neuvy was (almost completely) hands-down terrific! Carlson, Hillen, Ward, Backstrom… all fantastic. Then there’s the captain… the great 8. Alexander Oveckin… making me proud to be a Caps fan all the way!

    GO CAPS!!!!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Ovechkin has scored 16 of the Caps’ 45 goals since March 14. Caps were 10% to make playoffs then. They’re 80% now. OVI FOR HART.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005713165 Pat Magee

    Great game for Neuvy! Hopefully he gets some more starts down the stretch run here…. Holtby needs rest anyway!

  • JenniferH

    I missed the stick put on the ice from the bench — any vids or gifs of that (plus, of course, Ovi’s empty net GOAL!!!)

  • yv

    At-last ENG from Ovi. Now he should have them in every game, because in playoffs every game would be close and will go with EN at the end. The guy on the bench got 2 min for interference with stick on ice, but his name still not on nhl boxscore, wonder who was the crook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shehryar.shaukat Shehryar Shaukat

    It was Killorn

  • http://www.facebook.com/shehryar.shaukat Shehryar Shaukat

    Great game, this team will be dangerous down the stretch and in the playoffs. Also, you spelled Ovechkin wrong in the title.

  • Akay15

    I’m new to hockey– so when that happened, Joe B was saying it was interference and an automatic goal.. Did I hear that right? Why is that?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Yeah, interfering from the bench would have meant an automatic goal, but Ovi scored anyway and the refs gave it to him that way. Same result either way really.

  • http://twitter.com/annielockyer Annie Lockyer
  • http://twitter.com/VeggieTart Danielle

    check out the NHL site. They have videos of the goals, including where the guy tried to interfere with Ovi.

  • yv

    on nhl there is video of every goal in TBL-Caps boxscore, including ENG

  • Yo8

    Please, don’t thank that asshole for anything. I hope he is cries in corner every time Ovi scores.

  • yv

    with empty net any interference is auto. goal

  • Akay15

    Cool thx for the explanation guys. Don’t know who it was but he’s an idiot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikhail.pakhorukov Mikhail Pakhorukov

    and he does. Ovi made him a clown :o)

  • CDizz

    Told you 27 wasn’t too old ;)

  • JenniferH

    Thanks. :)

  • Eugene Chernov

    Guys, it seems that in award for Maria’s contribution, one of Matreshka bellow this page should have racket in her hands.

  • http://twitter.com/dylanwheatley83 dylan wheatley

    just a note on wardo: he’s quietly put up 20 points this season (good for 6th on the team behind ovi, nick, ribs, brouwer and erat — let’s say 5th since erat shouldn’t count), and he has the best nhl.com profile picture mohawk ever. love what he’s been doing, love his line, love his haircut. totally worth his 3mil a year hit.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Utterly. Ward should be a full-time second liner IMO and should get more of a look on the PP. Maybe he’s still slightly overpaid, but what a dude.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    depending on whether you count shootout goals, it’s 45 or 47 goals. Whatever.

  • Rhino40

    Must. Have. GIF.

  • Rhino40

    I think a good shopped gif of OV’s EN goal would be a cartoon brick wall appearing where Killorn’s stick was, then OV smahing through it to scoar anyway. Could be the funnniest since “NES Ovechkin Stick of Fire I Scoar Goal”

  • Rhino40

    Suck it Milbury….hahahahahahaha)))))) best!

  • http://twitter.com/dylanwheatley83 dylan wheatley

    only problem with him being on the second line is he’s a righty, and we’re stacked on the right. definitely agreed about him needing more pp time.

  • JenniferH

    Thanks. I did find it. Man, what was Kilborn thinking??!!