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.
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.