Francois Lacasse

Photo credit: Francois Lacasse

The Washington Capitals have had it too good for too long. After filling their greedy maws at the trough of the Southeast for so long, they traipsed up to French Canadia to lay a beating upon the beast of the Northeast, the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs, sporting one of the best power plays and possession numbers in the league, were a worthy foe, but the Caps had Ovi. And that’s all you really need these days. Just a big plate of Ovi and wash it down with some Backstrom. Put some greasy Fehr in there if you want, but Ovi is the main dish.

Caps beat Habs 3-2.

  • Despite a dominant opening five minutes by the Caps, the Canadiens grabbed an early lead. From behind the net, Prust sent a sneaky pass to late-man Lars Eller, who– and stop me if you’ve heard this one before– was eminently open in the Caps’ slot. Neuvirth didn’t have a chance– unless you expected him to abandon the net and mark a man.
  • Alex Ovechkin was shotless nearly halfway through the game, but he scored on his first shot– a weird knucklepuck that Jim Palmer might describe as a “spoonball” between extended stories about himself. Ovi’s move before the shot was the lateral version of every between-the-legs move you’ve ever seen him do. It was gorgeous. Alex Ovechkin is your NHL goal-scoring leader. Alex Ovechkin is the captain of your hockey team. Alex Ovechkin is f#@(&ing awesome. UPDATE: Stamkos scored. We’re back in a tie.
  • If Ovechkin gets a trophy– any trophy– be it Hart or Richard or Lindsay, shouldn’t Adam Oates get the Jack Adams? It was Oates who put him at right wing, paired him with Nicky Backstrom (after a too-long failed experiment with Ribeiro), and implemented a 1-3-1 system for the power play. These are Ovi’s goals, but Oates has his smudgy fingerprints on ‘em too.
  • Two much quieter plays by Ovechkin I want to highlight: his diving block in the third period (btw Caps were block-crazy tonight– it was like 2010 playoffs in reverse) and his eagerness to deal away the puck in the offensive zone. Ovi did it twice– once in the second period to Johansson and once in the third to Backstrom. Ovechkin seems to have internalized the lesson that he need not touch the puck all the time; he need only touch it last.
  • Jack Hillen sent a puck into Carey Price’s blocker pads. The shot went skyward and when it fell, the Caps had the lead. Eric Fehr got credit for the goal, which I didn’t necessarily see, but Fehr certainly deserves it, seeing as he was tilting the ice in the Caps’ favor while the rest of the team was getting mired in their own zone.
  • Jack Hillen lost credit for that Fehr goal, but he finally recorded his first Capitals goal in the third period– an outside slapper screened by Alex Ovechkin, who is also awesome. Hillen has 4 points in the last 2 games. He’s been shutting down the opposition (he was basically white on Tavares’ rice last week) and driving play since his return. Some RMNBers were giving me grief about my praise of Hillen earlier, but I think I’ll just pre-emptively take their groveling apologies to le banque.
  • Here’s my impersonation of Habs fans: le boooo, le boooo, le pepe le pew was really messed up if you think about it, le boo. If Verizon Center can do that: a) it’d be really annoying, and b) maybe the Caps could get some more friendly whistles. Whattaya guys say? Should we all become cranky canucks?
  • Michal Neuvirth put forth the performance that he needed– and we all knew he had in him. Neuvy was pressured heavily in the back half of the first period and most of the second, but he was stout in net. He made a couple insane-o saves, and certainly justified Oates’ decision to play him in back-to-backs. I’m so glad to see the struggling netminder come into his own. Well done, Neuvy.
  • Some Canadian guy scored a deflected goal past Neuvy with 3 minutes to go. Whatever.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

Bailamos? Bailamos.

The Caps continue winning– somewhat improbably– dicey road games. Once again, they do it on the strength of Alex Ovechkin. But this time they do it against a truly elite team, a playoff team, a poutine-eating, wine-swilling, French-kissing team. This time they did it with decent possession (although they had to block a truckload of shots in the effort) and secondary scoring.

I’ve been one of the Caps’ biggest doubters, but I… think… the Washington Capitals might be legit. I’m not plotting any parade routes or anything, but I am genuinely excited to see what they do next. That’s a great feeling for a fan, and it’s one I’m so grateful to feel again.

Crash the net.

  • Joben

    Stamkos scored tonight against Ottawa, Ovi’s tied again :(

  • JenniferH

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO CAPS!!!!!!!! GO OVI!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Toronto Caps Fan

    Ovi is great, too bad he doesn’t have any goals against the Western Conference this year…LOL

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

    haha okay

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

    which is what the recap says…

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

    SIDE CONVO: Cheryl Nichols says the Os playing John Denver during the stretch at Camden Yards is a nice tradition. I say it is literally the worst thing to happen since the bubonic plague.

    Who is right? I think it’s me, and if you say otherwise please prove to me that you don’t have a buboes.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Nothing sweeter than beating the Habnots in their own barn and listening to fans boo and whine for most of the game.

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

    And Neuvy joins the moustrap club.

  • Katherine

    “le banque” is best )))

    I freaking love this team. No other way around it!

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Never noticed…went to about 3 games a year when I was in MD but was usually drunk by the time the 7th inning stretch came around

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

    Yeah baby! That. Is what. I’m. Talking. About! Awesome game. This was one I totally expecting them to drop and then they didn’t!

  • Joben

    Sorry didn’t see the edit. As of right now, NHL.com says Stamkos has 26 Ovi has 25…

  • JenniferH

    Post-win, but I LOVED Holtby coming out on the ice and giving Neuvy’s helmet the little congratulatory rub!!! :)

  • reschly

    > Eric Fehr got credit for the goal, which I didn’t necessarily see

    Fehr deflected the puck *before* it got to Price

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

    ah word thank you

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

    credit to Chris Gordon for that one

    dammit

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

    You take that back. John Denver was a goddamn national treasure. Not that many people write songs about girls named Annie that don’t involve orphanages or guns and for that I love him always and so should everyone else.

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

    naty boh pounders for 6 bucks sorta sneak up on you, right?

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

    Classic NHL anti-Ovechkin bias /smokesconspiracypipe

  • JenniferH

    Seeing them win outside of their division so resoundingly was just beautiful. Take that, naysayers!

  • YouNeedNotToKnowThis

    I know these things should not be discussed when you get to see your hockey club win an important game, but god dammit if Ovie would have made that emptynetter I would be 400 euros richer… oh well GO CAPS FUCK THE HABS HAHAHAAAA

  • yv

    Great win and Ovi is the Great! But missing empty net, Again, was embarrassing. Stamkos scored at the end of their game, so they still even, and Tavares got 24th. Missing EN could be deadly especially against playoffs teams and in playoffs. 1 from 7 ENs it is less than Ovis shooting % with full-figured GT in the net and it should be stopped immediately.

  • YouNeedNotToKnowThis

    400 euros… it stings … I hope the guy who scored Montreals second goal drowns in a river of aids

  • Akay15

    Habs showed up le tired. OVECHKIN FOR PRESIDENT!

  • JenniferH

    Agreed. (Unless you’re being sarcastic, because dangit I do love me some John Denver.)

  • Dman

    I don’t even mind him missing the empty net. They are cheap goals to pad stats. 25 of Ovechkins goals are legit. OVIEEEEEEE IS ON FIRE!

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

    nicklas backstrom has a touch on 36 of 120 goals so far this season. that’s 30% of all goals. secret swedish weapon.

    (also ovi is personally responsible for 22% of all caps goals this season haha)

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

    I was totally not being sarcastic. Even though he’s totally cheeseballs and treacly sentimental and I know I should hate his music… I don’t. I can’t.

  • yv

    Already tonight Pens Dupuis, Jets -Wellman and Isles Cisikas all scored EN and cleanly and calmly finished opposition. Missing EN could one night result in a lost game, like it happened with Jets last season and still sour game 5 with Rangers that killed Caps.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Whatever didn’t finish me off at Pickles Pub

  • http://twitter.com/rmobrien21 R.O’B.

    love a swede.

  • Livia

    “Put some greasy Fehr in there if you want, but Ovi is the main dish.” Greasy Fehr–hahahahahahah sick unbelievable pun)))))))!!!!

  • Hockeynightincanada

    I know some of you don’t like me because of my affiliation with CI, or as you refer to it as “compost” but join us in Operation: Troll TSN in calling out and exposing their constant bias.

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

    man I wanna go to a game so bad now

  • JustinC71

    Outstanding win with a bit of pucker factor at the very end, great job Caps!! PS: Mr. Oates, please put Ovie through some long distance shot practice!

  • GuestZ

    not worth the effort…

  • Dman

    Good point. I’m not against EN goals, I’m just saying I don’t care if it’s Ovie or Backstrom or Fehr who scores it. Ovi doesn’t need them to pad his stats because he’s already the best goalscorer in the league

  • Hockeynightincanada

    good point….only Pro Sidney and anything Pro Habs, Leafs, Canucks, Oilers, Jets, or Sens allowed.

  • http://twitter.com/priscillamay1 Priscilla Villanueva

    Been saying this the last week or so – especially after I took the time to watch his HoF speech – but I’m love with Adam Oates.

  • maveric101

    No, it doesn’t need to be Ovi, but since he’s the one taking the shots, he should make them.

  • Brian Faas

    Isn’t this the Caps first regulation win of the season against a hockey club that’s in a playoff position? Congrats are in order.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Chaffer/1224870130 Mark Chaffer

    Y’all call a tallboy a pounder? I’m definitely using that this weekend.

  • serpent

    As a born and raised in Balmer girl, I have to disagree with you BIG TIME, Peter. You don’t mess with tradition and you don’t ever mess with our John Denver. It’s like boiling crabs or dissing Cal. Just not done.

  • Richard Schmidtlein

    Schultz (#55) is not aggressive enough,there is no fear of being hit by him,he can’t even skate puck down the ice. Watch how many goals have been scored against us with him on the ice. My wife (Mary Gurney) & I,along with our company cancelled our season tickets due to him being on the team!.Why is he still a Cap?!!!.

  • Rhino40

    I especially liked how, in the second period, the Habs were staggering and reeling under the Caps’ forecheck pressure–to the point–on several occasions–of being unable to handle the puck cleanly (even when relatively unmolested in theri own zone).
    Again:
    Hai, grenouille: votre equipe peu!!!!!

  • Rhino40

    …and Neuvy advances to 5-2 in 8 career starts against the Habnots….

  • Colin

    I loved the duet he did with Ovi. “Sochi Road, Take Me Home”.