MVP. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
And so we said goodnight to the Southeast Division. With one last dance between the Washington Capitals and the Winnipeg Jets (née Atlanta Thrashers), the stakes were a division title and a guaranteed ticket to the postseason dance for the home team. It was a barn-burning good time, which doesn’t sound like a good time if you own a barn but you don’t so it was. The Capitals came out of the gates shooting and hardly stopped to catch their breath. All four lines were clicking, and that’s exactly the kind of hockey we want to see one week before the playoffs start.
Alex Ovechkin is the best.
Caps beat Jets 5-3. The Capitals make the playoffs. The Capitals are Southeast Division champions.
- Southeast Division: You were the best and the worst. You were a bad girlfriend, but we had some great memories anyway. The Capitals owned you and your sad, sad banners.
- Matt Hendricks had gone pointless (adj. - without a point) for over a month and goalless since March 2nd. That ended on Tuesday when Hendy scored on the scramble, bouncing the puck off Pavelec’s shoulder. If you were waiting for secondary scoring, your wait is over.
- Jason Chimera and Matthieu Perreault exchanged pretty passes behind the Jets net until Chimmer stormed the crease and scored his third goal of the season, the first one I’ve seen live. I actually called a Chimera goal right before the game (#thebank), but I guess that matters less since this is the 46th consecutive game I have predicted such a thing.
- The star of the first period was Big John Erskine. Along with Martin Erat, Ersk dove in front of a Winnipeg shot on an empty net to save an early goal. A few minutes later, Erskine swatted away a puck that bounced off and dropped behind Holtby. The play was reviewed, and Erskine was the savior.
- Evander Kane is sadly awesome. Fresh in the middle period and on the power play, Kane used Erskine as a screen and scored on Braden Holtby’s far blocker side. That should have been a wake-up call that the Jets would not go quietly into that good night.
- Steve Oleksy coudn’t clear the puck late in the second, allowing Blake Wheeler to tie the game up and make it exciting, but the MVP set up Nick Backstrom a few seconds later for a timing play goal, making it 3-2. Backy’s goal was reviewed because, once again, the guys in the war room in Toronto are huge fans.
- Matthieu Perreault got his tiny French Canadian frame into a scrum and came out with a goal with a couple minutes left in the second period. He thinks he’s people.
- Alex Ovechkin’s hit on Evander Kane was clean and devastating. Kane looked shook up, but he was back in the third in time to put a dirty elbow into Oleksy’s pretty pretty face.
- The Verizon Center blacksmiths were at the ready in the third as the Caps started targeting the posts with pinpoint accuracy. Even Volpatti pinged one.
- Nick Backstrom got boarded, no call. Referees are a joke in your town.
- Nik Antropov made it a one-goal game with a high slot shot to the top shelf. He had to fight through three Caps to get the shot off, and it was telekinetically directed to the twine. Gorgeous, but kinda deflating, but what happened next made it so much worse.
- Matthieu Perreault high-sticked Antropov with just five minutes to go. The Caps PK unit kept the Jets shotless, and Verizon Center went ape-bananas.
- MVP Alex Ovechkin scored the empty-netter, his 31st of the season. He’s taking over the world.
Fun hockey, to me, is Capitals hockey. That means tons of offense, creative passing, and lots of playing where the ice is painted. The Caps played fun hockey tonight. Every line was pressuring and producing, and anything could happen. That and the possession domination made this a very encouraging game to watch one week away of the postseason.
So this was the first of what’s now officially a five-game homestand. The Caps have two more games to play in the regular season, and then the real game begins.
I cannot freaking wait.
That was just a distinct ass-kicking motion.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) April 24, 2013
No-goal GIF by welshhockeyfan