Greg Fiume

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

Oh god. Oh god. Oh. God.

I’m a bit wrapped up in the Washington Capitals this year. I thought I’d be cool, analyzing the game with the sober distance of an expert, but I’m not that at all. I’m a basket case, and I bet I’m not alone. It’s the gosh-darn playoffs, and the Caps are off to a hot start.

Washington bombarded NYR goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the first period, but the Rangers somehow got the early lead anyway. The Caps didn’t change their style though and responded with three goals in the second period. Holtby withstood an enfilade in the third and earned a wonderful game-one win.

Caps beat Rangers 3-1. Caps lead series 1-0. Boom!

  • The Caps owned early. They peppered Henrik with shots and kept the Rangers without one of their own until darn near the 10-minute mark.
  • After 14 or so minutes of Caps domination, the Rangers untilted the ice with a fruitless power play. Then Carl Hagelin locked up possession after a Caps icing and then used John Erskine‘s skate to put NYR on the scoreboard.
  • Alex Ovechkin took the Capitals franchise lead in playoff goals with his second period power play scoar. Ovi sunk it after a deliberately wide shot made its way into his wheelhouse. Never let it be said Ovi doesn’t show up in the postseason. The man is a rock.
  • Joe Beninati made a point of touting Martin Erat‘s playoff experience in Nashville, which is an odd thing to say this year as the only action Nashville is seeing right now is between Rayna and Deacon. Hell yeah, I watch that show.
  • Marcus Johansson got the lead, beating Lundqvist after a sweet stretch pass from Steven Oleksy. Who was that blog all down on Marcus Johansson? Surely wasn’t us. Jokes aside: Unlike in January, Johansson is healthy and pulling his weight like a good little Swede.
  • 46 clicks later, birthday boy Jason Chimera connected for goal number three. I predict a Jason Chimera goal pretty much every game, and recently I’ve been right more often. Of all Caps players, I think Chimera has the most Druce potential. Tell me I’m wrong
  • Steve Oleksy did the rarely seen and even-more-rarely recommended cheek shot-block at the tail end of the second period. He went down to the ice like a pile of hot laundry, but came back out soon after because hockey. Because. Hockey.
  • The Capitals’ power play yielded one very important goal, but for the most part it was uglier than Oleksy’s beat-up face. The Caps gave up mucho shorthanded chances, and if not for the wall-like qualities of Braden Holtby, this would’ve been baaaaaad. On the other hand, the usually disciplined Rangers surprisingly committed a big ol’ bucketload of penalties– giving the Caps plenty of chances to workshop those shorthanded chase-kills.
  • Braden Holtby was nigh perfect. That goal against in the first period was a freak accident– a thing made purely out of happenstance. Every goalie is gonna give up a goal like that– a flukey cross-crease pass that bounces off a friendly skate. Holtby was unfazed by it and proceeded to stop 35 shots, many of them coming in furiously dense bunches– including a weird one with four minutes left that the boys in Toronto had to peep. He’s a pro. He’s a cucumber. Basically what I’m saying is this: 2013 Braden Holtby looks a lot like 2012 Braden Holtby, and there is no better news than that for Caps fans right now.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

Uhh… HELL YEAH.

I had some anxiety about how the Caps would perform against a stout team like New York and after a billion day layover, but Alex Ovechkin set those anxieties at ease with that pretty PPG. But this wasn’t a star thing (except for the hairy guy in net); this was a team effort. Jason Chimera, Mathieu Perreault, Eric Fehr, and The Wagon all contributed to this win in significant ways.

As much fun as it would be to see a hat trick from Ovechkin or Nick Backstrom raking up points, a solid team win like this is even more encouraging for the rest of the series. If the Caps play as well as they did tonight, I think they can win all seven games!

Saturday morning (on *groan* NBC) will be big time stuff. Let’s all be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for moar net crashing.

p.s. I’m still not over Fred Weasley.

RIP Fred

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

    I’m gonna need this update in GIF form.

  • Joben

    I’d just like to shout out that Erat played masterfully tonight. Always aggressive on the forecheck, stickhandling like a mofo, made some slick passes. I’ll ignore his trip to the Ribero box. This dude wanted to get traded because he wanted the cup, if he keeps this up he just might get it.

  • Akay15

    I love it when Chimmer scores because he celebrates like its his birthday every time!!

  • Hendybobendy26

    Great game, I’m not going to get too excited though, it’s only game 1! I’m glad MoJo is getting some love, as I never badmouthed him. ( ;

  • http://twitter.com/Matty_Boh19 Math You Guy Sir

    Don’t forget about that amazing 5-on-3 penalty kill that almost single-handedly converted all momentum to the Capitals.

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

    R.I.P Jeff Hanneman.

    I was really scared for a bit towards the end of the first/beginning of the second, but once Ovi scoared, the wheels came back on!!

    #Hashtag

  • blondinwrx

    caps can protect the puck along the boards as good as any team…its pretty amazing actually.

    I only watched the third but if that PP was any indication of how NYR are going to handle it, I’m pretty happy. WAAAAAY to passive, give caps players too much time to think. Only way you stop that unit consistently is with pressure.

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

    I think he’s got a big goal or two in him just begging to get out, but YUCK on that boarding call.

  • JenniferH

    Such an exciting game. The Caps played SO well, nice team effort all around and Holtby was AMAZING! GO CAPS! Oh God. Oh God. Indeed!

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

    yeah that was huge

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1184025207 Glenn Havinoviski

    NBC commentary on Holtby’s mystery stop (watched from Dubai): Pierre McGuire: “He cheated!” Doc Emrick: “But we have no evidence of the puck!” Pierre McGuire (after watching the replay again when Toronto was reviewing the play): “He cheated!” He must have been doing a Sidney Crosby impersonation, because I thought PMcG was going to start crying.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Very calm and composed after that tying goal and for the first time I found myself feeling quite comfortable with them holding a lead. People have to realize the importance guys like Chimera, Oleksy, Beagle, Brouwer, Erskine and Johansson bring in the postseason that somewhat go unnoticed in the regular season. Those are the guys you want to bring every night. We need to improve our play along the boards though and wear down their PK. Not bad…not bad at all.

  • http://twitter.com/sirstanley11 bskillet

    Awesome game, have to keep our cool this series because it’s going to get a bit rough. Fantastic penalty kills though tonight.

  • http://twitter.com/nicoleh262 nicoley-poley

    Getting my hair done for prom on Saturday at the same time as the game. Plan to bring a portable radio because I have a dumb phone (rather than a smart one.) Let’s hope my hairdresser knows what she’s doing.

  • TheGreat8

    I’m pretty sure he meant that Holtby was cheating to his left to play the pass instead of holding the post and playing the shot.

  • yv

    Trying to catch after the game what is in the all media about the game. It seems that supercharged electric atmosphere in VC made the game very jittery. Only Ovis goal had usual soothing effect.
    And what about this definition of ‘Chimera’ from google – (in Greek mythology) A fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. I can tell that in modern definition: (in hockey mythology) it would be Caps monster who owns NYR and causes nightmares for their star-goaltender Lundquist!

    One in – 15(fifteen) to go!!

  • http://twitter.com/Freedoooom Chase

    ” Who was that blog all down on Marcus Johansson? Surely wasn’t us.”

    Let me guess, that one worried about Rick Nash. Clearly better player than Ovechkin. Much better Corsi.

  • Phil

    You could definitely tell the PP getting better as the game went on. I believe it was one of the later PP’s that there was a sequence of about 4-5 one touch passes in about a second and a half. It looked like the rangers PK were drunk and just flailing around. Good sign of things to come.

  • serpent

    BINKY POWER!!!

  • Hopeless

    This is Pierre McSuck you’re talking about. He gets no benefit of the doubt.

  • Hopeless

    At least he boarded the guy. That call on Beagle… yeesh!

    Hey, what were the possession numbers for this game?

  • http://www.facebook.com/eddiepasa Eddie Pasa

    I love that first picture so much. Alzner lifting up Chimera (whose legs are all the way up) and bringing him to the bench, Ovechkin’s “WHOOOOO!” face… there is nothing wrong with this picture at all.

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

    minus-9 fenwick, minus-16 corsi– though that’s to be expected in a game where the Caps led by 2 for more than 20 minutes.

    Here’s that as a timeline.

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

    Real sad about Hanneman. Slayer was one of the best.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidr.wahnish David R Wahnish

    Great peice as always Peter…but I have just one question:

    If the Caps play as well as they did tonight, I think they can win all seven games!

    Wouldn’t four (4) wins suffice to eliminate the Rags and advance to the next round?

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidr.wahnish David R Wahnish

    Corsi, Shmorsi

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

    haha

    yeah, that was a joke

    thanks, columbo

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

    corsi is for horsies

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidr.wahnish David R Wahnish

    What a 52nd Birthday!

    • Good meate and drinke with Mrs. Rhino at O’Sullivan’s in Herndon;
    • Watching my boys SCOAR GOALS,
    • the Awesome kill on the 5-on-3
    • Chimera Gets the Insurance marker–and just how the #311 did I fail to notice that my birthday is his birthday too?!?!?
    • Victory over the Rags, with the Tort-Feasor suffering as he always does when the Caps’ school him.

    The only thing missing was a scoar from MG52…maybe Saturday: D

    Das Rhino

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

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidr.wahnish David R Wahnish

    Thanks, Brother

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidr.wahnish David R Wahnish

    Got it…Kinda like how the NY baseball press calls the Yankees “bums” whenever:
    • a NYY pitcher throws a single pitch that isn’t a called strike
    • they win a game by a margin of less than 27 runs,
    • They win fewer than 184 games in a regular season,
    • they fail to sweep the World Series in two (2) games.

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

    now we’re doing bullet points?! I can’t keep up!