Photo: Alex Brandon
Still kicking off what everyone expects to be a big season, the Washington Capitals haven’t worked out the kinks yet. At Thursday’s home opener against the Calgary Flames, the Caps defense seemed to have difficulty playing defense or perhaps grasping even the abstract concept of defense.
David Jones roofed it to Braden Holtby’s near side to open up scoring early in the first. Following a momentum-nothinging fight by Tom Wilson, Lee Stempniak made it 2-0. Not longer after that came a power play tally by Jiri Hudler, who had loads of free ice as Jason Chimera went a-rambling on the penalty-kill prairie.
The Caps regained life in the second period as Connor Carrick scored his first NHL goal (at the ripe age of 19), a snazzy slow-mo breakaway upon exiting the penalty box. Spirits were leavened momentarily, but Lance Bouma converted when Michal Neuvirth abdicated the net to make it 4-1 near the halfway mark. The Capitals converted a second-period high-sticking call as — wait for it– Alex Ovechkin scored from his favorite spot. That’s Ovi for ya. Unhappy with just one, Ovechkin took a puck off the faceoff to the top shelf to get the Capitals within one after two periods.
A penalty-filled third period yielded nothing until Nick Backstrom, the silent suede Swede, tied the game with a scrambly power-play goal. Into overtime we went and beyond.
Caps beat Flames 5-4 (shootout)!
It’s still so very early, but this is almost everything I want from the Caps. I want offense, offense, and– why the heck not– let’s have some offense on the side to really fill out the mise en place of the thing. The Capitals have a roster built to score, but for two years they didn’t have the system to allow them to do it (starting when Boudreau got neutered through Hunter Hockey and up until Oates got his stuff figured out last spring). Now, it seems like everything on the far side of the ice looks splendid– at least among the top lines.
@russianmachine this feels like 3 years ago when you feel they can always come back and score
— Lance (@CapitalKing19) October 4, 2013
Exactly! That’s the kind of Caps hockey that got me writing stupider and boldly stupider recaps in the first place.
Now let’s see the Capitals figure out the defense situation– both in staff and strategy– and this team will become something to love or fear– depending on your — oh who am I kidding, if you’re reading this you’re one of us.
Crash the net.
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