Derpfaces akimbo (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
It has been a long, five days since the last Washington Capitals game. The world just feels different now, ya know? The temperature dropped 40 degrees for one thing. Alex Ovechkin surrendered the scoring lead to a tween for another. No matter: the Carolina Hurricanes came to town and we finally got our hockey back. If you were looking for an even-strength exhibition, whoops.
Jason Chimera scored– doesn’t matter how; he just did. Elias Lindholm scored the first goal of his career in the second, a weird one that bounced off of John Carlson’s skate.
Ugh, I hate weird goals.
Alex Ovechkin scored a weird goal by deflecting Steve Oleksy’s shot, introducing all kinds of brownian motion that Khudobin couldn’t savvy. Soon after that, Alex Semin tied the game by converting a 5-on-3 pretty much instantly.
The Capitals defense reasserted its crumminess in the third, as John Erskine (6’4″, 220 lbs.) was unable to box out Nathan Gerbe (basically Rudy from the movie Rudy).
Canes beat Caps 3-2.
- The Capitals looked lovely at even strength for the first half of the first period. Then everything devolved into a penalty-ridden mess.
- Jason Chimera has to feel pretty good about his first period goal. Dutifully, he caught a rebound and fired off a lazy shot that somehow beat Anton Khudobin. At intermission, Craig Laughlin made a point of illustrating the clean breakout that made the goal possible, so this was good news for two reasons: the Capitals looked solid at even strength, and goodness gracious me oh my Jason Chimera (3.3% shooting last year) managed beat a goalie. Here’s how your boy John Walton called it:
- Eric Fehr‘s line looked much improved from last week, spending bunches of time in the offensive zone. Fehr was on-ice for Lindholm’s goal (along with Tom Wilson, so I guess it was during a change), though I’m not sure he was responsible for it. Obviously, it’d have been better if Fehr & Co. didn’t allow the shot.
- The Capitals power play didn’t quite crash back to Earth, but it did re-enter the gravity well. Oh-fer.
- I love Alex Ovechkin kicking it in traffic. Getting a piece of Steve Oleksy’s shot from the point and making it go all knuckle-y– it’s a hint at what kind of player he may be in his thirties. I used to hate the way late-era Lemieux played, but now that I’m not 16 and pissed off all the time, I could grow to love Ovi-as-cherrypicker. For now, we’ve still got the Ovi who shoots more than any other dude on the ice, and I’ll freaking take it.
- Capitals third baseman Manny Machado elected to get reconstructive surgery on his knee. Recovery time is 4-6 months. RMNB wishes him a speedy recovery.
- Begrudging respect to Elias Lindholm for swiping his G card.
- Alex Semin‘s power-play goal seemed a bit… Ovechkinian, eh? Set play off the faceoff, quick pass to Semin at the
Ovi spotleft circle. Looked lovely, but one wonders how intense other teams are scouting– and mimicking– Adam Oates’ power play formula.
- No change on the Martin Erat front: Still criminally underused. This is basically a three-line team with a lot of salary sitting on the sideline. I don’t interview players and coaches, so here’s my request to those who do: press the issue. If all we get is Adam Oates saying he is a Cylon and he has a plan, that’d be fine by me.
- New guy Alex Urbom seems eager to shoot the puck. Dig.
- Sasha vs Sasha. Matching goals, matching penalties. Semin’s diving call was kind of weak if you ask me.
- The Horn Guy made this joke several times tonight. I laughed every time.
Save by Qdoba. #CapsCanes
— Sam Wolk (@TheHornGuy) October 10, 2013
Not great, but not that bad. The Caps kept pace with the Canes for much of this game– in possession, in Russian Alexes, and cheap goals: dead heat.
I have a feeling more people will start to disagree, but I’m still not freaking. There are obvious things the Caps could do to improve their play (the lines are a mess), but the team seemed much stronger at evens. The defensive weaknesses are still… effulgent, but I truly do think there’s a good team in here somewhere.
Caps vs Varly on Saturday night. See you there. Or, ya know, here.