Matching Sashas: Canes beat Caps 3-2

derpy

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.
    Elias Lindholm

    Elias Lindholm

  • Alex Semin‘s power-play goal seemed a bit… Ovechkinian, eh? Set play off the faceoff, quick pass to Semin at the Ovi spot left 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.
Joe B suit of the night. Low key, yet refined.

Joe B suit of the night. Low key, yet refined.

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.

  • Matt

    The Ovi-Sasha double penalty needs to be GIFed

  • Matt Root

    Oooo Manny Machado is playing 3rd base for the Caps, eh?

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

    Yes.

  • Beans

    Carolina is NOT a solid team and the boys in red got pushed around in all aspects of the game. These lines are more confusing then vector calculus to myself personally. Having 10 on the 4th line is something I ponder at least once a day which is just one of the few worries I have on this team. Hopefully they realize that they can’t just sneak into the playoffs like the past years because of the dreadful Southeast division.

    They need to win these next 4 at home or at least 3 to make any reasonable caps fan feel any sort of comfort.

  • Matt Root

    So, I’ve seen mixed reviews on Erskine.. but I’ll go ahead and say he makes me furious. And if Latta and Wilson are the enforcing type, I see even less of a reason to have him playing. I’m pretty much able to take the dog out while Erskine chases a loose puck. Maybe I was head-hunting on the replay, but Erskine failed to swat the puck away on the Gerbe goal.

  • dylan wheatley

    Personally, I thought it was a hockey game.

  • Marky Narc

    Four games does not a season make! (But it would a very short playoff series make.)

  • Chris Cerullo

    Please no more Erskine. It literally pains me to watch him play.

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

    Weird, thought he was an O’s guy. CANT WAIT TO SEE HIM ON THE PK

  • Josh Carey

    Erskine is starting to remind me of…uhhh…you know…Shultz. Overpaid, and dreadfully slow.

  • Freedoooom

    Erskine was bad, but that dive by Skinner was disgusting, he dived twice the first one I thought the DC Sniper was back from the dead, 2nd one was really pathetic a referee bought it.

    Reminder: Erskine extension was met with happiness, because of course he brings toughness. The hilariousness of the extension when it happened 1 month into the season after hes spent years a 6/7D, but Adam Oates thinks he’s so damn smart.

  • Matt Root

    Actually makes me happy to see this particular section beginning to be filled with Erskine frustrated comments. Negates my mixed review part.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    ONE SEC

  • Matt Root

    #UnleashDIMA

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Yes, please.

  • Matt

    I thought thats where RGIII played

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

    Who is he? Isn’t he a Red Panda?

  • ItsAnEthos

    How interesting that Caps SAs went up late in the game, despite being behind. That’s pretty terrible.

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

    Carolina is a good team. They got really unlucky at the end of last season, they had injuries, and they still managed 51% possession in close games.

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

    And limiting Carlson’s efficacy in the process. Groan.

  • FoolsRushLandHannityIn

    Dream On. Poor effort.
    Guess you’re eating the “Eat it, Boston” tweet now, eh?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland
  • Chris Cerullo

    So when do we get the obligatory “It’s only been 4 games. Changes are unnecessary at this point. This season is long blah blah blah” from the coaching staff? Season won’t be very long when we need 6-8 points to jump into the playoffs come mid-April.

  • Henrik

    I think that maybe it’s time for Johansson to get bumped down a couple of lines and give Erat a shot at the first line. Try to mix it up a little bit, i dont think the first line is creating that much right now tbh. And obviously nicky and ovi is getting points of the PP but that doesnt count. All im saying is try to mix it up.

  • Henrik

    But then again its hard to fit in Johansson anywhere else than the first line. You dont wanna mess with the gritty third line that is playing very well. Wouldn’t wanna mess to much with second line either and he’s definitely better than 4th line… hmmm…

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

    I think that’d be wise, though Oates’ comments seem to imply– sorry, INFER– that it’ll be a few more games before he makes changes.

    He’s definitely got the right ingredients to cook something tasty blah blah bad metaphor

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

    Heh,

    Chuck Gormley ‏@ChuckGormleyCSN5m

    #CapitalsTalk Adam Oates on failing to hold a lead in every game this season: ‘I don’t think it’s tome to push the panic button yet.’

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

    DOUBLE EAT IT BOSTON

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

    And it shows that the Canes were buzzing hard before that last goal.

  • Matt Root

    WE DON’T DETER FROM THE “EAT IT, BOSTON” ATTITUDE, SIR.

  • Pat Magee

    I wonder how what kind of defenseman we can get for Erat…… also #neuvytime

  • Chris Cerullo

    The predictability of the Washington Capitals eh?

  • FoolsRushLandHannityIn

    He was tweeting about the Sawx, not the Bruins.

  • Ash

    ….yeahhhh, I don’t know where you were when Erskine was re-signed, but I definitely do not remember the overwhelming attitude being happiness. In fact, uh, pretty much all of us were not happy?

    I also don’t know how “Adam Oates thinks he’s so damn smart” (which, you know, he IS, puzzling Erat deployment aside. He’s been called smart by pretty much everyone in the NHL) relates to Ersk getting re-signed. I tend to put the Ersk contract on GMGM more than Oates. And I actually like GMGM.

  • bskillet

    Ugly, very ugly, not blaming Braden but I would expect to see Michal Sat. and move Marcus down, maybe try Fehr or Grabo on the wing at the 1st line and let Marcus center the 3rd line?????

  • Chris Cerullo

    At least the Rags are getting smashed yet again

  • Myan

    Oh my god how many times are we going to allow ourselves to get Erskined in one freaking season??? I am sincerely hoping that Oleksy sticks and that Urbom is a step in fazing out Erskine. My 70 year old father can skate faster than 4. GEEZ.

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

    The “he” was me.

  • Owen Johnson

    For the first time this season NOT HOLTBEAST’S FAULT

  • CapsKel

    Hate to break it to you, but that Semin PP goal was almost identical to one he scored for the Caps in his last season, pre-Oates.

  • Red

    That was painful to watch. The whole game was a struggle and really exposed our weaknesses. This was the first reality check of the season and I’m just glad it came early. That’s about the only positive I can take away from this one. Oates has some work to do.

  • coverthepuck

    Erskine has been brutal particularly in the Dallas game. He singlehandedly lost that game for us. I detailed it recently in a video on my new website. Erskine is slow, physically and mentally right now. B-R-U-T-A-L. The Caps are so thin on defense right now it’s scary. Big changes have to be made. No one in the system excites me whatsoever and size is an issue. But without forwards scoring, who the heck is trade bait for a 20 minute Top Four D-man?