Sasha Fierce (Photo: Greg Fiume)
Shut up with your 1-4 record. When the Washington Capitals suited up to face the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night, their sole purpose was to rid themselves of the abysmal record they shared with a certain other Washington team. An explosive second period helped them do just that.
Edmonton’s Boyd Gordon scored first, seizing on a bad breakout by the Caps. After some feisty forechecking by the second line and Steve Oleksy on the blue, Brooks Laich scored his first of the year– a point-blank wrister.
The second period was a flurry of PPGs as Joel Ward knocked on the back door and Troy Brouwer got a one-timer from the slot. In the middle of that tasty man-advantage sandwich was a mean-ass slot goal from Alex Ovechkin.
Tough-acting Will Acton got a late one from the crease.
Caps beat Oilers 4-2.
Yeah yeah, we’re happy for you. Boyd Gordon. Now go be quiet 800 miles from here.
- On Sunday I echoed Troy Brouwer‘s concerns about bad breakout passes from the Caps defense. Without belaboring the point, please consult this video and pay attention to how the Caps try to establish possession.
- Jason Chimera boarded Justin Schultz near the end of the first period. Chimera cross-checked Schultz in the numbers near the Edmonton goal line, leading to an ugly collision with the board. That’s pretty much identical to how I’d describe the hit Alex Ovechkin put on Brian Campbell a few years ago— leading to a game misconduct and a two-game suspension. The big difference, if I recall correctly, was that Campbell jacked up his collarbone.
- Okay, that’s all the negative stuff I’ve got.
- Mike Green goes headfirst into the bench! GIFs! Videos! Steve Oleksy’s quick thinking!
- Obligatory toilet reference! Joel Ward finally got himself on the scoresheet with that nifty powerplay shot from somewhere just south of the Ovi Spot. The skip-a-man pass was laudable too, but we gotta give it up for Wardo, who looked perfectly calm despite not usually getting a ton of powerplay time– though that may change soon. If anything on this team is capable of changing, that is.
- Wow. That power play. This calls for a recap intermission. CAN YOU GUESS WHAT IT’LL BE.
- How hot were the Caps in the second period? They scored on three consecutive shots in a span of four minutes.
- Both the Oilers and the Caps are sub-50% possession teams, so I’m not really enthused by them going neck-and-neck. The Caps trailed in shot attempts ever so slightly until taking the scoring lead– which they earned with good even-strength play and they solidified with the scariest goddamn power play in the league. Woo. EDM did the comeback shot attempt thing after that.
- Nail Yakupov was practically invisible.
- What is going on with Brooks Laich‘s face in this Greg Fiume pic? He’s either part horse or a Moai.
- Another three-point night for Nick Backstrom, quietly owning the puck, entering the offensive zone, making stuff happen. He’s one point out of the league lead right now.
- I predicted a Holbeastly performance tonight, and I guess I got one. Braden Holtby needed a bit of help from the post (tough break, Nugent-Hopkins), but he had some flashy moves himself– going as far as to sidekick a puck that a normal goalie would have just blocked. Haha, normal goalie. Good one, me.
- Nate Schmidt was superb. He got a good bit of ice for a third-pair dude and kept the Oilers out of the Caps’ end even when the visitors were desperate and buzzing.
- Edmonton got a bit snippy with 8 minutes left in the third, picking on Alex Ovechkin— who was eager to dish hits back out. That, inevitably, devolved into a donnybrook with the Caps getting the Irisher side of it all. The Oilers did not nothing at all with their power play, but they did score a few minutes later so there’s that I guess.
Whole bunch of Caps got on the board for the first time in this one: Ward, Brouwer, Laich, Alzner. Haha, okay not that last one. That was needed badly as the Caps couldn’t survive on a diet of OVI SCOAR FROM OVI SPOTs forever.
Exactly the kind of game I wanted to see from the Caps: stolid work by Braden Holtby, mid-level players overachieving, Alex Ovechkin bumping up against the ceiling of human perfection. It wasn’t without flaws– the set-up for Boyd Gordon’s goal should be in Stretch’s video playlist– but it was a great win.
Losing streak over. Let’s dance!
— Clare Conner (@rennoceralc) October 15, 2013