Ovi - Patrick McDermott

“Hi Troy!” “Hi Alex!” (Photo: Patrick McDermott)

The Capitals haven’t played a whole lot of good teams so far. After a buncha seasons as a bad hockey team, the Minnesota Wild are finally looking pretty tough, and that was bad news for the Caps. The Caps were stymied for much of the Thursday night’s game, but they got enough peeks at Josh Harding’s net to make it interesting.

Here’s how it went.

Alex Ovechkin scored from the Ovi spot during a first-period power play, but Charlie Coyle tied it up with a power play tally of his own. Mikael Granlund chipped in Jason Pominville’s rebound in the second to give Minnesota the lead. In the third, Marcus Johansson tied the game with just three minutes and change left in regulation.

The Caps survived a late-game penalty kill thanks to some Holtby heroics. And seeing as overtime couldn’t reach a decision, it’s time for the…

Shootout bullets!

  • Puck rolled on Grabo: denied!
  • Pominville snatched by Holtby.
  • Ovi rings post.
  • Koivu off the crossbar.
  • Nicky Backstrom LIKE A SALMON IN THE BACK OF THE NET
  • Holtby saves!

Caps beat Wild 3-2 in the shootout!

Related#AlzyCelly Number Three: Karl Alzner Channels Hulk Hogan to Celebrate Shootout Win

  • Lotsa shootouts lately, eh? The Caps have won like the last 250,000 straight, so that’s fine by me.
  • Coming into the game, Washington was ranked 26th in puck possession and Minnesota was 4th. Measuring by shot attempts, the Caps actually hung with Minny in the first period, but in the second the Wild took off, leaving the Capitals in the dust– or in the defensive zone, depending on how you look at it. A third period rally saved the Caps.
  • Penalty kill units have been throwing shade on Alex Ovechkin since the top of the season, so I”m not sure why the Minnesota Wild gave him so much space. Even after Alex Ovechkin scored, there was a daylight on him during the man-up. Weird, and probably not very successful. Maybe other teams will try that defense. That’d be fun.
  • Braden Holtby was the man. The Wild aren’t a high-shooting team, but they put 35 on Braden, and 33 were rebuffed. That 4v5 goal is really gonna hurt his save percentage though…
  • At one point in the second period, the Laich-Johansson-Brouwer line were astonished to find themselves with the puck in the offensive zone. They didn’t know what do with it, so…

turnover

  • Those are turnovers. Or maybe strudel. I don’t know much about pastry.
  • The lack of offensive zone presence wasn’t limited to the 2nd line– at least in the game’s first half. The Chimera-Grabo-Ward line struggled as well. Really, outside of the newly awesome top line (Sup, Martin Erat), the Capitals were stuck in the DZ or sputtering in neutral until their rally in the third. That’s how Minny rolls now, which is surprising.
  • Check out the ExtraSkater shot timeline to see the comeback effort visualized.
  • But I should just shut up. It was the maligned (by me) second line that tied the game late in the third period, so please pardon me as I heat up this crow casserole. I hereby declare a 3-day amnesty for the second line. Johansson was probably driving play more than anyone else.
  • Jason Chimera was hit by the puck late in the second period. Karl Alzner was attempting a hard-around in the — wait for it– Caps’ defensive zone– when the puck hit Chimera in the side of the face. Chimera retreated to the locker room, but returned for the third period.
  • How come the Wild never play goalie Niklas Backstrom against the Caps? I made this pic more than 3 years ago, and it hasn’t been relevant yet. I really like Josh Harding though– probably one of the better Masterton stories in the last decade, and one close to my heart.

BackstromVsBackstrom

  • Alex Ovechkin‘s power play goal in the first puts him in a three-way tie for the NHL goal-scoring lead. Yeah, Steven Stamkos has joined Alex Steen and Ovi at 13 goals. Two of those three names will still be in the chase in April; you guess which.
  • Welp, Steen scored again, so nevermind that last bullet.
  • In addition to Washington playing Minnesota, Thursday night also found Washington playing Minnesota. Washington, an annual underperformer, struggled to put up points against a talented Minnesota team. Ultimately, Minnesota, free of the drama continually surrounding the Washington club, had the momentum but not the effort. I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. I think the Capitals should change their name? CHANGE THE NAME, TED. (I’m sorry.)
Joe B suit of the night: from Wes Anderson's closet

Joe B suit of the night: from Wes Anderson’s closet

Like I said, the Caps have been feasting on some of the league’s weaker teams through the first month. The Minnesota Wildlings are no longer weak. They are proud free folk now, and they wouldn’t be easy pickings for DC. But the Caps pulled it out because their goalie was superb.

The Caps should consider themselves lucky to have gotten even a point out of this one– not to take away too much from Marcus Johansson‘s effort in that late-game tying goal.

Hey, look at that! The Caps have swept their homestand. But November is going to be a different type of month for them: tougher teams, higher stakes, more people wearing sweaters. Probably a turkey at some point.

See you guys Saturday. Caps vs Yotes in the desert!

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  • Jack Conness

    Can someone notify Comcast and let them know they need to get rid of their hideous camera angles on the shootout? C’mon man…

    But hey, great win. Grinding win. I know Ovi scored but he was a little off tonight. Lots of ugly turnovers. Nicky with another beauty of a game. It was nice seeing that 2nd line play a little better. And how about Tom Wilson? I love seeing him get more minutes. Great assist on the game-tying goal.

    Great win over a real good team that owned the Caps most of the game. But hey, a win is a win. Go Caps!

  • Bob

    great win but man was it tough to watch at times. the turnovers made me want to rip out the remaining hair i have left. our 5v5 game is still a work in progress but a gutsy win none the less. Last thought, Nicky is not only the most underrated center but he is so underrated in SO’s, kid has ice in his veins

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    both. turnovers in english. strudel in german.

  • seandlax9

    Alzner busted out the Hulk Hogan…I demand a GIF

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    this was constipated hockey. not fun to watch. but the kind you see in the playoffs usually.

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

    whaaaaa really???

  • Shawn Murphy

    Great game! Really emotionally confusing to watch when it’s your hometeam vs your favorite player’s team. (Wild and Ovi respectively to clarify)
    Some hardcore oldschool assholes out there might say you cant have two favorite teams but to me it’s a matter of the slightest degree, like having a favorite child or whiskey- ultimately you still love them all.

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

    who is your fave player?

  • Shawn Murphy

    OVVVIIIII)))))

  • scrubversive

    I’m sure it’s being posted as I type, but I couldn’t stop rewinding Gamecenter and laughing. #AlzyCelly.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    I only remember this because of Inglorious Bastards. Attendez la creme! Also. I know my pastry.

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

    Here’s that shot timeline. Good finishing effort by DC.

  • Graham Dumas

    In Russian, though, it’s called a shaybu-shaybu.

  • Nicole Lippy

    Didn’t Brooksy get the goal?

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

    heh, I’ve used “like a salmon in the back of the net! before — back in 2010 http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2010/03/24/i-love-this-team-caps-beat-pens-4-3-ot/

  • Daniel

    it’s actually Apfeltasche in German. also, it’s 4 am in Germany, but hey, that #AlzyCelly was worth the wait

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

    Naw

  • William

    Nope he never touched it

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

    winnnnn

  • Nicole Lippy

    Ah, okay.

  • Matt

    Did anyone else get Koivu (#9) and Parise (#11) confused THE ENTIRE GAME. Parise wore #9 in NJ and at the Olympics while Miko’s brother wears 11 in Anahiem.

  • William

    Hmm…Minnesota is a great team and They played well. First period I thought was strong from both teams. Second period Wild dominated and should have scored more than they did. Third period was eh but hey at least we scored.

    What about that Nicky in the shootout?!

  • Daniel

    and as well leave that close up on the bench right there until Alzner is finished

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

    Nice to see we can win even when we aren’t playing at our best. It’s easy to win when you’re playing well…the true mark of a great team is one that can find a way to win when things don’t go to plan.

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

    You’re so right.

    (I was fully expecting the Caps to lose this one– they probably deserved to)

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

    That might be a function of Verizon Center more than any CSN’s decision

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    We need a gif of Nicky’s jump into scoring position in OT.

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

    Well thank you for the correction!

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

    ohhhh

    I was confused

  • Mike HNC
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • JenniferH

    Go Caps! Go Braden! Go Ovi in the Ovi Spot! (And can I say I just love so much that Ovi has an Ovi spot!) Go Backsie!! Go MoJo! And one more for the road, go Braden Holtbeast!! Those saves in the that PK were BEASTLY!!!!

  • Freedoooom

    Anyone remember this in the Ranger series, the Suter thing, McDonagh did it to Ovechkin all series long, at least referees I guess are consistent in not calling this BS.

    http://i.minus.com/iKb5MgiBDTWpm.gif

  • Akay15

    I like winning :). I don’t know if it’s because I’m still learning hockey, but has Beags played at all? If he hasn’t, why not?

  • yv

    Middleweight bout and Caps came up with a win despite losing in points whole game. Ovi also hit a crossbar in SO. I think he missing 4th SO/PS shot in a row.

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

    #WASvsMIN is trending on twitter, apparently only for the football game. We should all tweet about this game using that hashtag to confuse everyone.

  • Justin

    I think the Caps have to address the breakout, as it’s one of the few parts of the game that we’re having a bit of an issue with right now. The teams who have given us the most trouble have stifled us in the neutral zone. The Capitals want to be a rush team, always entering the zone with speed, and when we have to resort to dump and chase hockey, it all kind of gets mucked up.

  • GuestZ

    Very well put.

  • Justin

    Brilliant use of the Backstrom vs. Backstrom pic, though.

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

    I totally agree. I think exiting D and entering neutral is the Caps single biggest problem– and it was one of the things Boudreau’s Caps did best.

    Everything starts with the D.

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

    wow yeah

  • Graham Dumas

    Anyone concerned about the rather anemic cycle game? Seems like we have a lot of trouble with sustained O-zone pressure, no?

  • ShaybluntShayblunt

    Don’t have the numbers but 2nd, 3rd, and OT period faceoffs put us in a bad spot. Besides one DZ faceoff win at the end of OT Caps seemed hopeless.

    Has anyone copped the papa johns cookie pizza yet tho?

  • Benjamin Scarbro

    “Crows” and “Proud Free Folk”??

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

    you know it