Holtby Overtime: Caps Top Isles 3-2 (OT)

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Ballgame. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Like the Bond marathon on SyFy over the last few days, the Washington Capitals are a fickle thing. Lately, the Caps have mixed the sublime elegance of the Sean Connery era with the confusing stupor of the Timothy Dalton movies. More often than not, it’s been the latter.

Plainly, they didn’t deserve to win yesterday’s game. Only the godlike brilliance of Eric Fehr kept the Caps from a fifth straight loss. They did win, however, and got their tired asses on a plane to hell Long Island this morning. With Braden Holtby making his second start in as many days, the setup for this one didn’t look good.

Washington’s start, however, was better than we’ve come to expect. Though New York handily outshot them early, the Caps controlled possession. The teams traded chances, with no one converting. Hey, that’s better than being 3-0 after 20!

As usual, the Caps got it going in the second. The period was filling with odd-man breaks and open looks for Washington, with the fourth line converting midway through the frame. Martin Erat – yes, that one — made a nice play behind the net before setting up the puck for Tom Wilson, who fired it on net. Aaron Volpatti did the net crashing thing to put the Caps on the board.

In the third, though, the Isles got the goal back — and they did on a Caps power play. Four minutes into the period, local pariah Mike Green missed a pinch and Cal Clutterbuck took the puck the other way on a breakaway. Yeah, it was awful. Then, Thomas Vanek gave the Isles the lead with some whacking in front, to Braden’s dismay. With less than two minutes left, this one looked over. HOWEVER… Nicklas Backstrom was stone cold clutch, converting in front with the Caps down a man. In overtime, the big Russian — that would be Alex Ovechkin — did his thing. Boom. Crazy times. Caps top Isles 3-2 (OT).

  • The day has finally come, folks: after much saga, Dimity Orlov has played in an NHL game this season. Before the game, the Caps called up Dima and Philip Grubauer from Hershey after Michal Neuvirth stepped on a puck and Alexander Urbom stepped on his tail. So how did #81 look? Playing with Tyson Strachanthe Russian made some nice passes and didn’t commit a massive mistake that led to a goal. That’s already an improvement!
  • In other lineup news, Martin Erat got on the ice for the first time since his trade request, after Brooks Laich missed his second game in a row and the Caps sent down Michael Latta to make room for Orlov. He and his fourth line mates played well in their limited ice time, with Erat also getting some time on the penalty kill and power play. Other than the hyper-talented first line, that trio was Washington’s best tonight. Erat made the goal with a great move behind the net to protect the puck before swinging up to the far circle and finding Wilson. Oh, what could have been. Sigh.
  • Here’s how J-Walt called the tally.
  • The first line was brilliant tonight, with shot attempts going about two-to-one in their favor. Tons of chances, two late goals. Marcus Johansson was robbed of another one by fellow Swede and Islanders goalie Anders Nilsson. Mojo-Ovi-Nicky directed 20 shots towards the net.
  • The Caps power play has been struggling lately, falling to fourth in the league. This time, they gave the other team a goal. Mike Green was too aggressive trying to gather the puck along the boards. Once he missed it, two Isles were going the other way for a sure-fire goal. With a one goal lead, Greenie should’ve sat back. The dream season continues for number 52.
  • Braden Holtby was excellent tonight after playing over 65 minutes yesterday. Most notably, he made some amazing saves on the Islanders power play to keep the Caps ahead. The two dents against him came on the aforementioned breakaway and after a questionable non-call. Bray Bray is now fourth in the league in total saves. He made 37 tonight.  Stud.
  • Nicklas Backstrom!
  • Alex Ovechkin!
  • Called it!

 

Great tie, questionable shirt.

Great tie, questionable shirt.

It wasn’t pretty last night, but the Caps finally got a win. Same story tonight, though they played better in this one. For the third straight game, the ending gave us a heart attack. Do they not understand we recap these things before they actually end? Jerks! Anyway, Washington did not let the fat lady belt out her tunes on this one. The Caps now have four points in 24 hours. That’s nice. Enjoy your Sunday.

  • Ash

    BAILAMOS.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I don’t even know. What.

  • William

    An apt description of the capitals; “stupor” and “fickle” are words that come to mind when I think about the team.

  • JGP

    I need some fancystats because it seems like Green been consistently terrible lately. Like I keep seeing him blowing routine plays that lead to goals the other way. But maybe he’s a lot better than that?

  • Matt

    Great work by the ice cheetah on Backstrom’s goal. Used his speed the get the puck first after the dump and and set up the goal from behind the net.

  • Banana

    Gif of the Clutterbuck dive?

  • MuzzMuzzington

    “OVItime”

    Green makes a few good plays, then some monumentally bad plays. Got any fancystats to back up my feeling that we play better without him in the line up?

  • Graham Dumas

    Agreed. Also, maybe some selection bias there? Are we now looking for him to screw up?

  • JenniferH

    I feel a resurgence coming on, I just do.

    And Braden Holtby is amazing.

    As is Nicklas Backstrom.

    And Alexander Oveckin.

  • Casey Nepivoda

    You realize Green is the reason the Islanders didn’t score an empty net goal, right?

  • Red

    ..and then the Caps happened.

  • Red

    I know this is harsh, but is Green the new Schultz?

  • MuzzMuzzington

    He’s also the reason they tied it up with the shorty and made the soft play that led to the empty net chance.

    I’ve been one of the biggest Green supporters and thought he was trending int he right direction last season. But so far this season he looks like he is back trying to do too much.

  • Bob

    Everybody is all Nicky this and Ovi that while im just like thank god beagle is back

  • Pat Magee

    What an absolutely BRILLIANT pass from chimmer to set up the GTG. Seriously. I wanna cry.

  • Mike Honcho

    Holts rules, ice cheeta and Nicky team up, Game Ovi.

    What is up with Green, does he have a concussion? His decision making has completely sucked, I’m curious about our stats with him as well. And yes, he did get back for that stop, but he’s not Schmidt or urbomb, he’s good player and a vet, he should be leading the d, not giving it up a few times a night.

  • Jeff Yoders

    More proof that GMGM needs to find a way to keep Erat and Adam Oates has to find a way to make him happy.

  • Chip

    He’s also one of the main reasons they scored the SHG against us, too.

  • Ash

    Green giveth, Green taketh. You take the boneheaded with sublime and hope that he starts trending correctly. Let’s just be glad this one ended in a win for the Caps and hope Green settles whatever’s going on with him right now.

  • JGP

    That’s true, but I agree with Hancho up above, that for a guy with the seniority and ice time he gets, you need more. The biggest indictment seems to be how Carlson was getting top PP minutes lately. Since with Green’s skill set, that’s the one place he should really earn his money.

  • JGP

    2 minutes, unsportsmanlike conduct.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    He actually has the best possession numbers of any Caps d-man with over 14 games played.

    http://www.extraskater.com/players_all/on-ice?sort=corsi_pct&pos=D&min_gp=50

  • JGP

    Fair point. Though being taken off the top PP unit might mean that Oates is seeing something similar. Maybe?

  • JGP

    Okay, that’s what I was wondering. Obviously you notice the bad much more than the good. So thanks for the link. Though I’d be curious whether that’s been particularly bad the last week or two. I know that’s probably too small a sample to be fair though.

  • Pat

    Don’t get me wrong, Erat is a good player (and hasn’t been given a chance to succeed) but If GMGM can move him for a top 4D I think that would be more valuable to this team. Trading him may be best for us, especially if we want to resign Grabo.

  • Dan

    According to these numbers it looks like Green is actually tilting possession positively:

    http://www.extraskater.com/player/187/mike-green

  • Dan
  • GueztZ

    Except for when he hands it over without a fight…

  • Tommy

    Does anyone think that Erat and Orlov stay? I am seriously asking because I think we need them both. I guess Oates is the coach for the fickle player.

  • Mike Honcho

    Thanks for the link, seems he is. Maybe he’s just in a slump between the noticeable flails and lack of points. I’m definitely rooting for him.

    Either way, we need help on the blue line. Record shot allowed season isn’t going to be a happy story.

  • Mark Gillis

    I wish. Erat would look great with Grabo and Fehr.

  • Jack Conness

    I finally got home to see the game! Thank god for DVR!

    What a win! A couple notes from it…

    Mike Green is a flat out BUM. I don’t know what happened to him. I don’t know if he is hurting. But he sucks right now. And that is putting it lightly. Awful turnover on the shorthanded goal and he tried giving the game away at the end. He can’t complete a pass or play defense. They have to figure out something with him. He just can’t play.

    Strachan needs to go. Please start Oleksy over him.

    I thought the 4th line looked awesome tonight. Still blows my mind that Erat was a scratch. Please part ways with Laich and Brouwer. I would love to see Wilson, Beagle, and Erat get some more playing time.

    Chimera, Ward, Grabo, and Fehr worth every penny again.

    Great seeing DIMA play. I thought he had a real solid performance and he looked real quick out there. He better stay in the lineup.

    And Alex Ovechkin, proving once again, why he is the best player in hockey. I wish the Caps could put an awesome team around him. He deserves a cup. So does Backstrom.

  • Jack Conness

    Chimera has been clutch all year. I love the guy.

  • Jack Conness

    That sounds like an awesome plan but no way the Caps get a top 4D for Erat. He has a brutal contract and no numbers. They would have to package Orlov or Neuvirth with Erat. Oates better start playing him.

  • Owen Johnson

    4th line was excellent I thought. Erat basically caused that first goal proving he needs more ice time.
    Also, the Islanders 3rd sweaters: YUK!

  • Jack Conness

    We all hope for Erat-Grabo-Fehr. I hope it happens. I hope Orlov stays. But the way Oates has gone about business this year, I don’t see it happening. What would they do with Laich? Scratch him? I would be fine with that but I don’t see there being a chance with Oates manning the ship.

  • Owen Johnson

    “I finally got home to see the game! Thank god for DVR!”
    You and me both.

  • Jack Conness

    It is a wonderful thing to have. First W for the Caps for me when recorded. Previously 0-6. Finally. I was starting to worry…

  • Jack Conness

    Agreed and agreed. Awful jerseys. And Erat’s puck possession is a beautiful thing to watch. They need that out there.

  • Pat

    Well yes, figured that went without saying.

  • Chip

    Agreed. I’ve felt that if he could just get one goal and get the monkey off his back, his entire game would improve…he’s just had no luck whatsoever.

  • Rhino40

    OK, Chris, I get that you dig Connery (everyone does), And you don’t have much use for Dalton.
    From my perspective:

    Connery: The one, the only, the undisputed master of the double-entendre and ur-Bond for the ages…

    Lazenby: only one film from this guy–thank God!

    Moore: Perhaps a better playboy than Connery, but not as good an Agent

    Dalton: Darker, rougher and more brooding than his predecessors, but he didn’t suck.

    Brosnan: Should have played Bond following Moore’s departure, but was unavailable due to NBC’s dick move regarding the actor’s Remington Steele contract. As a result, Pierce got only 4 films before passing the baton to Roger Craig.

    Craig: More like Dalton than Connery or Moore; IMO the jury is still out on this guy–it remains to be seen whether the twitterverse can accept Bond as a Blond.

    Your thoughts?

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

    Alright, I was gonna remain silent, but now I must chime in.

    Connery: Naturally brilliant, and brought a lot more pathos to the role than he’s given credit for.

    Moore: So smarmy I couldn’t stand it, also suffered from the worst scripts of any Bond except Brosnan. Made me root for the bad guy every time.

    Lazenby: Criminally underrated. I thought he was droll and naturalistic in a way that befit the story, which by the way is the most canonized Bond story (dead wife, nascent respect for women). Lazenby’s post-Bond hippie days color the performance a bit.

    Dalton: Totally 80s. Too action-hero, which was so un-English to me that I got turned off.

    Brosnan: Absolutely killed it in GoldenEye, but that was the last good script he got. He was an innocent bystander to the Schumacherization of James Bond.

    Craig: He gets better supporting actors, better scripts (though Quantum was weakest), better directors (Sam Mendes?!), and is just frankly a much-better dramatic actor than anyone else who played the part. I love him as much as I loved GoldenEye/Brosnan or From Russia/Connery.

  • Rhino40

    Peter,

    Well played, sir. You raise a number of valid points which I perhaps should have thought about more….and I mostly agree with you about Moore, but not to the extent of rooting for the bad guys…Well, maybe Christopher Walken… I absolutely agree Brosnan killed it–which is why I regret his not playing the role years earlier. Plus, I have always wanted to drive a f***ing TANK through a crowded city…

    Film-goers went through the middle decades of the Cold War with the Bond we had rather than the Bond we wanted. Smarmy? Yes. Bad scripts? Absolutely. But remember also that the 70′s & 80′s were cheesy times so maybe–at the time–a cheesy Bond was what some folks wanted. After all, cheesy is as cheesy does. As for Craig, haven’t seen all of his Bond films yet, hence my remark about reserving judgement. I did enjoy Cowboys & Aliens though.

    Respect & Peace
    Das Rhino

  • Rhino40

    I also agree. And while we’re on the (sub-)topic of third sweaters, I think it’s time to introduce a third sweater that isn’t just a modernization of a mid-1970′s wordmark.

    I propose the Caps’ Third Sweater be either red or blue with an enormous f***ing Weagle as the crest…like this.

    It’s time.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    My words were, perhaps, a little harsh. But I can’t stand gritty Bond. I hated Skyfall.