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 Strachan, the 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!
Everything tweet tonight ends up not happening. LOL NICE GOAL AGAINST BRADEN ALSO YOU ARE WASHED UP OVI
— RMNB (@russianmachine) December 1, 2013
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.