All’s Fehr in Love and Scoar: Caps beat Perds 5-2

Brouwer  - Patrick Smith

Photo: Patrick Smith

It’s been too long. The last Caps game– back when healthcare.gov wasn’t working and the Spaghetti Os social media guy still had a job– was a pretty tough loss to the Hurricanes. Four days later, the Capitals hosted Matt Hendricks and the Nashville Predators to a Saturday night thing, putting up a ton of goals in the first frame and fending off their foes for the next forty minutes. Here’s how it went down.

Troy Brouwer cracked an 11-game scoreless streak early in the first with one of the softest softies ever, a slow backhand that dribbled past Nashville goalie/The Doors organist Marek Mazanec. Alex Ovechkin was Alex Ovechkin on the power play, and then Karl Alzner threaded the needle from way-out to officially make it a scoar-moar-goals kind of night. Roman Josi put a nasty wristshot to Braden Holtby’s far side to get the Perds on the board, but that was quite a strong first frame for the Caps. 3-1.

The second period was scoreless, but it did find the Predators closing the gap in the possession game.

Martin Erat set up Nate Schmidt for his first NHL goal in the third, but Eric Nystrom scored on the very next shift because this is the Capitals and they do just do stuff like that sometimes. Mikhail Grabovski, who is awesome, helped Eric Fehr, who is awesome, get free wings for the fans. Bam. Win.

Caps beat Preds 5-2.

(Big ups to Rhonda for the “All’s Fehr” line)

I’ll just leave this here.

  • I’ll have more on this on Sunday and Monday, but Troy Brouwer has been reinvigorated. A lot of it has to do with his teammates: Grabo is a possession pro and Eric Fehr loves lugging the mail into the O-zone. I think Brouwer is a great complement to his new linemates, and he was certainly hungry to score tonight. His goal– a casual backhander that had no business going in– just shows you how fickle this sport is sometimes. That’s not to say Brouwer’s been unlucky lately. His nascent turnaround is the result of hard work and great teammates.
  • The game clock said it was 3 seconds from Rich Clune‘s interference penalty to Alex Ovechkin’s powerplay goal. Seemed faster to me. That was goal number 22 for Alex, the best in the league. I love this guy so much it’s like I’m circling back to hating him just a little bit. Here’s your boy John Walton calling it:
  • Patrick Wey played his first NHL game, racking up a healthy 13+ minutes on ice, including a spot on the PK, and tilting the ice towards the Nashville net. Very solid.
  • Back in the week 7 snapshot I observed that Karl Alzner had been shooting more and was on track to shatter his single-season record of two goals. He’s halfway to tying it already, thanks to a first-period snapshot. That was Alzner’s first goal at home– ever.
  • I’m super happy for Alzner, but on a defensive pairing with Mike Green, he fared poorly. Roman Josi‘s goal was just one of many shot attempts they saw from the ice. Near the other guy’s net: precious few. 27-52 got smoked in the possession game against a generally weak possession team. And it didn’t appear they were matched against any particular line– they saw Legwand and Underwood pretty much equally.
  • RMNB on the jumbotron. No big.
  • Congrats to Nate Schmidt on his first big-league goal, a beauty set up by Martin Erat, but…
  • The Caps continue to bleed goals after they score. Eric Nystrom sunk it just 23 seconds after Schmidt’s. This is an awful pattern. I’ve got nothing clever to say about it.
  • I don’t want to get into out-of-town business too much, but it looks like James Neal (knee to the head) and Shawn Thornton (basically, assault and battery) could– and should– get Dale Hunter-sized suspensions. The NHL’s punishment system is a joke right now, but I hope books get thrown at the two of them.
  • As the game got out of hand for the Perds, they started giving the Caps a bunch of rush attacks. Jason Chimera got denied by that Manzarek guy, but a bit later Grabo set up Eric Fehr for the 5-spot goal. The Fehr-Grabo-Brouwer line… I’m telling you guys. It’s the new Chimera-Grabo-Ward line.
Joe B suit of the night: seizure warning

Joe B suit of the night: seizure warning for the mix-and-match patterns

The Caps won this one by taking control of the puck early. By the time they went up two goals, the Caps had put more than 60% of the unblocked shot attempts towards Nashville’s net. Between that and their impressive start to the Canes game (I forget how that one ended), the Caps seem to be doing much better at starts– and their overall possession stats will reflect that in tomorrow’s snapshot.

I dunno, man. I like a lot of what I see here. If the Caps can maintain their even-strength progress and fix what ails them on special teams, they’ll be a truly good team. If they can do all that and upgrade their defense, they’ll be a great team.

Stop by RMNB on Sunday. We’ll have stats, Olympic stuff, and a game against your favorite squadron, the Ny Rangers. Let’s hope Oates is smart enough to give Holtby the night off– back-to-back starts are for the birds.

perd

The story of this game is: the Capitals won.

  • Bobby Three Sticks

    Good one with the “Perds,” Peter

  • Marky Narc

    Before I even start reading the recap, I just want to say one thing: Nate Schmidt is the best player in NHL history to wear the number 88. True fact of factual truthiness.

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

    the joke had legs, so I ripped them off and beat our readers over the head with em

  • Owen Johnson

    Good game, although I missed the Schmitty goal. Now onto bed. I got an EARLY bus ride to NYC tomorrow morning. Yes. for that. Go Caps!

  • Jack Conness

    Troy Brouwer needs to take Mikhail Grabovski to a beautiful steak dinner and let the man order whatever he wants. Brouwer owes his whole night to Grabovski, who played another beautiful game and who set up Brouwer all night long.

    On that note, why Erat-Grabovski-Fehr isn’t the 2nd line is MIND BLOWING. I thought Erat had another awesome night! He had a ton of opportunities (got robbed quite a bit) and played great on the PK once again. Keep him in the lineup! Someone please make 10-84-16 a reality.

    I love Tom Wilson. I realize it would be tough to put him on the Top 6 but maybe try it? He is a beast and I think he could make a difference offensively if given the chance. What a fight by the way. Is he now 6-0 on the season?

    I would never wish an injury upon anyone but I really don’t miss Laich in the lineup. They play just fine without him and in my opinion, but not Adam Oates’, Erat is a better player.

    Holtby really has to quit giving up weak goals. The first goal against him at the end of the period was awful and put a damper on the great 1st period the Caps had.

    All hail Fehr and the great Ovi!

  • Marky Narc

    http://vine.co/v/hQmXpWaKItj Vine of the Ovi PPG. (does it embed?)

  • Myan

    Just came to the realization… Alzner with the GWG. Whoa.

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

    From Extra Skater, http://www.extraskater.com/game/2013-12-07-predators-capitals, excluding the final two minutes.

    Martin Erat, by the way, had 80% possession. GET THAT BUM OUT OF HERE.

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

    yay it does!

  • Barry

    Lol that title’s so terrible it becomes amazing

  • Graham Dumas

    That proposed second line MUST HAPPEN. But, it won’t.

  • Graham Dumas

    No, I think you meant, so awesome it becomes terrifying. Ly awesome.

  • Matt

    With Holtby and Lundqvist playing tonight, we should see Grubauer vs Talbot in net tomorrow. Who would have imagined that matchup at the beginning of the year?

  • Michael Reschly

    Point of note regarding Alzner’s goal: a 5v5 goal with Ovi on the ice scored by someone other than Ovi. ( http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2013/12/06/alex-ovechkin-and-the-one-dimensional-offense/ ).

  • Graham Dumas

    I’ll pay you five hypothetical dollars if that happens.

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

    GOOD EYE, SIR.

  • Matt Lauer

    I’m still withholding judgment on the quality of this team until Kuzya comes over.

  • Jack Conness

    It would such a fun and exciting line to watch.

  • Benjamin Scarbro

    “Grabo is a possession pro” & “The Fehr-Grabo-Brouwer line… I’m telling you guys. It’s the new Chimera-Grabo-Ward line.” I feel like there is something you’re trying to say here… something… some… thing… Nope. Can’t figure it out. PLUS/MINUS FOR LIFE!

  • Graham Dumas

    Don’t tease me.

  • Michael Reschly

    Erat was 4-for-14 (28.6%) in the dot tonight.

  • yv

    I think today NHL.com and theirs boxscore have been commanded by drunken fillers or hacked. I never saw such names for penalties during in-game summaries. For instance, Wilson-Cline fighting was called boarding, Beagle, Cline minors – head butting, etc. But the most weirdest and funniest were in Pens- Bruins game: minor to Chara – butt double!!, 10- min penalties were all named – kicking, many minors – head butting, all tripping called – obstruction. After the game they all were changed to normal ones, but such naming have continuing during on-going games. I have copied some of them and they looking funny, like:
    current
    NYI-LAK
    06:11 NYI Cal Clutterbuck Tripping – Obstruction – 2 min against Anze Kopitar
    or
    NYR-NJD
    2ND PERIOD
    19:19 NYR Brian Boyle Late on ice – bench – 2 min against Anton Volchenkov
    3RD PERIOD
    03:03 NJD Eric Gelinas Holding stick – Obstruction – 2 min against Ryan Callahan
    09:24 NJD Damien Brunner Hooking – 2 min against Derek Stepan
    18:49 NJD Travis Zajac Match – deliberate injury – 2 min against Anton Stralman

    OTT-TOR
    2ND PERIOD
    03:05 OTT Zack Smith served by Bobby Ryan Slashing – 2 min
    03:05 OTT Zack Smith Kicking – match – 10 min
    04:28 TOR David Clarkson Delay of game – 2 min against Erik Karlsson
    06:38 TOR Trevor Smith Tripping – Obstruction – 2 min against Kyle Turris
    12:43 OTT Colin Greening Head butting – 2 min against John-Michael Liles
    15:53 TOR Trevor Smith Tripping – Obstruction – 2 min against Marc Methot
    18:50 OTT Chris Neil Boarding (maj) – 5 min against Frazer McLaren
    18:50 TOR Frazer McLaren Boarding (maj) – 5 min against Chris Neil
    18:50 OTT Chris Neil Kicking – match – 10 min against Frazer McLaren
    18:50 TOR Frazer McLaren Kicking – match – 10 min against Chris Neil

    and so on and so on. Really deserve investigation!!

  • Jack Conness

    Agreed. He makes the tough ones but damn, if he just stopped more of these weak goals he would be lights out.

  • Jack Conness

    I love me some Marty Erat. And to the other comment, the dude isn’t a center. He is a winger. Play him with Grabo!

  • madsenkd

    “The Fehr-Grabo-Brouwer line… I’m telling you guys. It’s the new Chimera-Grabo-Ward line.”

    Interesting thought. If only there were something linking these lines – a common factor, if you will, driving play in the right direction. Perhaps it’s just a mystery lost to the ages…

  • binky4norris

    He also looked like he had hands of concrete on his multiple easy scoring chances. At least he’s a possession stud.

  • Bob

    loved seeing alzner score but is anyone really looking forward to tomorrow’s game? i cant handle another lundqvist shutout

  • yv

    Another one from current EDM-CAL:

    2ND PERIOD
    05:04 CGY Mark Giordano Goalie leave crease – 2 min against Ryan Smyth

  • Myan

    Hard to believe that Fehr was scratched for nine straight games. He must be averaging at least a point a game since his return.

  • Owen

    completely agree, that line would be amazing.

  • madwackviv

    total missed opportunity for the headline:
    Alz* Fehr in Love and Scoar

  • MuzzMuzzington

    16-84-43

    LETS DO IT!

  • Jack Conness

    Who moves down to the 4th line?

  • GuestZ

    And that, my friends, is how you write a factual recap. Which is to say: recapping the facts.

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

    Ian reported the same thing to me re: Clune’s penalties. Stuff is weird.

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

    They really are resting Lundqvist. I think the Olympics may be a factor. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Caps dodge a bullet and get Talbot.

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

    3 people had Alzner as the GWG in the pick em! Nobody won. Two said 4-2 and one said 6-2. Heh. Suckerssssss.

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

    dammit

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Hm, Brouwer? To let him “find his game” as Oatesy would say. He’s got no problem putting $4.5m Erat who should be on the 1st or 2nd line down there. Might as well with a guy who has been struggling to hold onto a puck for more than 5 seconds.

    I tried playing the drinking game where you start counting to 5 when Brouwer has the puck, if he loses it in under 5 you drink. I couldn’t take it.

  • Rhino40

    I don’t want to get into out-of-town business too much, but it looks
    like James Neal (knee to the head) and Shawn Thornton (basically,
    assault and battery) could– and should– get Dale Hunter-sized
    suspensions. The NHL’s punishment system is a joke right now, but I hope
    books get thrown at the two of them.

    I agree with this 1.7 E9 per cent, Peter. However, because the NHL’s supplemental discipline machine is existentially broken, Jumbo Joe will likely get the Hunteres-que Shanaban and Neal–being a first-time offender and a Penguin to boot–will get a fine (essentially, nothing).

    F*****g Penguins.

  • Rhino40

    One is the number of Mojo Jojos there shall be and the number of Mojo Jojo shall be one. Two is too many, and three is rightout…

  • Rhino40

    Ow!

    • Alzner should have kept the Lanny-stache, but good on him for scoaring…

    • Don’t you mean “SCOAR MOAR GOALS“?

  • JenniferH

    Looks like there’s a reason Holts has been letting in these “soft” goals lately. Apparently Olie Kolzig wants him to start working on defending from deep in the crease now too which is not something that Holtby does naturally (he’s always been one who is more aggressive ). I’m sure that once he’s more comfortable with that (like the footwork he was working on in those early games when he had those, erm, iffy games) he’ll get back to top form all around.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Same problem Varlamov had. It will come with age, just as it has for Varly. Who, all jokes aside, has been smashing this season.

  • Graham Dumas

    No hypothetical dollars for you! Come back, ONE YEAR!