Grabo - Bruce Bennett

Grabo. (Photo: Bruce Bennett)

It’s been a good weekend for Washington fans.

Wait, lemme take another swing at that.

It’s been a good weekend for Washington Capitals fans. After a convincing win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday, the Capitals popped the balloon of a goalie who has given them hell in recent months. An explosive second period gave the Caps a big lead, and the superb Philipp Grubauer had an answer for all but one Rangers shot.

After a scoreless first period, Jason Chimera finally ended Henrik Lundqvist’s shutout streak by paying the price in the paint. An outside shot by Steve Oleksy was deflected just 25 seconds later to make it 2-0. Mikhail Grabovski earned a penalty shot on a late-period breakaway, and he freaking roofed it with a point-blank slapper. The Caps held a 3-0 lead after forty minutes.

Nate Schmidt, yes, Nate Schmidt added one in the third, but Pouliot returned fire to break Grubi’s shutout before the buzzer. A bummer, but a great win.

Caps beat Rangers 4-1! 

  • Henrik Lundqvist has had the Caps’ number. For 202 minutes and 28 seconds, including the playoffs, Lundqvist kept the Caps without a goal. Jason Chimera busted that whole thing up with a crash-the-net move, and Steve Oleksy– fresh from the healthy scratch list– got a perimeter shot in. Great, but why didn’t they try that back in May? Heh.
  • An important factor on that Chimera goal was Martin Erat, whose no-look pass to the crease deserves a lot of the credit. In the snapshot earlier on Sunday, I said, “Erat’s doing what Grabovski did a few weeks earlier– adding puck control to a line flanked by physical players.” Boom. I’m psychic. But not as psychic as F.O.T.B. Max Duchaine:

  • The gap between the Caps’ goals in the second period was 25 seconds. The Capitals have been about as bad as an NHL team can be in that window after goals, so the renewed offensive interest was good news. The good luck was even better news.
  • Scratch that. The Pouliot goal late in the third came right on the heels of Schmidt’s. Fiddlesticks.
  • Marcus Johansson hasn’t committed a penalty this season. The high stick he drew in the middle frame was the seventh he’s drawn. Ian, upon me telling him: “That’s such a Swedish stat.”
  • I love Grabo. You love Grabo. Even those guys who were like “Ribeiro is jokes; Grabo suuuuucks” (Randy Carlyle?) love Grabo now. He’s the anchor on the Caps best line, but I wanna look at his penalty shot. Mikhail Grabovski ambled up to the middle of the slot and then unleashed a powerful slapshot that soared up on Lundqvist. You don’t see that tactic a lot anymore (outside Alex Semin), but man did it ever freaking work this time. John Walton’s call of the goal was superb:

And here’s the replay:

  • Ovechkin. Nash. Smileypunches.
  • Nate Schmidt scored in back-to-back games. If Alzner ever does that, I’m shaving my head and getting a My Little Pony tattoo.
  • Adam Oates decided to bench his Ace and play Philipp Grubauer for the second half of this back-to-back. History will look fondly upon this decision. Sunday was just Grubi’s fourth NHL appearance, his second start, and he was a nigh invulnerable like The Tick.
Joe B suit of the night. Honorable mention to Locker's tie.

Joe B suit of the night. Honorable mention to Locker’s tie.

That could not have gone any better. The Caps overcame a sluggish start to dominate the possession game. They kept their metaphorical foot on the metaphorical gas pedal after scoring and got rewarded for it.

Henrik Lundqvist and his reduced-size pads were insufficient against a Caps offense in Thundercloud Formation: a crash-the-net goal from Chimera, a deflected sniper shot from Binky, and Grabo on the penalty shot. Add Nate Schmidt’s insurance goal late in the third and this was officially a scoar-moar-goals affair.

And then there’s Grubi. By the third period I was doing air fists every time he made a save. The broken shutout stings a bit, but the two points and the solid youngling holding down the crease are better. Great first W for the young guy.

The Capitals now own second in the Metro without contest. The team is playing better than they ever have. They evicted Lundqvist from his perch inside their heads. Whatever happens with that football team, let’s be glad the Caps are the Caps.

Drive safe.

  • Jack Conness

    Philipp Grubauer, what a performance! He looked awesome all night. I think it is time to deal Neuvy, get what we can for him, free some cap space, and have Grubauer play backup the rest of the season. Thoughts?

    I thought this was the best defensive game for the Caps all season. All six D-men played well. The Caps did a great job of clearing the puck out of the zone tonight too. Orlov played a lot better and I think Schmidt might be finding his groove. Great to see Oleksy back in the lineup! He deserves to stay and I think the Caps can ride these six D-men for awhile now.

    Another fantastic game from Grabo, Wardo, and Chimera. Grabo impresses me every night and Wardo is absolutely lights out on the PK. Chimera looks faster than ever and I was happy to see him score tonight.

    I also thought the 4th line played great tonight. They seemed to have a lot of offensive zone possession and they played hard all night.

    Great weekend for Washington. Their next five games are favorable so I hope they can go on a bit of a run. Go Caps!

  • Spencer Z

    Schmidt’s goal was given to Fehr. Just as an FYI

  • JessHughes

    4th goal was Fehr’s (awesome) with the primary assist to Schmidt. Nice game to watch on a cold night.

  • Bob

    Lol “thats such a swedish stat”. Binky with 2 points and Ovi driving hard to the net was fun to watch. Loved the way the boys played in front of Gruby

  • Josh Carey

    Great game. Always hate playing the Rangers. Hate to be the pessimist here, but it does suck that the Rangers goal is another one within 2:30 of a Caps goal. Only negative I could see from this game though. Nicely done.

  • JenniferH

    I’ve been singing Gruby’s praises every time I see him so I’m glad he did us proud. In fact, I like him better than Neuvy (sorry, but I do). He just seems calmer and more sure of himself in net. I like what I see. I missed Holtby but I always miss Holts when he’s not there, but it’s good that he got a break and I read that he’s working on some new techniques with Kolzig of staying deep in the crease — which would explain some of those goals that have gotten through lately. Still, Gruby was fantastic!

    Overall the team just seemed so confident and winning! And they did. The Rangers were just floundering out there and we were freaking bad-ass.

  • Matt

    I don’t think i’ve ever seen a delayed penalty shot for that long.

  • http://twitter.com/kat326 Rachel Cohen

    “If Alzner ever does that, I’m shaving my head and getting a My Little Pony tattoo.”

    So… A bulldog-themed cutie mark? :’) (I kid)

  • derek

    So im watching the game and after the first goal I barely even celebrated because I expected the caps to give one up a minute later. Second one goes in and I’m thinking “hey maybe it won’t happen”. Grabo scores a dirty ps and I say to myself “not tonight. All is good.” Then comes Schmidt’s goal and its completely out of my mind, but then 1:04 later it had to happen when I least expectes expected it.

  • OlietheGoalie

    I want more NHL ice time for Grubby before we decide whether to get rid of Neuvy. Yeah he looked good, but it was only one game. We’ve had a ton of young goaltenders in the past 10 years, and we finally have a pretty good tandem, so unless some team says “we will give you a 1st or 2nd rounder for him”, I say keep Neuvirth. Once Braden is considered a veteran, then yeah play carousel with the backup.

  • Matt

    Thats 4 goals in 7 games since being scratched. Yep, Fehr is awesome.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Also, I’d like to say it’s been a pretty good week for Washington Nats fans too (made some good trades). I know this is an Orioles fanbase (mostly), but wanted to take the sting off of the flaming paper bag that is the Redskins.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Agreed. Grubby was/is great in Hershey, and I’ve never been a huge fan of Neuvy since he gets shaky in long stretches. Plop him in one or two games and he’s rock solid. Any more and you might as well put me in net (and I only have one good knee).

  • Spencer Z

    Was reassigned back to Schmidt

  • Buck

    that grabo shot was #wet

  • Capslass

    Understatement of the year at the end of the clip above from the Ranger’s commentator: “Grabovski has been a good signing for Washington”.

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

    Scoresheet still says Schmidt.

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

    <3

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

    We’re Nats friendly. I love the improvements they made this week– McLouth is gonna be loved instantly.

  • Matt Lauer

    I want to clone Grabovski and put him on every line.

  • Matt

    The Fister trade is the kind of highway robbery I wish GMGM could pull off.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Agreed! Span was supposed to be the lead off, but now McLouth might… so there’s two speedsters. And let’s not even mention how good Fister can fit into an already great rotation.

  • Pat Magee

    Backup goalie controversy?!?!?! O NOES

  • RESmith

    Schmidt has two goals AND is a +6 in two games.

  • WhiteBear Hollowell

    SPOOOON! I freaking love this site.

  • Jack Conness

    I agree with what you said. I don’t want to jump the gun too quick but I feel like Gruby could be a solid, much cheaper backup. We will see.

  • Graham Dumas

    Brony up, baby!

  • Graham Dumas

    Doesn’t that mean the point (goals after benching) stands? Perhaps there should be a regular benching schedule for the Caps’ less-productive players. Eh, Oates? Good decision, right…?

  • Michael Reschly

    30th game. 10th ROW. That’s a good thing, right?

  • Myan

    Had to watch this late because of a dinner party….though, the last time we had dinner with these people and watched the game on delay, Caps won, so…..

  • Myan

    pat on the back to the boys putting 4 past the most expensive goalie in the world.

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

    hush you

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

    We’re Nats friendly in a sense that we acknowledge there are Nats fans out there and we force ourselves to be cordial to them.

  • themav80

    “Henrik Lundqvist and his reduced-size pads were insufficient against a Caps offense in Thundercloud Formation:”

    I also just watched Pacific Rim. :P

  • dylan wheatley

    this.

  • Shaun Phillips

    As a Tigers fan, I was sad to see Fister go, but I think both teams got what they needed. Nats get a great pitcher (who was stuck in the 4th spot with the Tigers great rotation). Tigers get some salary relief (needed to resign Scherzer) and some versatile depth players/prospects.

  • Justin

    A metaphoric representation of Mikhail Grabovski’s penalty shot clapper: the old dagger in the pineapple.

  • Roman Z.

    Baseball’s boring!

  • bskillet

    Philipp was awesome and I would certainly expect to see him again Tuesday, got to go with the hot hand. I know it was only one game but actually I’ve yet to see him play bad, keep him in until a bad outing with Braden playing periodically.

  • Clint Petty

    Where do you think Fister goes into the rotation? Strasburg, Gio, and J-Zimm would seem to me to have the first three spots on lock. I would think Fister goes 4th, which is a hell of a rotation.

    Is this a hockey blog?

  • OlietheGoalie

    What an insight and thoughtful response!

  • OlietheGoalie

    Stras, Gio, Zimm, Fister, Detwiler.