Why We Watch: Caps beat Bolts 6-5 (SO)! Alex. Ovechkin.

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

Missing one of the league’s best shooters in Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning might look weak to some. Their goal totals in recent games haven’t exactly been terrifying. And yet, the Bolts found a way to thoroughly exploit the Capitals in the first twenty minutes of Tuesday’s game. One individual Capitals performance was at fault for a lot of that trouble, but where one falters, another steps up. Alex Ovechkin put together one of his best games ever to hoist his team into– not just a close game– but one of the most exciting in recent history.

First, Mike Green committed a penalty and the Lightning scored. Then, Mike Green committed a penalty and the Lightning scored. Then, in a Shyamalany plot twist, Mike Green was on-ice when the Lightning scored. Holtby was like, “Sick of you, Mike,” and he peaced out; Grubauer in. Alex Ovechkin put the team on the board with an instant-score following a faceoff.

Okay, buckle up. Here we go.

Troy Brouwer proved unable, so Nick Backstrom finished off the powerplay for him. Then, Alex Ovechkin happened. After Richard Panik earned a 5-minute major for boarding Karl Alzner, the Russian machine made Tampa pay. Twice. First, he laid up a cross-ice pass from Marcus Johansson, then he took a one-timer from Green to tie the game. Hats rained down. Another three-goal second period for the Washington Capitals.

Ondrej Palat put the Bolts back up in the third, taking advantage of some observational Capitals defense, but the Caps weren’t done. With the Caps net empty, Alex Ovechkin struck again, scoring his 4th goal of the night. HIS FOURTH FOARTH GOAL OF THE NIGHT.

Overtime proved unable to decide the game, and thus:

Shootout bullets!

  • Eric Fehr scores and didn’t even crack a smile.
  • Filppula was denied.
  • The puck rolled on Ovi, who didn’t get greedy.
  • Kucherov tucked it past Grubauer.
  • Backy’s puck hit the post and bounced out.
  • Grubi pokechecked the hell out of Martin St Louis.
  • Grabo’s grab bag of tricks is deep, and he converts.
  • Teddy Purcell roofed it to keep the shootout going.
  • Troy Brouwer redeemed with a roofer!
  • Palat blocked!

Caps beat Bolts 6-5 in the shootout. EPIC COMEBACK! AND HOW ABOUT THAT ALEX OVECHKIN?!

  • The Capitals didn’t manage a shot attempt until 10:29, when Joel Ward missed the net by a mile. By that point the Bolts had already pushed 12 pucks towards Holtby. They’d score twice in the next minute to completely annihilate any hope of a good Caps’ possession effort. After four games controlling the puck, the Caps regressed on Tuesday. Haaaaard.
  • Mike Green.

sad fat

  • No, really. Mike Green. Double minor for high-sticking, a trip, another high-sticking, and then a misconduct. Two goals came off those penalties and a third while he was playing nominal defense. One pissed-off, long-haired goalie headed to the bench after that. It’s hard to think of a worse 10 minutes of hockey from a professional player without it ending in a nicked carotid. Green’s 18 PIMs were the most a Capitals defender has seen since Bryan Muir got 19 back in 2006. Wretched.
  • But as bad as the MG52 affair was, there’s the infinite excellence of Backstrom. (And Ovi, too, but we’ll get to him in a minute) Let’s marinate on Nicky for a minute.
  • Nick Backstrom won 15 of 22 faceoffs and kicked off scoring in the second period. Everytime Ovi struck (patience, patience– it’s coming), Nicky was there with the apple cart. Isn’t it just like Nicky to have a 5-point game, quietly? <3
  • Of course, Backstrom was forced to score when Troy Brouwer missed his finishing attempt in the slot, just one of many flubbed looks by Brouwer in or near the paint. Brouwer isn’t a great possession player, so he’s had to make his name by being a finisher. He was not a finisher in this one. If he can’t execute, then the crease is the wrong place for him on the man advantage. I think he’ll get over it. Great shootout tally doe.
  • The turning point was Richard Panik‘s hit on Karl Alzner. It was bad. Alzner was vulnerable, and Panik seemed to know right away he was in the wrong. On some teams the reaction to an event like that would be to punch his lights out (or commit assault and battery). Instead, the Capitals hung two goals on the penalty and tied the game. There’s a reason teams don’t fight when the game is on the line: fighting doesn’t win games. The Capitals did it the right way. If there’s a code, it’s best enforced on the scoreboard.
  • Karl was okay, by the way.
  • Jay Beagle appeared to suffer some kind of lower-body injury early in the third.
  • Poor Braden Holtby has had a rough week. He’ll be back, and at least we had Grubi to take a bullet for him.
Joe B suit of the night: some one make sense of that tie for me. It is like two ties at once.

Joe B suit of the night: some one make sense of that tie for me. It is like two ties at once.

And then there was Alex Ovechkin.

The Captain. The league leader in goals. The franchise leader in power-play goals. The best smile on the team. The only reason the Caps were ever in this game.

Four goals. Four freaking goals. He hadn’t done that since Jan. 31, 2008. God bless.

It’s a privilege to watch that guy work. Tonight, hefting the team on his shoulder and carrying them out of the pit, Ovi earned individual honors– a hat trick and franchise record– but he did it all for the team.

That team and its alumni came together to congratulate Ovechkin for the milestone:

This was a special one. Remember at 7:20 PM when you thought this was a burn-the-tape kind of night? Haha. No. This is a career-caliber, highlight-reel game that people will talk about for decades.

“Remember that time Mike Green put the Caps in a three-goal hole, and then Alex Ovechkin spat in the dust, said, nyet, and unleashed the goddamn fury?” That was tonight. That was this night.

We’re supposed to revert our Twitter avatar back to the Ovi pic at midnight tonight. I think, in deference to what happened tonight, we’ll push it up a few hours.

Two standings points don’t come close to describing how important this one was.

Let’s dance. Is disco now.

bowie lets dance

  • Chris Cerullo

    Oh captain, my captain.

  • Dave

    Game summary: Green digs hole. Ovechkin fills it back in.

  • Jack Conness

    ALEX OVECHKIN! BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME!

    What an ugly game but WHAT A COMEBACK! We will talk about the awful Mile Green another day but WHAT A WIN!

    NICKY BACKSTROM TOO! I just can’t contain my excitement! GO CAPS!!!

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Mile Green… it’s like the Green Mile, only on ice.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    okay so where’s the photoshop of nicky selling fruit for free.

  • Bob

    Nicky just doing nicky things with another huge game. Orlov had a really nice shift in OT i dont know if anyone noticed. Grabo and TB20 were filthy in the shootout. I hope we dont take florida lightly

  • Jennifer Carignan

    So you’re telling me that I get Ovi awesomeness, Seth Galifianakis, AND Bowie in this recap. I mean…

  • CT

    THAT GAME WAS PURE SEX

  • Ben

    made Tampa pay

    ISeeWhatYouDidThere

  • Josh Carey

    A few days ago before Green scored I said he’s had a few good games and looks to be making a turn. Can I get a mulligan?

  • JenniferH

    In honor of Ovi, I changed my avatar tonight! Holts is having a sucky week indeed and Green bit the big one tonight, BUT OH MY OVI!!! You said it all, Peter, you said it all!! WOOHOO!!

  • Jack Conness

    Sorry for the typo…too much excitement!

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Zach?

  • Joben

    Bondra or Hassett?

  • Matt Lauer

    Ovechkin. That is all.

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Did beagle take another shift after the supposed injury? I didn’t see him. I’d mix in a veterinarian joke here, but that’s not my style.

  • RY

    Bonzai is awesome.

  • Red

    That headline speaks volumes. Games like this is the reason I watch hockey. Like an adrenaline shot in the arm. Ovi, Backy, and Gruby are my stars tonight. Green is like that one drunk girl who almost ruined the night. We won this one through sheer will power of our captain. Hats off.

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

    Except for those first 10 minutes, the Caps hung.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    I mean – the Ben Bishop body language said it all. it was pwnage he never knew was possible.

  • JenniferH

    I was thinking of Hassett, but Bondra was pretty awesome too. ;)

  • Jimmie

    “Remember that time Mike Green put the Caps in a three-goal hole, and then Alex Ovechkin spat in dust, said, nyet, and unleashed the goddamn fury?”

    This is beautiful.

  • Jay DeLancey

    seth is zack

  • Jennifer Carignan

    Very much aware of that. :)

  • Spencer Z

    Remember when people were saying: “Guys I think Ovi is washed up. We should trade him for a bag of pucks”

    Yeah me neither :)

  • Jay DeLancey

    all is well then

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

    I’m glad this worked out for everyone

  • Roman Z.

    Dima: stud all around
    Grubi: move him to #1?
    Ovi: King in the North!

  • Brendan Maltese

    Gonna need a gif of that 4th goal celebration kthx.

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

    ON IT

  • Graham Dumas

    Ok, I post a lot of comments that start, “will someone please…”. But seriously, will someone please tell me what the hell is wrong with Green? He looked like he was drunk in that silly (amazing) vid, and well, then there was tonight. Also, “you should thank me and Nicky for passing you all those pucks?!” I know that was a joke, but holy crap. No wonder the fans booed him.

  • Graham Dumas

    I think we hung pretty well in the first ten, too: hung like 18th century pirates from Her Majesty’s yardarm!

    No? Too much?

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

    hahaha 6/10

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

    OKAY FINE IF NO ONE ELSE WILL DO IT I WILL DO IT

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv0PAchVGCw

  • Graham Dumas

    Yah, the other four I pick up with my amazing pirate accent, I assure you.

  • Cole

    I was at work and could not see the game.

    But when I found out Ovi scored (each time, especially the hat trick and to tie) I lost it. I may or may not have been reprimanded by my boss for scaring some customers.

  • Graham Dumas

    Руки прочь от первой группы! Also, Dima was a mostly-stud. I saw one or two things, which I conveniently do not recall now, that made me worry. Other than that: stud.

    Also, Sidney WHO?!

  • Graham Dumas

    I didn’t catch what happened, but seemed like it was in the offensive zone, no?

  • Matt Root

    Sergei in that montage for Ovi was just awesome to see. 1a and 1b of my personal favorite players of all time. Perfect way to *puts on sunglasses* … Cap… a night.

  • JenniferH

    It was beautiful. Like they won the game right there! LOVED IT!

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

    is pure sex awful at the beginning for you too?

  • Michael Reschly

    I always knew there was a reason I preferred RMNB recaps to WaPo/CSNW/etc recaps, but never knew how to put that reason into words. Until that sentence.

  • yv

    -Holtby was like, “Sick of you, Mike,” and he peaced out-

    Just killing phrase!)))

  • Roman Z.

    Sick game bruh bruh lol! It there ever was a Russian night, it’d definitely be tonight. Can’t hate on that Kucherov goal in SO, Barkov pulled the same move in Florida a couple of mins after him

  • Roman Z.

    I noticed!

  • Dave

    I also noticed Orlov’s good OT shift.

  • Roman Z.

    I kinda feel bad for Green, my best memories of him were his numerous OT wins last season, but that was last season …

  • Jay Prots

    THINGS HAPPENED TONIGHT

  • Shawn Murphy

    “observational Capitals defense”
    oh man that is completely HILARIOUS to me for some reason

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

    Meanwhile, on your DVR…

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    the VS fashion show? the young prospects are enjoying this

  • Shawn Murphy

    sometimes the Holtbeast just gots to hibernate you know

  • Shawn Murphy

    Washington Nightcaps?!

  • Alex

    The shortest mile there ever was, it seems…

  • Alex

    They put that video together pretty damn quick, didn’t they?

  • Michael Reschly

    My grocery store likes to play Bailamos on their PA system. It’s awesome in ways they don’t understand.

  • CapsCast

    Green almost has to be banged up. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me in regard to how poorly he played. Also, booing him at the Verizon Center was just wrong. He was dreadful tonight, but some fans seem to have very short memories.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    He’s far from banged up. Threw a good 4-6 solid body checks in that third period and played with a snarl that I hadn’t seen since under Dale Hunter. Just for a period though, and that in itself was probably a result of humility.

    By all means, I hope they trade the guy and I have been saying this for years, but he’s not banged up. It’s all about will and aggression. He’ll go back to old bad tactics the next game I’m sure.

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

    So true… Only nicky can have a 5 point night….. QUIETLY!!!!! How did Orlov do? I only got to see the highlights :(

  • CapsCast

    I don’t know. The only other possibility is that he has seriously regressed, but I hope he’s playing through something. Trading him at this point would be almost impossible with a $6 million-and-change cap hit. Whatever the reason, he’s had a rough season and an absolutely terrible 1st period.

  • CapsCast

    Orlov did alright. He had one lapse and was at least partly to blame for one goal against. He also had a couple really nice plays. At this point, I’d take him over Urbom or Erskine on the left side.

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

    Thank you!

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

    I sang his praises in the snapshot on Sunday. He’ll be fine. Just a bad night. I hope he sleeps it off and kicks some ass vs FLA.

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

    yeah, maybe nearer to center ice, near-side. I didn’t get a good look either.

  • mnew2382

    YEEAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!!

  • Jack Conness

    Agreed! I thought DIMA had a awesome game tonight…minus a turnover here and there. I thought be played great.

  • Ash

    Dude, that vid was filmed in advance. He and Ovi have been on the same team together for a long time, and yes, Green has set him up for some mighty nice goals. A little gentle ribbing, even on a night where Mike Green was awful, is nothing to boo at.

    Honestly, I was really disappointed by that– I don’t like booing in general, though I can understand why it happens, but booing a guy on a vid while he’s congratulating a teammate for an awesome thing? I didn’t think that was cool at all. It takes away from Ovi’s moment, and I’m sure Green would be upset about that as well.

  • Owen Johnson

    That may have been the most exciting hockey game I’ve ever seen. I was really hoping Greenie would cash in the game winner. That would make for one hell of a narrative.
    Also, when is HoltBEAST going to make a return? Definately not his fault we were down 3-0 but normally I expect him to make at least one of those saves.

  • johnnymorte

    This is a bunch of pathetic fairweather fans booing Green. Stop bein’ a hater and show some solidarity for your team. What, you’ve never been in the doghouse before? This is is our game over Green we’re talking about here, not some fly-by-night rental AHL bullshit. Whose gonna take his place? Tyson Strachan!? Wey?! Carrick? You people are f’ed up.

  • Brendan Maltese

    BEST))))))))))))

  • Graham Dumas

    I’m not saying I support the booing–just that I understand why sme fans would do that.

  • Graham Dumas

    I liked his physical play after the first. He seemed pissed at himself and like he was trying to make up for it. I also really hope he snaps out of it, both because of the player he was, and because the Caps’ fortunes are very much tied to his.

  • CT

    Only if it involves copious amounts of bourbon. iwalkedrightntothisthanksforthebestreplypossible

  • Jack Conness

    I noticed! I also thought he played a very solid game minus a few turnovers.

  • Jack Conness

    Very true. It looked like Green was on a mission to knock someone’s head off after the first. I liked his physicality.

  • Jack Conness

    I thought he played very well minus a couple of turnovers. He looked super quick out there and had some nice passes.

  • cmdonohue

    Oh, Sergei Fedorov was so menacing when he said, “Hello, Alexander.”

  • Jonah

    I will start out by saying this was one of the most exciting regular season games that I remember.
    Now for what I really have to say
    This game worries me immensely. There is no way the caps can play like this in the playoffs. If they let up 3 goals in the first, the game is over. The pens bruins raggers, kings, Blackhawks, red wings, or sharks will never let their foot off the gas. The penalty was a lucky-ish break that a smart team won’t commit in a playoff series. Ovi will never get room to be pp Ovi against a structured defensive team and if the caps completely exclude the fourth line like they did last night they everyone else will be dead by (if) the time they advance anywhere deep in the chase for Stanley’s cup. This game felt like cardiac caps all over again eating up a lesser opponent after a disappointing (borderline horrendous) defensive night by green. These are the type of games these are fun and good money for Ted and gmgm but they don’t bode well for the caps when April comes along.

  • Ash

    I suppose so, but I still think it’s stupid. Because, well, Mike Green and Nicky HAVE been a big part of setting Ovi up, both in the past and even last night when Green was so off. People booed a joke between friends that isn’t even that off the mark, because one guy had a really awful night– or, well, one really awful period– on the ice, something that happens to a lot of players at certain points in their careers.

    Boo Green on the ice a bit if you must to let him know all the penalties are WTF. But booing the man on a video when he’s congratulating a teammate and friend for a milestone is, well, Philly-esque :)

  • Myan

    That’s a lot of lines.

  • Myan

    I thought he played incredibly well. He was poised and patient which is always great to see from an up and coming guy. I thought he made great decisions at our own blue line, behind the net, and he made really smart outlet passes. I remember one time he just absolutely turned one the forecheckers inside out right behind Grubi and then made a really great pass for the breakout.

    I don’t really recall any atrocious turnovers from the game and I don’t think he could be blamed for their doorstep tap-in goal. Grubi made a good save, they got a really lucky bounce and it was just sitting there waiting to be tapped in. Perhaps Dima could have done more to box the eventual goalscorer out instead of trying to defend front of net but I’m sure that’s something that he’ll realize with experience.

  • Rhino40

    Another positively perfect, powerfully polished princely and prescient Peter post.

  • Rhino40

    ahhhrrrr!

  • Rhino40

    Ovi is the awesomest awesome ever to awesomely awesome an awesome…with awesome awesomeness. SCOAR FOAR GOALS!!!! “Washed-up”? I don’t think so. SUCK IT, MILBURY!!!!

  • Michael Reschly

    On the eve of The Desolation of Smaug, I realized why I like that line so much:v it’s a shorter version of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXGUNvIFTQw&feature=youtube_gdata_player