Russian Rally! Caps beat Flyers 5-4 (SO)

Patrick McDermott

A photo of the entire Capitals offense by Patrick McDermott.

The Capitals banged up the Philadelphia Flyers last time they met, but for a while this sleepy Sunday matinee rematch between looked like it would go another way. From the very first faceoff, the Flyers had control but then, in the third period, Green started a raucous rally and a couple of Russians kept it going. Epic.

On a first period power play, Alex Ovechkin put a lovely pass to Marcus Johansson to put the Caps up 1-0 (UPDATE: Ovechkin has been credited with this goal. A two-goal game. UPDATE UPDATE: The NHL has reversed the reversal). ROFL hit up Claude Giroux from behind the net to tie the game before the first intermission.

The game got away from the Caps in the second. Mark Streit made it 2-1 Flyers after an unwise stretch pass from Carlzner to the top line found an orange sweater.

Sean Couturier got an impossible shot past Philipp Grubauer to make it 3-1 early in the third, and then Voracek deflected what looked like the dagger goal just 80 seconds later.  Mike Green’s wrister found the back of the net with 8 minutes left, and then Dmitry Orlov scoarlov’d a one-timer after the faceoff.

I thought it was over, but then Alex Ovechkin- OF COURSE– scored during 6-on-5. That guy. I love him, but now I’ve gotta rewrite my recap. Overtime yielded no decision, so son of a– here they come…

Shootout bullets!

  • Fehr’s shot was stopped but then trickled in
  • Grubi didn’t bite on Read’s fake
  • Ovi blocked down the middle
  • Girioux stopped it and swept it in with ease
  • Backstrom ripped it blocker side
  • Couturier blocked CAPS WIN

Caps beat Flyers 5-4 (Shootout).

  • The Caps lineup was full of surprises on Sunday, so let’s start with those. Philipp Grubauer got the start instead of ace Braden Holtby. It did not go well, and I think that’ll be it for Grubi for awhile. Some speculated that Holtby was sick, but I knew better. Grubi has “the hot hand” (an awful myth), and the Flyers– ranked 22nd in shots– probably sounded like good matchup for an AHL goalie about to head back to Hershey. Plus, Adam Oates’s lineup decisions are just inscrutable. For example…
  • With Mikhail Grabovski ill, Adam Oates selected Jay Beagle to center the second line. So Beagle is 2C and Martin Erat is 3C. There are two ways to think about this. I) Adam Oates incorrectly believes Beagle is a better center and better fit for the second line than Erat. II) Oates would rather keep his quite-good 3rd line unmolested than have three completely new lines. While I think the Caps are not very good at evaluating talent for their lineup, I choose to believe reason II. Regardless, you ask everyone worth their hockey salt for one way to improve the Caps lineup on Sunday and you’ll hear a Gregorian chant telling you to swap Beagle and Erat. That’s not to say the Beagle line was bad– they weren’t.
  • John Erskine in. Nate Schmidt out. That Orlov dodged the bullet this time means something, but I’m exhausted from trying to guess what Oates is thinking in the last two bullets. I’m not reading too deeply into Schmidt’s exit; he’s made Green a better D-man and I bet he’ll be back.
  • Erskine, who is healthy, was on the ice for two Flyers goals in under 13 minutes of ice time. He allowed the Flyers twice as many shot attempts (10) as his team put up (5).
  • SCOARLOV.
  • Personally, I was titillated by Alex Ovechkin‘s assist in the first period. Instead of an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot, Alex instead offered a deft pass to the slot, picked up by– well, someone– to score. I think the goal will stand with Marcus Johansson, but I also thought Spider-Man 3 would be good so what do I know.
  • The Caps never really had the advantage in this one. The Flyers got the better of them from the first puck drop– winning on shot quality, possession, PunchCorsi, pretty much everything except special teams (the Caps PK was great). Until those final 8 minutes, this looked to be a huge letdown game of Shanahanian proportions. Oh, ME of little faith. I doubted Ovi.
  • Seriously, Alex Ovechkin is still scoring crucial goals. It never gets old. He certainly doesn’t look bored with it. The aplomb is the bomb. His specialty act is the most special specialty act.
  • The second line with Beagle instead of Grabo was pretty darn good, although Troy Brouwer is still snakebit. That suggests that Fehr ain’t just riding the coattails of Grabovski. I’m even more enthusiastic about that line once Mikhail takes his Tamiflu.
  • This game had fights. I’m not gonna write about ‘em because they don’t matter. I am gonna write about Spider-Man 3 though, because I’m a complicated dude.
  • Michael Raffl had 3 assists, so I at least have to say his name correctly instead of just ROFL. Well played.
  • As first reported by JP of Japers Rink, Nick Backstrom had a point in 9 consecutive Caps goals until the Orlov bomb late in the game. That is both sick and unbelievable.
  • Michael Latta suffered a lower-body injury and did not finish the game.
  • I hate the shootout.
Joe B suit of the afternoon

Joe B suit of the afternoon

I have rewritten this part of the recap three times now.

The Caps salvaged a very bad game. I had this whole spiel about learning lessons from defeat, but then the Capitals won– despite pretty much everyone getting smoked for 52 minutes. Carlzner got smoked. The top line got smoked. If Tom Wilson got more than 7 minutes of ice, he’d have gotten smoked. It was a smoke show. I don’t know what “smoke show” means.

But then Green stuck it to the haters, and Orlov continued to make his case.

And then Alex Ovechkin, who might as well get the Hart Trophy tattooed on his forehead, did the Captain thing. The specialty act had a goal and an assist. (UPDATE: Nope. Two goals. Alex Ovechkin is amazing. UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: The people responsible for the previous update have been sacked.)

It’s like games against the Flyers are constitutionally incapable of being boring. When we thought all DC sports sucked– around 5:10– Alex Ovechkin must’ve taken a double whiff of smelling salts.

We need some more regularity, some normality, from the next Caps game. Let’s hope they play a boring team on Tuesday. Let’s check the schedule.

next-game

Dammit.

Welp. Okay, Xanax and chamomile it is.

  • dylan wheatley

    hart contenders right now are crosby ovi and NICKY

  • Jack Conness

    What a comeback! I absolutely love Orlov’s presence out there. He is kicking some ass! And boy oh boy, I love Alex Ovechkin. Another awesome game with some BIG TIME hits and that SWEET pass to MoJo and of course that beautiful wrister to tie the game! Awesome comeback and a much needed two points. Go Caps!

  • Marky Narc

    This is totes TMI, but I’m starting to get a bit of a Gruboner. Hopefully it won’t last more than four hours….

  • Red

    Blood pressure-raising, heart attack-inducing, frustratingly amazing, Comeback Caps. There is no substitute.

  • Benjamin Esham

    Peter can you please make the use of “titillated” and ongoing thing?

  • Matt Lauer

    Oh you betcha.

  • Red

    2013 Caps: More shootouts than Chuck Norris in a John Woo movie. Fun for everyone!

  • yv

    Someone, please, remind me again why Orlov was not good to play for Caps?!

  • Dave

    At 6:13 left in the 3rd, during a stoppage in play, you could clearly see Rinaldo talking trash to Wilson from the Flyer’s bench, and enough to get Wilson to turn around. My lip reading has him calling Wilson something that rhymes with “itch.” Interesting decision, considering Rinaldo gives 40lbs and 5″ to Wily.

  • Graham Dumas

    Hmmm, not sure about Green sticking it to the haters. I think the haters have more of an issue with his defensive play than his O. Plus, and I am probably wrong, but it did seem to me like he misplayed the puck on one of those Flyers goals–perhaps the ridiculo, negative-angle shot?

  • Spencer Z

    Ovi was given the first goal currently

  • Benjamin Esham

    dude, jesus christ hahahahahahahahahahaha

  • JenniferH

    Ovi great, Orlov great, Backsi great, miss Grabo, miss Holts. Happy for win, but want full 60 minutes of good play. Titillated by recap. :Nods:

  • prut

    Not sure if “Mike Green’s writers” should be “wrister” or I am missing something

  • Chris Cerullo

    Props to Grubauer for keeping us in this game. He’s been great. Ovechkin just another day at work lol. Orlov making Oates look stupid.

  • SuperSlav

    From the writing standpoint, this article should get a writing HEART TROPHY. I just watched the game, and still read the piece like I haven’t watched the damn thing. Keep up the sarcasm. LOVE IT. NHL.com writers should start looking into pieces like that to get an idea of how creative hockey writing can actually be.

  • Roman Z.

    Here’s a condensed and historically accurate recap of the game:

    – I am OvechKING and I save your asses one more time in the dying minutes of the game

    - I am chieftain Grubi from the Germanic tribes of the north and I won that game for you with my superhuman elasticity, without any defence and allowing only one crappy goal.

    - I am Mojo, a tiny Norse and even though I’m struggling this season, I still scored a beauty.

    - I am Nicky, a mighty Swede and I always bring it.

    – I am Oleksy, I fight.

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

    Mike Green’s writers are Proust and Beckett

    (fixed)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Sheesh, I thought with no Grabovski and no Holtby this game was going to be a disaster. I was right… and then I was happily wrong.

  • OlietheGoalie

    My heart can’t handle all these SOs.

  • Casper

    Great game. Ovi does it again and Orlov just looks better and better. Speaking of Orlov, did anyone else know that if he doesn’t get 30 days of NHL service by January 1st 2014, he can leave and go to the KHL? Interestingly, his first game was November 30th…

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    what a cute puppy baby.

  • yv

    1st goal is back to Majo. So Ovi with 27.

  • Brackaphobia

    Mojo’s goal is Ovechkin’s goal. Aaaand now it’s Mojo’s again.

    They should just give it to Brouwer.

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

    the very example of a comeback

  • Spencer Z

    I’m confused nhl.com still lists it as ovi’s

  • Gersh21

    Second time in five days Ovi ties it in the final minute. And Nicky did the same two weeks ago against the Isles (with Ovi scoring the OTGWG). Guy is in another universe right now.

  • Bob

    whatever we gotta do to make Dima happy and make him want to stay here, we have to do it

  • Joe in SS

    If you score a goal, and hand a goal to the other team in the same game, did you have a good game?

  • Jack Conness

    Must. Keep. Dima.

  • Boris Mewborn

    I’m liking the Monty Python reference, “The people responsible for the previous update have been sacked.” Classic.

  • OVECHKING

    Mike green was better than last game… instead of being a net negative, he was even tonight… allowed a goal and scored a goal. Maybe next game he’ll help produce two

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

    He had gone 60 some shots before his first goal. His offense was absolutely doubted. And no, I don’t hold that goal against him. It was one shot, a fluke, very low % shot that happened to go in. Using goals for/against is a much lower-resolution way of measuring players– which is why we do shots instead.

    Green is good.

  • Bob

    Im thinking Leonsis can import some russian models to stay at dimas place, that might do the trick

  • JJ

    Why are you so anti-fighting? Sorry you weren’t in to it, but the crowd certainly was.

  • Graham Dumas

    Yeah, I hope so. But sample size, and all that. We’ve had a lot of bad numbers from 52; not much good.

    Also, sure, the negative angle goal wasn’t his fault. And to be honest, I thought he played pretty solid tonight. Perhaps everyone’ sustained a tad peeved at him still, and looking for errors.

  • Catherine__M

    I can’t answer for Peter or RMNB, but “the crowd is into it” is not really the best argument in the pro category in the fighting debate. There *are* valid pro arguments, many of which are fairly convincing (but which still, in my opinion, still don’t justify it).

    Crowds are the definition of a mob mentality. Not the best way to get a nuanced opinion into a complex matter.

    I personally feel very, very uncomfortable watching people (or animals for that matter) fight for my entertainment. This is the reason I don’t watch boxing, wrestling, MMA or dog fights. We are not in ancient Rome and professional hockey players are not gladiators and I’d like to think that our society is not as bloodthirsty as theirs was (but I’m pretty sure we’re worse).

    Whether or not fighting as it exists in the NHL serves a purpose other than entertainment is a different matter. There are many interesting and nuanced pieces to those arguments, and the underlying points do need to be addressed. But the fact that it is *served up as entertainment* by people such as yourself, and by the in-game entertainment folks (playing the Mortal Kombat theme when a fight breaks out is doing just that), is pretty gross to me, and I think to others as well. I continue to watch NHL hockey because I like *hockey* and I see the fighting that occurs in the NHL as something outside the game.

  • Gringo Hank

    Mojo is also swedish

  • Roman Z.

    Have I stated otherwise?

  • Gringo Hank

    - I am Mojo, a tiny Norse

    Well, maybe not. I read it like he was from norway :)

  • Roman Z.

    :)

  • dylan wheatley

    fighting doesn’t have anything to do with hockey.

  • dylan wheatley

    yours is an australopithecan analysis metric

  • Matt

    where did you see the goal switched back? nhl still lists ovi on the ppg

  • Jack Conness

    He better do something. The kid is a STUD.

  • Myan

    Can somebody gif Orlov’s goal?? please please please

  • katzistan

    The comebacks are dramatic and exciting and all that, but this team is reminding me a lot of the one that took a nosedive to get Bruce fired. Underlying quality of pay is terrible. They’re getting lucky winning all the shootouts, but it’s not sustainable and hides serious issues, delaying real changes. Anyway, enjoying this while it lasts bit expecting a crash soon. Or maybe I’m just a Caps fan…

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

    jeez, I ask for something and RMNB comes through in 10 minutes! THE SERVICE!!

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

    Yes, I was not working on this story for two hours after the game. I did it all for you in 10 mins!!! :D

  • Chip

    “SCOARLOV”….god I can’t wait to use that in the future (well, if Oates doesn’t randomly send him away)! Well done RMNB!

  • Martin O’Connor

    the NHL page has Ovi with a 2 goal night. Looks like goal is his.

  • GuestZ

    Anyone else notice Brouwer try to hand the game over (again) at the redline in OT?

    And it looks like Erskine might’ve learned to skate finally (I only watched the first 30 before fast forwarding the DVR due to anger with the play…)

  • Super43

    No one seems to care when John Carlson coughs up the puck in our own zone, but god forbid Green does it….

  • serpent

    You mean up 15.

  • Robert

    Is there a method for measuring the severity of a defensive error? Some defensive mistakes are definitely more costly than others, and I’m wondering if there’s any way to factor that into the stats?

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

    Great question. No, I guess is the answer. In fact, I’d be the cost of those defensive errors would eventually be outshone by random variance of the opponent’s shooting percentage over time.

    In my opinion, the best thing to do is to look back on the severity of those mistakes adjectivally, but not use pretend to use those mistakes as a predictor of future progress. I tried to do that with John Erskine in week 2. http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2013/10/11/john-erskine-even-strength-albatross/

  • Rhino40

    Dammit! Beat me to it!

  • Rhino40

    If it does, see your doctor immediately…