400 for Alex Ovechkin! Caps beat Canes 4-2!

Volpatti black eye 0 Grant Halverson

Photo: Grant Halverson

I’m just glad we had a game to watch tonight. Going two days without a game in Capsland is like Lord of the Flies in fast forward; it gets ugly quick. We had a little bit of a mutiny last night, so I for one am grateful for a distraction. The distraction on this weirdly warm Friday night was the Carolina Hurricanes and their Staal brothers, for whom many bothans died to provide access codes past the Capitals defense. Putting Philipp Grubauer through his paces, the Canes outplayed the Caps but were unprepared for the Caps’ Jeet Kune Do on special teams.

Jordan Staal scored in the first period, finally converting after 17 or 18 semi-breakaways. The Capitals returned fire on a powerplay early in the the second when Marcus Johansson got all up in the net’s piece. John Carlson put the Caps up with a bullet on another PP, but Riley Nash tied it up with a rebound from the crease– again on the powerplay. And then, because all must goals must come during special teams, Troy Brouwer deflected in the go-ahead goal for the Caps while Sasha Semin was in the Sasha box.

And then Alex Ovechkin scored his 400th career goal on the empty net!

 Caps beat Canes 4-2!

  • The Capitals were bleeding scoring chances in the first, forcing Philipp Grubauer to make some athletic saves. Going full split or diving to stop all those breakaways (breaksaway?)– well, it’s like blocking a shot: you like that it’s done, but you don’t like that he had to do it. Reminded me of Varlamov, both in that it was athletic/impressive and that it was indicative of lots of defensive breakdowns. Anyway, I figure Grubi isn’t long for the NHL, but having confidence in the third-string goalie probably opens up a lot of options for management.
  • Underlining the Capitals’ reliance on The Dude for offense, this would have been just Alex Ovechkin‘s first two-assist game of the season until the league took his second apple away. He doesn’t mind. He got his 400th goal tonight, joining quite early in his career the company of the league’s best-ever goal scorers — and he has done it in an era when goals are much harder to come by.
  • Alex Semin was like, “remember me, y’all?” and then he tripped Mike Green. The Caps scored while he was in the box. Jon Bon Jovi was right: You can go home again.
  • Nick Backstrom got an assist on all three of those second-period powerplay goals. Nick Backstrom is The Applecart. Begin drafting t-shirts and signs now.
  • We have obtained exclusive video of the fight that did not occur between John Erskine and Tim Gleason:

  • Speaking of John Erskine, I thought my TV was going in slow motion every time I saw him skating.
  • Goal-scorer Marcus Johansson took his last shift at 15:29 of the second period. Caps PR have announced he has suffered a lower-body injury. After professing my newfound love for the Swede, I’m besadded to see him hurt.
  • “Besadded.” I’m having the rough times with the words and the words in sentences.
  • The Capitals’ penalties were all committed by their PK stalwarts: Alzner, Alzner (again), Backstrom, Carlson, Brouwer, and Erskine. Haha, just kidding with that last one. The Caps were almost perfect on the kill, so all things considered, not bad!
  • Best Joe B call of the night is when he just said, “Faulk.” Faulk!
Joe B suit of the night: sucking on lemons!

Joe B suit of the night: sucking on lemons!

The Caps won and we are happy. Ovechkin looked like he wouldn’t score goal #400 and we are sad. And then he did score #400 and we are happy. And then lots of penalties and we are sad. But then Nick Backstrom got three FOAR assists and I called them “apples” and we are happy. Marcus Johansson got hurt and we are sad.

Even in a relatively quiet game, the Caps never make it easy.

They got genuinely outplayed in this one from the opening tip-off, through halftime, past the two-minute warning, and all the way to the ninth inning. The glut of Caps penalties, I guess, shouldn’t be surprising considering how little the Caps had the puck.

Whatever. It’s a W and Alex Ovechkin has added another career achievement to his list. We’re watching one of the all-time greats, and we should remind ourselves of that every time we’re feeling a bit grumpy about our Capitals. I’m feeling grumpy right now, so, okay now I feel better!

Crash the net and have a great Friday. Winter is coming. Like tomorrow. Also coming is Jaromir Jagr and the New Jersey Devils. See you back here.

  • dylan wheatley

    nicky hart season

  • Jack Conness

    I don’t care what anyone says anymore. If Holtby is the starting goalie, Gruby is definitely 1A. What a spectacular night for him! He was the star of the night and won the game for the Caps. He looks so smooth out there. Ride him while he is hot. He looks great and I want to continue to see him in net.

    Speaking of smooth, how about Nicklas Backstrom and Dmitry Orlov? Backstrom might be the most underrated player in the game right now and arguably the best two-way forward. He is absolutely awesome and he means so much to the Caps. And Dmitry Orlov looked SILKY SMOOTH tonight. Anyone else catch that toe drag of his in the 1st period?! I hope you guys can get a GIF of that! He played real well once again and looked great at the end of the game on the 6 on 5.

    And hats off to the best player in the game today, Alex Ovechkin on his #400 goal. Lead us to a Stanley Cup this year my man. You deserve it.

  • Andrew Walker

    I saw your signs!

  • abrlcklnthewall

    I thought I heard the opposite of Winter was coming tomorrow. Isn’t it supposed to be like 70 here in the Nation’s Capital?

  • Owen Johnson

    Honestly, I’m just happy we won a close game IN REGULATION!

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

    pics or it didn’t happen

  • JenniferH

    RE: Ovi’s 400th — I’m not crying, it’s just raining on my face.

    Great Star Wars reference. Great recap. (A few typos in the 5th to the last paragraph (woudln’t and ‘said’ instead of ‘sad’ and ‘the’ instead of ‘they’ in the 3rd to last paragraph.)

    I was so happy seeing a regulation win and how even if we didn’t have the puck as much, we kept fighting (not as in physical fighting, but fighting to play). We were there in heart and spirit, I never felt like anyone wasn’t giving their all. I was enjoying watching the game.

    I miss Holtby, I always miss Holts when he’s not in net and I think it’s ridiculous that anyone think he’s having a bad stretch when it was one lousy game preceded by some time off and some Greenie shenanigans but I think that Gruby is fabulous and I’m glad we have him. (I still prefer him over Neuvy personally.)

    OVI GOT 400!!! WHEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (OK, I didn’t actually cry, just slightly teared up a bit, I’m not *that* much of a girl.)

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

    CALENDAR winter is coming tomorrow, but yeah I’m gonna go for a nice jog in the morning.

  • yv

    corr. Nicky 4 assist. Thats a night for him also, along with Grubi and Ovi!

  • Owen Johnson

    Holtby has had a couple bad games. But I agree with you. Plus I do have a mad man-crush on him.

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    The erskine and Gleason fight that did not happen bullet made me “lol”, quite literally infact.

  • Lewis

    I don’t get the mutiny reference …

  • JenniferH

    Recently just the one. The last one was lousy, he didn’t play before that for ten games, then he had the one with the three goals let in in short stretch, but those were tough goals that came because of the forever stretch of PK-ing thanks to Green. They weren’t soft goals. two would have taken miracle saves and the 3rd was a really tough one. Other than that, Holts has played strong games.

    I understand having a crush on him. I admit freely that part of why I’m a fan is the crush-factor. Yup. :)

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

    Heh. Read the comments on our Wilson post last night!

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

    leads the league in apples

  • Fedor

    Third in grapes and apples combined.

  • Andrew Walker

    My (slight) mistake. It was reader Sam B’s sign that was mentioned in the earlier post. But it was still awesome to read about it five minutes before seeing it on national television. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bb-dSbiIgAA1sF9.jpg
    (From Ian’s twitter)

  • Owen Johnson

    From Ian’s Twitter.

  • Roman Z.

    Grubauer in net, Caps win! Let the downvotes begin …

  • Andrew Walker

    Why would I downvote? Both of those statements are true! Oh, or did you mean a causal relationship? Might I suggest an equals sign in that case? You can also use the cheekily-philosophical therefore-sign (∴), but that requires unicode…

  • Topher Gee

    they were close

  • Adam Fink

    Do people not like Grubauer?? I really liked him in Hershey and love seeing him playing well in Washington

  • Dark Stranger

    Tonight, Grubi was amazing! One could say he stole the game. But so did the fact that the Caps’ PP was much better than the Canes’ tonight.

  • Topher Gee

    I don’t know why it’s sideways… hooray beer!

  • Andrew Walker

    I don’t get the hate at all. I saw his first appearance live and his first start (in which, okay, yes he could have done a lot better), but I thought he had promise and looked like a solid backup. Call me crazy, but maybe it’s time to trade Neuvy away and give him the chance at being the franchise starting goalie he deserves to be.

  • Roman Z.

    No you got the meaning right. It’s just that I commented a couple of days ago how Grubi should be promoted to #1 seeing how he’s wining most of the games where he starts. But clearly some people on this blog are against watching their team win and would rather see Holtby start even though he hasnt been in his best shape as of late.

  • Dark Stranger

    I hope Holtby can regain his form soon. (He probably will.) There have been rumors that he could be nursing an injury of some sort. Bet he’ll be back in goal tomorrow since putting Gru in a back to back would be a recipe for burnout.

    Congrats to Ovi. (I will admit I still miss Sasha and hope he regains his form again — at least when not against the Caps.)

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

    Who’s hating on him?

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

    Small sample size

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

    I <3 Fedor

  • Andrew Walker

    Not gonna lie, I kind of wanted to see that one, especially after he got all douchey behind the net on…Fehr, was it?

  • Roman Z.

    Agree, but should it be dismissed?

  • Andrew Walker

    Until the sample size is larger, I’d say stroke your beard and thoughtfully puff on a pipe over it, but that’s about it.

  • Owen Johnson

    Grubi has been great lately, but he has a REALLY small sample size. In order to really unseat Holtby, he has to do this all season long with Holtby playing subpar the rest of the season IMHO.

  • Lawrence

    Wait, did we really win in regulation? o.0 What is this? Btw, for all the empty net hate that Ovi will get, its his 3rd empty net in his last 100 goals #LATA

  • Roman Z.

    If I could only grow one haha

  • Roman Z.

    I guess he’s on the right track. Hopefully Oates doesn’t have any of his crazy ideas down the line.

  • Dark Stranger

    Da! So now folks can shut up about Ovi’s empty netters! But there’s one thing for sure about empty net goals: they are what’s called “insurance goals” and generally take place in a close game.

  • Bob

    Patiently waiting for Nicky B applecart T-shirts…..

  • Lawrence

    It’s funny some of the stuff you read, people will go to all lengths to discredit Ovi.

  • Owen Johnson

    Watching CHI-VAN. How creepy are the Sedin twins? Couldn’t they at least have different facial hair?

  • Dave

    Wow. I missed that conversation last night… HOW DARE SOMEONE EXPRESS HIS OPINION ON HIS OWN BLOG!!!!!!!1!!!!1!

  • Owen Johnson

    I haven’t heard any dislike directed at Grubi.

  • bskillet

    Awesome job tonight, Grubauer……whew. Ovi acts like he may be getting whatever Grabo had? hope not.

  • NameyName

    Forget apple cart, Backstrom is #thebank. He has like 4 points every night and is a stone cold shootout assassin.

  • X

    It’d be nice to see oates roll with this exact lineup for a good while. At least 10 games. Excluding grubauer that is, I’d like to see Holtby resume his starting role and get neuvirth some games too.

  • GuestZ

    Excited for the win, and Ovi’s accomplishment. But the biggest bullet point for this game as a whole was the defensive breakdowns. Win or not, we play like this without our netminder on point like Grubi was and they would’ve been up 5 or 6 before MoJo got his tally. I hope the coach’s tear them a new one before tomorrow’s game, cause that ish can’t keep happening.

  • Fedor

    You shadow Ovi, you get scored three times on four powerplay opportunities. Looks fair. That’s what you get for not respecting the rest of the team.

  • Fedor

    Talking about Orlov, him and Green were the D pairing in the key moment of the game late. Not 27-74.

  • RL

    For all of the Semin jokes, Eric Staal really did the Canes a disservice last night with his penalties. Seems like “Sasha Minor”‘s lost the nickname; he had 14 PIMs last season to Staal’s 54, and from what I’ve seen of the Canes, Staal’s tend to be dumb ones. Way to (not) lead.

  • William

    I am stopping for a moment to say that your comments are my favourite to read! you however, have an odd crush on a certain netminder:0

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    i heart nicky

  • JenniferH

    Well, thank you. I appreciate that. :)

    And trust me, as a female, there is nothing odd at all about my crush. He’s quite attractive.

  • Jack Conness

    Didn’t I say that?

  • Fedor

    Nevermind.