Look how tiny Jagr looks. (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
I hate the way the Devils play. They stifle offense (i.e. fun, Capitals-style hockey) and execute the trap as if it’s not something to be ashamed of. Luckily, they did it poorly on Saturday night. What I expected to be a low-scoaring affair ended up being a crash-the-net party with a whole lot going on. The Caps exploded in the second period, but the Devils rallied in the third and won it in overtime.
For the Devils’ first shot, Marek Zidlicky got a dart past Braden Holtby on the power play. The Caps struck back with three goals in the second period, starting with Jason Chimera whacking in his own rebound from right under Brodeur’s nose. Mikhail Grabovski caught Eric Fehr’s pass right in the paint and knocked it in to give the Caps the lead, and Joel Ward crashed the net to make it 3-1 going into the third.
Jagr scored in the third period. I don’t want to talk about it. Alex Ovechkin was in the penalty box for that one, but he redeemed himself with an even-strength goal from the slot a few minutes later. The Devils rallied late: Zidlicky got his second of the night with a wide open one-timer, and Dainus Zubrus tied it with eight minutes left. That’s the way it stood at the end of regulation.
Game Over Andy Greene got a lucky bounce in overtime to win it for Jersey and save us all from the shootout.
Devils beat Caps 5-4 (OT).
“After all this time?” “Always.”
- Alex Ovechkin has cracked 30 goals in just his 34th game of the year. All of your “400” signs are now out of date.
- In a disaster shift, Tom Wilson took a puck to the face, and then skated that same face directly into Travis Zajac‘s elbow. Wilson retreated to the locker room to get looked at, but he came right back. Since Tom is okay, the sequence is more of comedy of errors than anything scary. Poor guy. And no, I really don’t think Zajac did anything naughty there.
- Defensive play of the game? That’d have to be John Carlson sweeping away a loose puck before the Devils tapped it in. Not-defensive play of the game? John Erskine opting to hit a dude instead of keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Mike Green clearing Adam Henrique‘s shooting lane in the third is up there too.
- Martin Erat is running on a three-game assist streak– with two apples tonight alone. He’s still without a goal this year, but his excellent play just underscores what everyone is thinking: Trade the bum!
- That second period featured three Caps goals, all at even strength. After struggling at 5v5 all year and stealing the win on Friday on the power play, it’s great to see some variety in the Caps arsenal. They were all high-quality goals if you ask me. Jason Chimera whacking away from the paint, Grabo waiting for a saucy pass in the paint, and Wardo crashing the paint on the rush. Detecting a pattern?
- Fun side stories tonight: Fans with Ovi signs, the Caps made a video for the 400th goal, Kurt Busch was at the game and didn’t fight anyone. Less fun side stories: Michael Phelps was there.
- Caps #1 goalie Braden Holtby was solid in his return– at least during five-on-five (.935 Sv%). The Devils struck twice on the power play, which isn’t so damning for Braden’s numbers. I expect to his play even out in coming weeks.
Well, that was unfortunate.
The Caps got a point, but they should have had two. Getting goals against the Devils ain’t easy, and the Caps should be glad they got four. But they didn’t give those goals the respect they deserved, and they allowed the Devs to sneak back into it. This one shouldn’t have been a loss. It should not have gone to overtime at all.
All those lovely even-strength goals for naught. Or, I guess, all those lovely even-strength for a stupid loser point.
That’s a bummer, but the individual efforts we saw here shouldn’t be discounted. Real solid scoring work by all the forwards. Hopefully the Caps can build on that next week.