Perreault and Beagle (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
I feel sorry for all the johnny-come-lately fans who never knew Bruce Boudreau’s Caps. You know who I’m talking about: all those fake fans who started following the Caps just because of the undeniable electricity of Hunter hockey. Those trendy, fairweather fans who only bought their first Caps shirsey because they saw Ovi pile on an inconceivable 38 goals back in 2011-2012. All they ever knew of the Caps was the unlimited delight of low puck possession and the benching of fan-hated Mike Knuble.
Okay, starting over.
If you were to make a list of things that turned this franchise around in the last decade, you’d see Bruce Boudreau’s name somewhere right underneath Alex Ovechkin and the return to the red uniforms. Now Boudreau is with the Ducks and positively killing it in the Western Conference. Boose brought his league-leading team to Verizon Center for his first game since getting fired more than two years ago. The crowd and the team seemed to appreciate the emotional dimension, and we fans got a decent, if uneven, game out of it.
Mikhail Grabovski got the Caps on the board first by tapping in a pass from Troy Brouwer (and helped along by Ben Lovejoy). Nicky Backstrom converted a power play four minutes later with a sneaky shot to Jonas Hiller’s shoulder. Andrew Cogliano got the Ducks into the game by sweeping up the shards of a broken Caps defense.
The second period was polluted by penalties, and Saiku Koivu tied it with a bang-bang in the waning seconds. Hampus Lindholm got a puck through a crowded shooting lane and well-screened Philipp Grubauer to put the Ducks up with five minutes left. Alex Ovechkin rang the post, and our hearts sank.
Ducks beat Caps 3-2.
I'm definitely in the holiday spirit tonight pic.twitter.com/2xU7VkgnOc
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) December 24, 2013
Bruce Boudreau’s Ducks have won nine games in a row.
I really liked the Capitals team we saw in the first period. Great forecheck and work in neutral, threatening the net at even strength and drawing penalties, sloughing off the ceremonial man-on-man coverage Ovi gets during the power play.
I guess all those penalties in the second interrupted the momentum, as we didn’t see any of that good stuff in the latter forty. The Caps didn’t put many pucks on net– either overall or in proportion to the Ducks. That’s a serious problem that requires remedy, though I guess we did see some respectable back-and-forth action between the blue lines. But with Bruce Boudreau in the house, I had really hoped for something on the order of 80 shots overall.
I guess I’ll have to live with the disappointment. I can do that. I’ve been getting good at that ever since Boudreau’s dismissal back in the late 80s.
No worries. It’s only hockey.
If you’re celebrating a holiday this season, please have a happy one.
May your days be merry and bright.
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