Elegance - Bill Wippert

Photo: Bill Wippert

The Buffalo Sabres are having a rough season. They’re the worst team in the league and possibly one of the worst teams we’ve seen in this whole era. And yet, even a really bad team will beat a goalie sometimes. That’s exactly what happened on Sunday as the Sabres eked out a lead in the second period despite getting outpossessed like cray cray. No worries though, the Caps stole the game back and forced overtime. But then there was still the small matter of Ryan Miller.

After 39 scoreless minutes Drew Stafford tipped in Christian Ehrhoff’s shot while John Erskine checked his fantasy football scores or something. Troy Brouwer finally cracked Ryan Miller after 32 saved shots with a streaking snapper in the third. It stood like that through regulation and overtime.

Shootout bullets!

  • Matt Moulson got grub’d.
  • Eric Fehr hates the shootout, doesn’t score.
  • Tyler Ennis got grub’d.
  • Alex Ovechkin rejected by a sidelong Miller.
  • Zemgus Girgensons (really? that’s his name?) got grub’d.
  • Nick Backstrom goes into the pads.
  • Linus Omark got grub’d.
  • Mikhail Grabovski wraps for naught.
  • Brian Flynn got grub’d.
  • Troy Brouwer missed high.
  • Steve Ott roofed it to score.
  • Mike Green rejected.

Sabres beat Caps 2-1 (Shootout)!

I made fun of Buffalo natives Goo Goo Dolls on Twitter earlier, so here’s me making amends. This song isn’t so bad. Then again, it’s like plagiarism against the Replacements.

  • Philipp Grubauer didn’t have to do much of anything early in this one, but midway through the third period he made some athletic saves that kept the game tied. Really impressive stuff from the youngling through 65 and the shootout, but did you see the puck rolling along the crease in the final minute all la dee da?!
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 200th shot of the season. Ovi also cracked double-digit shots against the Sabres back in March, which was a big deal for me in tracking Ovi’s resurgence this year.
  • Troy Brouwer and the newfangled second line has a lot of potential, and they’re only starting to realize it. Troy forced Ryan Miller to make three saves beore beating him with the fourth. And what a fantastic shot it was. Not to mention, and let me know when this gets repetitive, Mikhail Grabovski‘s uncanny pass. Here’s how your boy John Walton called the whole sequence:
  • I had very strong words about Aaron Volpatti in today’s snapshot. In a game where the Caps owned more than 66% of 5v5 shot attempts, when Volpatti was on ice that number dropped to 43.8%.
  • One of the side effects of owning the puck is not taking restraining penalties. Besides Wilson’s forced fight, the Caps had just one whistle, a matching pair for roughing when Jay Beagle got a bit rabid in front of Miller’s net.
  • John Erskine missed a chance to stab away the Stafford goal if he had only put his stick down on the inside. To be fair, Joel Ward lost Ehrhoff as well.
  • Tom Wilson put a clean hit on Ville Leino in the second period. In today’s NHL, that means he had to fight.
  • Dmitry Orlov took a big ol’ hit from Tyler Ennis late in the third. Ennis got airtime and Orlov lost his helmet. Looked like a doozy, but Orly returned to play. For the record, Marcus Foligno did not fight anyone after that one.
  • Ryan Miller is awesome. He was flawless in the shootout. I love Quick, but come February give me the dude with a great head of hair in the red white and blue.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

(Keeping this one short again as I’ve apparently contracted whatever disease it is that makes you stupid with the words and the sentences and the arranging of words into sentences. My apologies.)

The Caps played great, but sometimes a goalie is gonna steal a game. After so many games of that goalie being Grubauer, it went the other way this time. Whatever, the Capitals did it again, and by “it” I mean give a team an uncontested standings point. Man, that has gotta stop.

Before we go, please tell me how puck possession is just for nerds and tells us nothing about the game by using the Buffalo Sabres, who are dead last in puck possession and have a record of 10-24-4, as your case study.

Oh well. Not the worst way to spend a Sunday night. The worst way to spend a night is watching and reading end-of-season coverage about a team that is so very much worse than our beloved Capitals that I get nauseated at the merest comparison.

Crash the net, and all aboard the bandwagon. We got room for everyone.

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  • Jack Conness

    Ugh, this sucks. Caps dominate all game and then, this. A shootout loss. Dammit.

    On a positive note, another solid game from Gruby. That 2nd line looked awesome again.

    I also thought this was Mike Green’s best game this season. He looked really good.

    That’s that. An empty feeling. Bummer.

  • Chris Cerullo

    So Miller stole that one. Go USA?

  • Marky Narc

    I don’t want to talk hockey after losing in a shootout to the Loserville Losers. So, Peter, what’s your favorite Replacements album? Hootenanny is mine.

    *sigh*

  • Myan

    God I hate Ryan Miller.

  • Bob

    Losing to the Sabres is completely unacceptable, i don’t care how well Miller played. They didn’t make many challenging shots on him. Ravens losing now this, just a terrible sunday.

  • Matt

    I wonder what Buffalo Sabres goalie coach Jim Corsi has to think of this game.

  • Red

    Nice to see Miller back in Olympic form….the bastard.

  • JenniferH

    Miller. Grrr. Miller.

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

    Let It Be for sure. Desert island disc and all that.

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

    Yeah I’m conflicted

  • Cooper Stegmann

    Why did you jinx us? Why…..

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

    #urgency
    this game had it, Joseph Beninati!

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

    This might be comment of the year IMO.

  • Shaggy

    Yeah Miller was on, but … too many shots of the routine variety. And no crease traffic! Ugh …

  • Jay DeLancey

    this is how most teams that play against us feel.

  • X

    Do you guys think that Dmitri Orlov is a top 4 dman on a stanley cup contending team?

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

    Oh I dunno about that.

    http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=2013020585-80-h

    Two dudes waiting for an Ovi rebound on that one alone.

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

    Too early to call, but I doubt it.

  • X

    hopefully we can get one of those

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

    I’m just happy he’s playing. Can that be enough?

  • Shaggy

    Well, agreed, but on both of the shots on that replay … Miller had a clear view of Ovie’s shot(s) … prior to the rebound. Then again, Oates said they had some quality shots, so I’ll just sit here and knock out some more Pinot ;)

  • Marky Narc

    That’s my super-duper close second. I feel ya.

  • X

    I love orlov I was just curious as to what you guys thought

  • riggorules

    Why doesn’t Ovi just bomb it in the shootout? Just for kicks, would love to see him skate to the Ovi spot in the left circle and crank it … could probably beat his 2-for-11 percentage this season.

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

    I think he’s a top four defenseman in his prime. On a Stanley Cup winning team? I don’t know.

  • X

    I agree. The caps could probably use another defenseman though, maybe two.

  • Psowen

    Hooray!! We dominated possesion! I don’t even need to know the score! I also don’t care whether our shots were high quality (because, as we ALL know, there’s no such thing as a “quality” shot). All that matters is we dominated possession! The people who say the numbers on the scoreboard are the only ones that matter must not understand advanced metrics!

    Please excuse me while I go rewind the propeller attached to my beanie.

  • Psowen

    P.S. – SARCASM

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

    You just beat the living SHIT out of that straw man http://i.imgur.com/OPxZnpl.gif

  • Steve Killmon

    On the subject of important stuff: http://youtu.be/emguA0RIH4k
    That song is BRILLIANT.

    But for real, is hockey talk now:

    Brooks Laich’s lingering groin problem (and trust me; it’s hard for me to say this) is probably the best thing to happen to the second line recently. Grabovski is a brilliant setup man and when Brouwer sticks to what he’s best at (get free in the slot and POUND IT HOME) they get tons of good looks at the net.

    Also, it’s given Eric Fehr a chance to get back in there for good minutes. He’s got a wicked shot and knows how to get to places where the puck will just find him for 2 or 3 great chances a game. I’m sure Chimmer’s still the flat-out fastest on the team, but Fehr uses sneaky speed to get in on the forecheck on dump-ins CONSTANTLY. I’d be interested to see how that translates to possession stats.

    I think Jay Beagle is one of the most unheralded members on the team. That guys works his butt off every time his skates hit the ice in both ends of the rink. I’ve seen him basically single-handedly sustain a forecheck a couple times in the last handful of games here. What he may lack in pure passing, stick-handling, or shooting talent, he makes up for in hard work.

    Finally, that Ryan Miller is just phenomenal when he plays up to his talent level. He stood on his head today and got his team a standings point. I feel bad that he’s got to play on this squad.

    Also important: Jonathan Quick’s hair ain’t too bad either.

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

    Yeah, I’d like to see him use the slapper a bit more. Then again, I’d like to see his team in the shootout less overall.

  • Sweedish Meatballs

    One of those loses you have to just accept, goalies steal game (Lundqvist), I agree on the Volpatti thing I don’t know why we keep giving him a chance. He can’t play in the NHL right now.

  • VeggieTart

    Re: Volpatti: Caps didn’t acquire him for puck possession; they got him because he adds much-needed grit and toughness to the team. He’s on the fourth line and won’t get more than ten minutes a night, so why worry about HIS puck possession numbers?

  • bskillet

    Green, to keep us alive in the shootout??? Really Oates, you couldn’t put up Chimmer or Ward…..somebody, anybody.

  • Matthew Kory

    Because a lot can happen in 10 minutes of a hockey game and giving away 10 every night with Volpatti on the ice is a tough thing to do to a team that doesn’t have that much advantage over its opponents in the first place.

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

    I mean, he’s literally the worst in the league at that very important stat. NO one’s expecting him to be a 55%er, but something above 40 would be nice. Those players are the easiest to replace, so, ya know, let’s see it!

  • Dara Goldberg

    Except in a few months when all is forgiven for a little while as long as he plays like this for team USA.

  • dylan wheatley

    unf

  • Christoffer Salo Salomonsson

    it really doesnt matter when hey loose to the swedish team ;)

  • Christoffer Salo Salomonsson

    how many dangerous turnovers did erat have today? 3? you guys may talk about stats and so on.. but he is dangerous evert time he is in the defensive zone, and nothing comes when he is in the o-zone..

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

    He’s ranked second on the team in 5v5 assists

    http://www.extraskater.com/players/standard?sort=a&sit=5v5&team=wsh

  • Sweedish Meatballs

    Wilson brings enough “much-needed grit and toughness” Volpatti can’t create offense, most good NHL team have 4 lines that can score

  • Owen Johnson

    Also they are gritty 4th liners who AREN’T black holes. Like Hendy or Matt Bradley.