Leksy’s face. (Photo: Jana Chytilova)
After losing to Buffalo despite dominating play on Sunday, the Capitals hoped to close out 2013 with a road win in Ottawa. Unfortunately, without the whole “goals” part of hockey, wins are hard to come by. Prepositions are easy to end sentences with.
Joel Ward notched his 12th of the year just two minutes in as Craig Anderson deflected his shot (which was going wide) into the Ottawa net. The Sens stuck back with a two-on-one series executed by Mika Zibanejad. In the second, Kyle Turris put the Sens up with a gorgeous goal, shaking off a hook and tricking Grubauer before scoring. The Caps couldn’t beat Anderson in a late-game flurry, and Clarke MacArthur got the empty netter. The Caps have dropped their last game of the year.
Sens beat Caps 3-1. Goodnight, 2013.
- Martin Erat recorded his 12th 5v5 assist on Joel Ward‘s no-look goal, tying him with Mikhail Grabovski for the team lead. Trade the bum!
- Chris Neil put a big hit on Alex Ovechkin in the first period. The Russian machine did not break, but Neil retreated to the locker room. Ovi is obviously made of sturdier stuff, and I’d like to know what his mom is feeding him. Chris Neil did not return to the game.
- Who wasn’t bad on the Mika Zibanejad goal? Orlov made an unwise pinch, Green continued his ineptness dealing with odd-man rushes, and Troy Brouwer and Eric Fehr coasted through neutral instead of hustling. Everybody deserved their Milbury Minus™ on that play, though I have a feeling Dmitry Orlov will catch the most flak for it.
- Kyle Turris‘ goal was a beauty. We can get hung up on whose fault it was, but we should also appreciate the pretty hockey moves. Credit where it’s due.
- The guy running the PA at Canadian Tire Centre is a Miley Cyrus fan, eh? Heard a little bit of Taylor Swift too. Ahh, apparently they were playing Billboard’s top 30 of 2013.
- The fourth line was pretty solid, particularly when the Caps were rallying for a comeback in the second period. Frequent target Aaron Volpatti actually lifted the Caps’ possession numbers tonight.
- John Erskine. It’s hard for me to articulate anything about him that you don’t already know. I just kind of want to acknowledge his presence here, wallow in it for a second, and then move on. If you’ve got something you want to say about it, that’s what the comments are for. I’ll just be here, doing either my wallow thing or moving-on thing.
- The Caps went 65 minutes on Sunday without going down a man because they had the puck practically the whole time. That didn’t happen with the Senators on Monday as the Caps got dinged four times, including twice in the third period. Those PKs deprived the team of critical comeback time.
- Martin Erat almost scored. That’s bullet-worthy, I guess. Right?
Basically, Craig Anderson got a shutout. The only guy who could score on him …was himself. Joel Ward just happened to get credit for it. Despite looking excellent in the middle frame, the Caps couldn’t convert. Not the end of the world, just the year. There’s no need to panic or shake stuff up just because Ovi went goalless in four games. He put 31 shots on goal for crying out loud. It’ll come.
But so ends the hockey schedule for 2013. This time one year ago we didn’t even think there would be any hockey, so there’s item number one to be happy about. Item two is easy as well: Alex Ovechkin, who scored a goal or two here and there. After that, it gets complicated. The Capitals took a solid win percentage out of 2013, but there’s so much more they’re capable of achieving.
2014 will be a crucible. The team will undoubtedly change and so too will its fortunes. Alex Ovechkin will chase history. And in a few months we’ll see the Metro division in its full glory: a playoff chase against our team’s rivals.
Plus, we’ll be there, writing about hockey, fiving high, cracking wise. I hope you’ll join us.