Grabo’s face (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
Those of you nursing a hangover on Sunday afternoon found yourself in good company as the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres played a sleepy game in which not much happened. The Caps should have been able to dominate the worst team in the league, but that only kind of happened. Three Caps lines and four defenders seemed to be in control of this one, but the Sabres pwned the Caps depth enough to force overtime and win it in the gimmick. Take a whiff of some coffee grounds and follow me to the scoring summary.
Jason Chimera got on the board first as his centering pass went off a Sabres defenseman who was trying to stop Marcus Johansson’s net-crash. Tyler Ennis struck back for the Sabres with a rebound goal on the power play. The second period was uneventful aside from some penalties. Late in the third, Ryan Miller robbed Mikhail Grabovski and Karl Alzner’s go-ahead goal got undone by a tripping call. Buffalo owned overtime but couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket, so here comes the shootout recap. Yey.
Shootout recap bullets!
- Eric Fehr didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
- Matt Moulson didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
- Alex Ovechkin didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
- Linus Omark didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
- Nick Backstrom didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
- Cody Hodgson put the biscuit in the basket.
Sabres beat Caps 2-1 (SO).
- RIP two-game winning streak. It was very nice of the Caps to give two standings point to the Sabres, who really needed it.
- Does Philipp Grubauer have rebound control issues? Tweeter Eric mentioned it during the game, and he might be onto something. I know little and less about goalie tactics, but there did seem to be an abundance of loose pucks in front of Philipp. Overall, another strong performance from the Grubi the newbie, letting just one of 31 shots past him.
- Credit for the goal went to Jason Chimera, but Marcus Johansson will treasure his plus jealously. It was his crash-the-net move that forced the own-goal for the Sabres. Had Mojo got a piece of it, that would have been just his second 5v5 goal of the season.
- Connor Carrick got his first career assist on that one. Carrick made a pass to Ward in neutral to set the whole thing up. That pass went off the heel of a Sabres stick and could easily have led to a turnover. Beyond that, Carrick and Erskine got smoked on the ice, stuck in their own zone for pretty much always.
- Troy Brouwer had a pair of bad penalties in the middle frame, a roughing and a high-stick, that served to extinguish that Caps’ forward push. He’s smarter than that. He was one wandering stick away from Mike Green-caliber disaster period.
- Lots of love on the CSN broadcast for the fourth line, who looked good during the minute fraction of time (around 25%) they spent in the offensive zone. You may have heard Aaron Volpatti hit a couple dudes, which totally makes up for not generating offense or limiting opponent shots. Tom Wilson‘s ill-advised charge facilitated the Buffalo goal.
- Also setting up that goal: the no-call on Ennis wiping out Joel Ward five seconds earlier. Stuff like that is why players sometimes “accidentally” punch refs in the face.
- Why am I so cranky today? I apologize. Here are corgis on a treadmill.
- Better now?
- Thank you, everyone, for your opinions on green Caps gear on le twitters earlier. I personally rock a green Caps hat sometimes, but only because it’s hard to find a OSFA mesh snapback Caps hat that isn’t in a really loud shade of red.
- Ryan Miller is awesome. That save on Grabo is beyond my recapitude. It was just inhuman. I may not like Miller’s millerness right now, but I’m gonna freaking love it in Sochi. I hope he gets some Lundqvistian, jumbo-sized pads that make him look like the Stay Puft marshmallow man. Miller is a free agent after this season, so I have to think Buffalo will shop him around after the Olympics and before the deadline. Imagine him in Pittsburgh. Wait. Don’t do that.
- Karl Alzner would have scored the seventh goal of his career in the final minute of regulation, but Nick Backstrom’s trip nullified it. It was a pretty one too, with Karl sneaking up on the net before unleashing a monster slapper to the far corner. Nicky owes Karl a gift basket. Alzner still has a few more months to tie his single-season scoring record. Of two.
Kind of expected more from this one. The Sabres are the worst team in the league with virtually no offense and the worst possession numbers in the league. The Caps should have trounced them, and yet the Sabres pretty much outplayed the Caps– particularly when Washington’s bottom line was out. A few bad penalties didn’t help either, as Big Mo’ rarely favors the teams missing a dude on the ice.
Oh well. The Caps at least got a standings point, which is exactly what they need to do right now, since the schedule will get nasty soon. But they shouldn’t have waited until the 59th minute to really test Buffalo considering Ryan Miller was pretty much perfect in the shootout.
The Caps host the Sharks on Tuesday. Maybe we’ll have a trade by then? How about Erat for Yandle, straight up? Yes. That will definitely happen. Definitely.