Photo: Rob Carr
Gone are the days of the Sabres and Leafs. The Washington Capitals hosted the actually good San Jose Sharks on Tuesday to a fast-moving, low-scoring affair. The Caps came out of the gates strong, but the Sharks pushed back. We were treated to a tightly played, evenly matched game played mostly at five-on-five. Lucky us. It went to the shootout again. Less lucky us.
The Capitals owned the game’s first ten minutes, but the Sharks stole control back after that and Tyler Kennedy scored. Alex Ovechkin tied it up in the second with a zero-angle one-timer. The Sharks thought they got the lead back before the second intermission, but the buzzer went off a fraction of a second earlier. The third period was a back-and-forth affair but neither team was able to deposit the disc in the drapery. OT couldn’t make up its mind either, so…
- Eric Fehr put it in the pads.
- Joe Pavelski lost control.
- Alex Ovechkin also lost control. He’s ice cold on the shootout.
- Patrick Marleau scored on the forehand.
- Nick Backstrom roofed it high. Bloop.
Sharks beat Caps 2-1 (Shootout)
- Alex Ovechkin, gee whiz. Shotless through the game’s halfway mark, Ovi finally put one on target- and behind Antti Niemi at 32:44. Ovi one-timed a pass from Karl Alzner over Niemi’s shoulder for a completely unlikely 33rd goal– and the one that tied the game. Worth noting: Ovi was maybe 15 feet below the Ovi spot– right in the no-angle, no-chance neighborhood. I like it when Ovi shoots moar, and from moar places. Here’s your boy John Walton calling the goal with aplomb:
- Philipp Grubauer had to withstand a barrage late in the second. Joel Ward would have worn his minus with shame, but the Sharks’ no-goal came after the buzzer. After a soft call on Nick Backstrom nullifying Alzner’s goal and Grabo getting millered on Sunday, it’s good to see lady luck swing the other way. Very strong game by Grubi overall.
- Aaron Volpatti vs Mike Brown, a high-event PunchCorsi pair. Watch the fight here and brush up on 29 CFR 1910, guidelines on bloodborne pathogens, here.
- The second period began with an impromptu lineup change: Eric Fehr was “promoted” to Backstrom’s “first” line, and Brooks Laich was “demoted” to Ovechkin’s “second” line. I dunno why. Oates works in mysterious ways and three-piece suits.
- Whole lotta 5v5 action in this one as neither team got busted for non-facepunching penalties until Nick Backstrom‘s o-zone trip in the third. The Caps killed that one off aggressively and didn’t return to the box again. Huzzah for following the rules. I guess.
- Karl Alzner didn’t get a shot on goal in this game. That used to be a common thing, but lately our quiet stay-at-home defenseman has become a social butterfly. Shots by game sparkline!
OoOoOoOoO sparklines pretty.
- Eric Fehr, he of the 1st and a half line, was awesome. As usual. He crashed the net with plurality, desperately throwing pucks at guys with names that sound like a Star Wars character. He coulda scored three times. Maybe he should be on a line with Ovi. That’d be fun. Just a thought.
- Dunno if ExtraSkater will update this, but Aaron Volpatti had the best puck possession on the team. He was on for nine shot attempts total: 7 for the Caps, 2 for the Sharks. A 77.8% possession score, which would be total domination if it weren’t such a teensy litle sample.
Back in the day, we used to complain about the Caps having slow starts. The home team came out shooting in this one, but like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before them, they couldn’t sustain that hot start. The Sharks eventually asserted their puck-possession dominance (they’re second best in the league), holding the Caps shotless for ten minutes in the first period. From then on, it was pretty much neck-and-neck, which is actually pretty encouraging. Also encouraging: another 30+ shot affair for a team that used to treat the puck a bit too preciously.
Going in blind, I’d expected the Caps to lose the Sharks in regulation, so I’m pretty darn happy with taking even just a single standings point from this one. Add to that Alex Ovechkin’s great goal, and it was a good night for the Caps.
A shootout loss shouldn’t demoralize us. The Caps looked pretty good tonight.
But now they hit the road. Wednesday is (ugh) rivalry night on NBCSN. It’s the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re okay, I guess. If you’re into that sort of thing.