That dude in the middle. (Photo: Bill Wippert)
Are the Capitals worse than the Buffalo Sabres? The Sabres might be the worst team the league has seen in a decade, and yet they’ve bested DC twice this season. This third and final game was a towel match. If Buffalo won, they would sweep the season series and Bob Backlund would have to retire. If the Caps won, they’d prove that their 5-0 slump-slaying win wasn’t a total fluke.
The Caps started their effort well, exploding for a pair of Ovi goals in the first period, but they couldn’t hold a lead to save their lives. They lifted the pressure and let Buffalo creep back in. So much for killer instinct. Here’s how it went down.
Alex Ovechkin did the power play thing in the first. No, not the thing where he scores from the Ovi spot. This was the other thing, the one where he scores right after the faceoff. But Ovi wasn’t done; he scored a minute later by deflecting Mike Green’s shot off his trousers. Christian Ehrhoff got Buffalo on the board as John Erskine and Ovechkin were unable to control a rebound.
The Sabres tied it up on the power play early in the second as Cory Hodgson finished off a nice passing sequence. Mike Green scored his 100th career goal with a sweet wraparound not long after. Philip Varone caught a loose puck wide of the net to record his first NHL goal and tie the game– yet another quick response goal against the Caps. No matter, as Alex Ovechkin started off a set play that Troy Brouwer aptly finished off from the crease, giving the Caps a 4-3 lead going into the third period.
Cory Hodgson drew a penalty from Jason Chimera and kept working to tie it up with 13 minutes left in regulation. The score stayed like that through sixty, so– for the third freaking time– the Caps and Sabres went to overtime.
GAME OVER GREEN!
Caps beats Sabres 5-4! (OT)
Oh, calm down, Joe. It’s freaking Buffalo.
That was a win, but man was it ugly.
What the heck. It’s the freaking Buffalo Sabres. They’re a mess. They’re Ryan Miller and some other guys, and it was one of the other guys in net! There’s no reason this game should’ve gone to overtime. There’s no reason this game should’ve been anything except a blowout wherein the Caps double up in shot attempts. This should’ve been a coronation for Ovechkin and an exorcism for the Caps’ flagging power play. Those things happened, but all we’ll remember are the blown leads.
Perhaps we’ll remember Green’s 100th and 101st and Ovi’s four points, but the achievements tonight weren’t shared by the lower tiers of this Caps lineup.
The Buffalo surges late in the first and early in the third period are evidence of the Caps’ abject failure to win decisively. When we delude ourselves into thinking this team as constructed can advance past the second round of the playoffs, we’ll be doing so in defiant ignorance of games like this.
Mike Weber is a creep, and I think he targeted vulnerable players. The NHL should pay attention to this since the refs won’t. Wild west justice won’t do. (Side note: the fact that no one fought Weber while the game was tied in the third period is evidence that fighting doesn’t win games.)
We’ll catch you guys on Thursday, as the Caps face off with the Blue Jackets in Columbus. Ew.
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