Photo: Patrick McDermott
It’s Super Bowl Sunday, which means the Washington Capitals once again played a matinee game to set the stage for a whole lot of couch-sitting by you all day. You’re gonna go through a lot of wings, chips, pretzels, assorted other fried things, and bad beer on your way to gridiron glory and hypertension. I shall join you, but not before we revisit the real big game: the Detroit Red Wings at Caps. With a national audience, two (or three) crucial standings points on the line, and a triad of Caps scratched to injury, this was a big one.
Jason Chimera got rewarded for some hard work in the opening minutes, recording the game’s first goal five minutes in. Joel Ward caught a great pass from Nick Backstrom to score a powerplay goal and make it 2-0. The momentum shifted as the Wings got the puck more, resulting in a powerplay goal by Gustav Nyquist, but the Caps struck back with another PP marker– this time from John Carlson.
Tomas Tatar got a sneaky shot under Neuvirth’s shoulder to make it 3-2, but Joel Ward struck back nineteen seconds later. A two-handed slash (a greatslash?) by Troy Brouwer gave the Wings a power play and Nyquist’s second goal of the game.
Nyquist got the hat trick early in the third, obliterating the Caps’ lead, but Troy Brouwer crashed the net and created a new lead following a Wings turnover. That one didn’t last either. Justin Abdelkader was all up in the paint to score after a faceoff in the Caps zone. Into overtime we went.
Or shall we say… OVI TIME!?!?!
Caps beat Wings 6-5 (OT).
What did you expect? Half of the Caps defensive corps is straight out of the AHL, and then there’s John Erskine. The Caps could be electric in the offensive zone– even without Grabo– but they’ve still got a find a way to bone up on D. Until that happens, no Caps lead is safe.
And even if George McPhee can fix the defensive roster, that’s still no guarantee. Adam Oates’ system seems to prefer safe play once his team takes the lead. Safe is still dead, and Oates’ Caps are both.
That’s why we should be eternally grateful for Alex Ovechkin, overtime stud and league leader in badassdom. Even when the team is struggling, he’ll keep being Ovi.
I’m glad the national audience loved this game, but I’m exhausted. This team has a lot of great ingredients– enough for a spicy stew– but they’re not quite there yet. I haven’t seen anything telling me the Caps are interested in solving it. In fact…
George McPhee vIa NBC: "The #Caps would have 10 more [standings] points with better goaltending." Uh, what?
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) February 2, 2014
That is worrying. Surely you can find some games that goaltending lost– especially in December and early January– but in October and November, the Capitals’ goaltending saved a desperately weak team from blowing the season before it even got started. Overall, I’d say it’s a wash. Then again, I’m a little dubious about this
quote hearsay overall.
The Caps need defense, and also some kind of magic rock that makes the team always play like they did for those first five minutes. Scoar moar goals isn’t just a slogan; it’s an affirmation of the only way to win this silly game.
Enjoy the superb owl, everybody! RIP PSH.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) February 2, 2014
(That was 30 seconds before the OTGWG)
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