Strachan vs Martin (Photo: Patrick Smith)
They’re not all barnburners. Some games merely are. They start, sixty minutes pass, and then they’re over. Tuesday’s Capitals-Islanders game wasn’t completely free of drama, but it was a low-scoring, mostly sleepy affair. Every time something cool was about to happen, a countervailing uncool thing (whiff, penalty, Milbury) canceled it out. Worst of all, the Caps lost.
The game went scoreless for 42 minutes until Andrew MacDonald’s muffin floated past Neuvirth. Is that it? Yeah, that’s it. That’s dumb.
Isles beat Caps 1-0. Shut out for Evgeni Nabokov.
- Precog Tyson Strachan kinda/sorta fought Matt Martin in the first period. It wasn’t much of a fight, but clearly Strachan saw Martin’s future and the iffy hit to come on Dmitry Orlov 40 minutes later. Let’s just address that now.
- Matt Martin probably had to pack a lunch for his long trip across the ice to hit Dmitry Orlov into the boards. If Martin has any kind of defense, it’s that Orlov turned towards the boards a split second before as he prepared for a slap-pass dump-in. We shall see. Seems like, with Mike Green out, Jack Capuano painted a target on Orlov’s back. Isles were lining up to cream him all night long. The press corps will be interviewing him in an ice bath.
- The Capitals are really good at giving up shorthanded chances. The natural habitat of the odd-man rush is Verizon Center, and their breeding season is the Capitals power play. Tonight saw no fewer than three, with one by Michael Grabner earning a penalty shot (which Michal Neuvirth stopped).
- Speaking of little Mikey, he was pretty great despite a light load. He had an electric glove save early in the third period that would have been the memorable moment of the night had it not been followed up by MacDonald’s goal a minute later.
INT. NBCSN STUDIO – EVENING.
MILBURY: Hey, JR.
ROENICK: Yeah, Mikey?
MILBURY: This game is awful boring. What are we gonna talk about during the intermission?
ROENICK: Hmm. That IS a pickle, Mike.
ROENICK: Say! You still have that old sack of bullshit lying around?
MILBURY (reaching for old sack of bullshit, kept under the desk): Of course, JR. I never go anywhere without my trusty old sack of bullshit.
ROENICK: Perfect! Let’s just throw that around the studio again.
MILBURY: JR, you’re a genius! Here! I’m gonna smear some on the walls!
ROENICK: Looks great, looks great. Here; let me try!
MILBURY: Okay, but try not to get any on Russ Thaler.
ROENICK: No promises, Mike.
- The Caps drew a bunch of penalties in this one, but in their determination to wage a fair fight, they chose to commit a bunch of their own. Troy Brouwer spoiled a power play with lame interference call, John Erskine had zero pressure when he put the puck over the glass, and John Carlson hooked to shut down Grabner’s breakaway. Stinky, stinky Caps.
- Those penalties might have been a factor in the Caps surrendering momentum (Peter-code for puck possession) at the end of the second period. Before that, the Caps looked pretty darn good (except boring). The Isles definitely were the better team in the final frame, and that was the one that decided the game. Sad trombone.
- Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer had a pair of windy whiffs from a first-period power play that, in hindsight, seem kinda unfortunate.
So, class, what did we learn?
We learned that the Caps are bad at stopping breakaways. We learned that they need more discipline. We learned that the glass around the ice needs to be like five feet taller. We learned that Mike Milbury is a blowhard.
Wait, we knew all that stuff already.
Shoot. We learned nothing tonight. And the Caps let another pair of standings points escape them.