Caps beat Devils 3-0 and Marty Erat SCOAR!

no biscuits in the basket

The New Jersey Devils are the worst good team in hockey. For the last thousand years, they’ve mined success by sucking the fun out of hockey. If it feels like the game is less exciting when the Devils are playing, it’s not just you. The team’s style inhibits shooting by both teams– on average almost 20 fewer shot attempts per game. That’s part of why I was a bit mild heading into Saturday’s pre-Olympic finale between the Devs and the Washington Capitals.

The teams traded power plays in the first period without biscuit-basket despositage. The Devils owned the puck for the most the second period, but left the basket unbiscuited. The third period was more of the miserable same until rookie Julien Brouillette put the biscuit in the basket with ten minutes left. The Devils emptied their net and then Marty Erat finally brokered a biscuit-basket merger and then Troy Brouwer was like, “yeah, this basket can handle more biscuits.”

Caps beat Devils 3-0. Braden Holby’s third shutout!

  • Shoot. What am I supposed to do for bullets? The whole point of Devils hockey is that nothing happens. It’s the Godot of hockey.
  • It’s not like I wish ill on Lou Lamoriello, but what if some kind of Regarding Henry thing happened where he survives an awful accident and then comes back a totally different, totally better person afterwards? I loved Regarding Henry by the way. Harrison Ford’s best role.
  • I know some people will say Witness was Harrison Ford’s best role. That’s valid too. But don’t come at me with Blade Runner. Great movie, but Ford is a closed fist the whole time. Totally opaque. That’s part of the appeal, I know, but I don’t think it’s his strongest performance.
  • Oh man, don’t even get me started on K-19: The Widowmaker. Harry doing a Russian accent for 110 minutes. No thank you, sir.
  • That scene in Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls where Shia LeBouf and Harrison are chatting in the soda fountain place was pretty good. The rest of the movie is incomprehensible. It’s like Superman Returns, where you love (some of) the characters and the performances and dialogue, but the plot is so unbearable you’d rather just read fanfic.
  • Brandon Routh was great if you ask me. Henry Cavill isn’t my Superman. Breaking Zod’s neck? C’mon dude. That’s not Superman. That’s not even Super. That’s just man.
  • Here’s a thing that happened in the game:

  • Dude hit other dude and then gave up the puck at the zone entry. Electrifying.
  • Julien Brouillette scored in his second-ever NHL game at the tender age of 27. It was an unremarkable shot from the outside, given a little extra magic thanks to Marty Erat running interference up front. Brou has two points in two games and has looked better than I expected/feared. I still think the Caps D is a fiasco, but Julien-as-call-up isn’t so bad.
  • New Jersey’s Stephen Gionta sent human giant Connor Carrick barreling into Braden Holtby after Brou’s goal. Didn’t seem to egregious to me, just a nasty little hockey accident that didn’t deserve a whistle. There should be a rule where you can shove any hockey player into any goalie as long as the player is under 5’6″.
  • Oh Martin Erat. I always loved you. Even in the beginning, when you represented an overestimation of this team’s ability to win, I loved you. Even when you requested a trade. Even when you didn’t score a million times. Welcome to the scoreboard, holmes. Go get a billion more in Sochi.
  • The Devils bled goals on an empty net but it’s still a good move. Losing by three ain’t much worse than losing by one, and at least they had a chance.
  • Jagr sucks. Holtby rules.

Best Joe B suit of the night of the year? We say yes. It's the Harrison Ford of Joe B suits of the night.

Best Joe B suit of the night of the year? We say yes. It’s the Harrison Ford of Joe B suits of the night.

Yeah, the Devils play a miserable style of hockey, but I can’t help but chalk this game’s tedium up to the Caps’ plainly insufficient lineup and plainly not-working system. For all the talk of Adam Oates aping the defensive formulations of his old club, the Caps defense looks nothing like Jersey. The Devils D-corps seem to attack where the Caps retreat, leading to more Caps turnovers right around the blueline and more deep zone time for the visitors.

I really, really, really wanna see the Caps try something different after the Olympics. Like, remember when Boudreau went to (was forced to?) play the Trap in December of 2010? I wanna see the opposite of that now– a systems change by edict, this time maybe less disastrous.

This was an important win for the standings. It’s gonna get ugly after the Olympics, so getting these four points in the last two games may end up looming large in retrospect– even if we don’t appreciate ‘em much now. Kind of like Blade Runner.

Speaking of the Olympics, that’s it for us for now. The next two weeks will be all-Sochi/all-the-time unless Troy Brouwer tweets something funny while on vacation. We’re still figuring out our coverage, but you can expect us. We’ll be tweeting at 7 am (ugh) and writing recaps and sharing cool stories and generally doing the RMNB thing on a global scale. It’s Olympic hockey in Russia starring Alex Ovechkin. We were built for this.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Happy for Holtby, happy for Erat, happy for Brouillette. Hope to god this means Erskine is not used again this year. Boring game but a good way to go into the break.

  • Rob W.

    These Hershey guys arent too shabby. The first half of the game was worse than Joe B’s suit but we battled and its officially USA time. Hopefully the none olympic players get well rested and come back to battle in the toughest part of the schedule

  • Freedoooom

    Come on lets auction off that 1st goal of the year puck for Erat.

    Also, I don’t know if you guys know, but Hilary Knight is a Capitals fan, give her some love.

  • Marky Narc

    For a long while, this was my only tweet for the game:

    #TIL this thing ÷ is called an "obelus" (hey, we're playing NJ and I'm bored.) #Caps #CapsDevils— Marky Narc (@markynarc) February 9, 2014

    Really captures the essence of the first two periods, yes?

    Then Brouillette (took me two tries to spell his name correctly) scored! Sadly, this was the best screenshot I could get. Hey! We beat a divisional opponent! In Regulation! Bailamos!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Awful start to the second period for the home team– lucky that no biscuits got into their basket

  • Alex Hughes

    You knew that if Julien Brouillette was going to score, Marty Erat was gonna score. I thought Holtby had a decent night tonight, now it’s going to be difficult to see who the #1 in net is goint to be because Neuvirth was playing well too. I hate Devils hockey, might the most boring thing in sports to watch. Great to get the two points though.

  • Alex Hughes

    I’m just glad John Erskine isn’t playing. We actually have guys playing that are fast and have actual puck-handling ability.

  • scrubversive

    Happy for Brouwer, even if his 100th goal isn’t much of a highlight. Take ‘em however you can get ‘em.

  • Alex Hughes

    Can we stop playing Ring Around the Rosie with the puck on the power play and actually put it on net. Yes I know that passing opens up shooting lanes and chances but the Caps are over-passing way too much.

  • IafrateNoGhosts

    Ummmm…. Hello? Mosquito Coast? An erratic and delusional Harrison Ford sliding down the icy slope of insanity? Hellen Mirren, River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton to boot!

  • Chris Cerullo

    Yea, to be honest for my comment I copied and pasted his name from the Caps twitter lol

  • Anela

    I hate when we play the devils – it’s never fun to watch unless we create a drinking game that also involves rmnb’s tweets–everyone take a shot when Jagr hate comes up. =)

    I am happy for the win and for Holtby getting a shut out. Also, about damn time Erat got one in the net–sadly it had to be empty, but I will take it. Though I did love Ovi offering to grab the puck so Erat could keep his first goal. We just need to pick up our game after the Olympics if we are going to go to playoffs. I’m glad though we didn’t give up and kept fighting for goals in the 3rd–we just need to do that earlier.

    So, wheee celebratory cookies for everyone.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Eh I thought the PP was fine today, the Devils are just a really good team shorthanded.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Great movie

  • Brouwer Rangers
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    WELP ALRIGHT

  • ChrisN

    He did it. the son of a Bitch finally scored. Yesssss Marty!!!!

  • Matt Lauer

    YES! YES! A thousand times, YES!!!!

  • jackbarry93

    A few months ago, my dad and I said that the Capitals would win the Stanley Cup “when Erat scores” (equivalent of ‘when pigs fly’).

    No excuses now!

  • Matt Lauer

    Any trade speculations at this point? Also, very excited for post-Olympic Kuzya.

  • Chris Cerullo

    With the Caps IMO nothing that leaks to the media ever comes to fruition. So I’d expect to be surprised by anything that may happen. Except for maybe Miller and I still think that is a huge maybe.

  • Matt Lauer

    Yeah, seems right. Although today I had the thought that Blake Wheeler would be an awesome pickup.

  • Michael Riley

    Dude that’s so funny RE: the Devils style. I’m still learning the nuances and strategies of hockey playstyle but I remember saying to myself pretty early into the second period that this was one of the most boring games of the season. Good to know it wasn’t just me.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I feel like the Jets see him as a big piece of their future. He’s locked up long term and is a perennial 60+ point guy. I’d love him or Evander Kane but it’d be at a huge cost.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I feel like a real representation of this game should just be two flatlines.

  • Graham Dumas

    Clear and Present Danger. Come on.

  • Jack Conness

    MARTY ERAT BABY!

  • Pat Magee

    Nothing beats Han Solo. NOT A THING.

  • Diller M

    Like I said, due theory

  • Roy Schue

    Well, we know how to get Erat to score some goals. Just get the other team to pull the goalie.

  • Graham Dumas

    Yeah, he had that goalie totally fooled on that shot! :)

  • VeggieTart

    Part of me thinks they should send Carrick down, have Orlov and Green together and keep Bru and Wey here.

  • rotational

    VZ Center snored through the first two periods. People barely had the energy to boo Jagr.

    If that empty netter is what it takes Erat to start justifying the entire affair, I’m all for it. I have nothing against him, but the trade circumstances and his performance so far make it hard to be positive.

    And I’ll have none of this guff about Blade Runner, Harrison was sublime.

  • Matt Lauer

    I was disappointed by the general insufficiency of Jagr-booing.

  • Eric Schulz

    And if one falters, Schmidt is back up, not Erskine or Carrick.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah, no way Wheeler is available.

  • Eric Schulz

    Seems to me, you said “best role,” not “best performance.” Which means it’s Han Solo; he’s iconic, no other of his characters can claim the same thing save Indiana Jones, but the 4th one at least dropped him behind Solo, while Solo didn’t get the stink of the prequels on him.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Someone replacing Erskine and showing they are better at hockey than him? He’ll be sent down soon to give more ice time to Erskine.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    poor word choice on my part, but under that definition you are definitely right

  • James Desautels

    I will be up at 7 am watching games live too, so tweet away. At least i know i wont be waking anyone up now.

  • themav80

    It definitely looked to me like that was a concerted effort by Ovi and Backstrom to get Erat the puck so he could score.

    I might be over thinking it though.

  • Christoffer Salo Salomonsson

    yeap.. maybe they can get more than 5 pucks for him now if they trade him fast..

  • JenniferH

    My 100th comment for a Holtby shut-out, love it! I also love that I read Holts apparently said that he and Ollie talked and he’s played the last two games the way he’s always played, which sounds to me like he’s going back to goaltending that works for him as opposed to what worked for Ollie. That’s a great sign, I think.

    Not the bestest game, but hey, we won. Two points and a much-needed win going into the long break. Let’s keep it up even going into our tough March!

  • VeggieTart

    I wish I could upvote that more than once, but yes, absolutely. Nothing against Carrick, but I think he needs a little more development.

  • VeggieTart

    I was thinking along the same lines.

  • Mike Honcho

    That jacket was the Han Solo of Joe B suits.

  • Tadd

    Fun fact: This was Braden Holtby’s second straight shutout when playing on a Saturday. Bray-Bray is awesome on Saturdays.