No idea what is happening here. (Photo: Michael Dwyer)
March and its steady trickle of tough games began on Saturday with a matinee match-up against the Boston Bruins. Alex Ovechkin, perhaps still seething over his loss at the hands of Finnish goaltender Tuukka Rask, was terrific (again), but the Washington Capitals needed more than their captain to win this one.
Ovi scored from the Ovi spot in the first period, then ripped a terrific shot from above the circles in the second. Both goals came on the power play. Joel Ward went Rambo-style, scoring unassisted with a backhand on Rask. Boston struck back with a nifty powerplay goal by Patrice Bergeron and a lucky deflection off Mike Green’s stick. Eric Fehr got his own breakaway and beat Rask to make it 4-2 midway through the third period.
Caps beat Bruins 4-2!
- Even before he scored, it was clear Alex Ovechkin was motivated. He fired three shots in his first couple shifts and looked head-and-shoulders above every other player on the ice. 9 shots for number 8.
- And then there’s the whole 800 career points thing. Not. Bad.
- Both Marty Erat and Mikhail Grabovski missed the game due to injury. Erat’s lower-body injury belied anyone who said his trade value could not get any lower earlier in the week. Put another way:
@russianmachine We can trade Erat for a Toberlone and a copy of Shrek 3. Seems fair.
— American Moose (@originalmoose87) March 1, 2014
- Just an exhibition of bad officiating today. Jay Beagle got busted with a weak holding call to join Tom Wilson in the box, but Boston was unable to score on the two-minute five-on-three. Zdeno Chara’s stick broke, but big Z complained to the ref to get Backstrom punished for it. Then there was the mysterious matter of the first period ending two seconds early. Amateur hour by Rob Martel and Francois St. Laurent.
- All season long the Caps have been struggled to prevent breakaway chances. Saturday was the opposite as Boston was the one with the holey D. Ward got through on his own, Eric Fehr scored on that great third-period breakaway, and Ovechkin set up Brouwer on the rush for what could’ve been a real flashy goal if not for Tuukka Rask.
- Based on Adam Oates’ adjustment in the third period, it seems like Brooks Laich‘s time on the top line is over. Marcus Johansson reclaimed his old spot. I kinda liked what Laich brought to the top line, but neither he nor Ovechkin can or should carry the puck in neutral.
- When John Erskine is good, John Erskine gets credit. John Erskine was good today. Loved that pokecheck during the 5v3.
Don’t look now, but the Caps are streaking.
Missing two of their best players in Erat and Grabo, the Capitals got an important win against a Cup favorite. And they did it by combining a leading effort from their captain with some secondary scoring.
There’s a lot more trouble coming on this schedule, but if they’re playing like this, the Capitals might surprise some tough teams.