One legged ant-eater (Photo: Nick Wass)
Caps-Pens! The biggest rivalry in DC sprots! With only 18 standings points between them–
Wait, really? The Pens are that far ahead? Oh golly. Lean times in the District.
Moving on… the Caps need to make up some ground in the eastern conference if they want to make the playoffs, but they’re gonna have to do better than what they did on Monday night. Giving up an early goal and Sidney Shot from the Sidney Spot gave Pittsburgh enough of a boost early on to fend off a Caps surge in the second.
Chris Kunitz scored all of 46 seconds in, taking a pass of Sidney Crosby and beating Mike Green on his way to the not-perimeter. Eric Fehr fought back with a nifty finish set up by Jason Chimera, but the Pens fired back with Crosby’s one timer on the power play.
The Caps tied it up in the second as Nicky Backstrom banked a pass of some poor Penguin in the paint. That was fun, but then Chris Kunitz restored the Penguins lead off a rebound off Halak’s pads a little after the halfway mark.
The Caps could not convert a late-game power play. Cram.
Pens beat Caps 3-2.
First and most importantly: Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench during the Stars-Jackets game. Details are sparse. Peverley got surgery before the season to correct an irregular heartbeat. The game has been postponed.
UPDATE: Rich Peverley has been taken to the hospital an is conscious. The game is still delayed at the moment. That's all we know for now.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 11, 2014
Our very best wishes go out to Pevs, a beloved fellow from the former Southleast. Many happy returns.
Okay. Back to Caps hockey.
- File under hot starts. For the Penguins, at least. Sidney Crosby’s stretch pass to Chris Kunitz (and Kunitz’s jaunty waltz around the pylon shaped like Mike Green) kind of sucked the joy out of Kuzya’s debut. A real nice pass from Sid, but….
- Jason Chimera‘s to Eric Fehr was even better. That was just a terrific sequence by one of the best Penguin killers since the Dharma
CorporationInitiative invented polar bears, F16. Stolen puck, quick entry into the offensive zone, puck off his skate and then getting the shot off. Fehr is awesome. He should be in the top six until he’s 42.
- I’ve come with a new rule. Tell me what you think of it: Mike Green is not allowed to skate behind his own net. That’s where all the bad things happen. Like hits. He should play only away from the boards. And maybe other players. What are your thoughts? I’m just spitballin’ here.
- Brooks Laich is a gametime decision every other night, but when he suits up, he’s ready to play. I don’t know what’s going on with his health, but I love his effort lately– mostly on the power play, where he’s a tenacious little wombat playing the low man. He didn’t get credit for the Backstrom goal, but he was instrumental nonetheless. Less awesome during 5-on-5, but aren’t we all?
- I know people are gonna say Jaroslav Halak was giving up big rebounds, particularly on Kunitz’s second goal. He was, but also consider this: what the blood clot are Connor Carrick and Jack Hillen doing playing against the best playmaker in the world, Sidney Crosby? Their “coverage” on that Pittsburgh attack was in name only.
- Alex Ovechkin‘s struggles during even strength seems to be getting worse. Maybe the matchups are more intense, but he’s definitely not seeing the offensive-zone time or shooting support he needs. When the Caps dominated the middle period, it wasn’t so much when Ovi was on the ice.
- When we learned Evgeny Kuznetsov would share the fourth line with mainstay Tom Wilson, I was like, “Sweet! Maybe more ice and better linemates for the big guy.” Nope. Kuznetsov got extra shifts with the top line and power play, whereas Wilson bumped his head on the 8-minute TOI ceiling.
- The Caps had a terrific berserker rage late in the third, creating enough chaos to catch the Pens with too many men. Terrific drama and tension, but no outcome.
Speaking of Kuznetsov: nice start. I’m not gonna dig through the chicken entrails of his 12 minutes or so, but I liked what I saw. That means good vibes for the future, but the Caps don’t need a wonderful future. They need success like yesterday.
Splitting this home-and-home B2B with the Pens would be a good way to make up ground. Also good would be hoping for some other team above them in the standings to spontaneously explode.
Hug your loved ones, even the dogs.