Caps beat Leafs 4-2! Next Up: California!

Evan Vucci

Photo: Evan Vucci

I hate St. Patrick’s Day. My family is Irish as Feakle and I like Irish writing and the Corrs and stuff, but I hate leprechauns and boiled potatoes and corned beef. I was really hoping Washington Capitals vs Toronto Maple Leafs would be a short reprieve from the holiday and a happy kickoff to a huge week on the road for a Caps team barely holding on to playoff hopes. While we got a fantastic first period out of the home team, the rest of the game was a little dreary. Like Ireland.

The Caps came out literally on fire. Troy Brouwer got his 19th of the year from right up front. Jason Chimera kicked in yet another goal for his line with Fehr and Ward. And then Ward nailed a layup set up by Kuzya and Penner. The Leafs got one before the period was up– a lucky bounce into the slot and onto Troy Bodie’s stick–  but it was a dominant twenty minutes for the home team.

The second was the opposite. Dion Phaneuf released a long bomb that snuck through the top line and Orlov-Carrick pairing. Then the Leafs got three consecutive power plays that the Caps desperately killed off.

The Caps survived the third and shut down the Leafs’ comeback attempt when Jason Chimera drew a penalty on a breakaway. Troy Brouwer got the empty netter.

Caps beat Leafs 4-2!

  • What the heck happened during the first intermission? The Caps outshot the Leafs 14-2 in the first period. The Leafs outshot the Caps 20-6 in the second period. We talked about this in the snapshot, but the way the Capitals play with a lead is infuriating. Instead, the Caps gotta play like what Jason Chimera told Al Koken during the second intermission: “pedal to the metal.”
  • Dion Phaneuf threaded the needle in the second period (against the team’s worst defensive players), but other than that he was hot Torontonian garbage. Reportedly playing with the flu, Phaneuf did nothing to stop the Caps’ first two goals, then he committed the penalty that led to the third.
  • Brooks Laich was a late scratch. The groin thing is flaring up again, I guess. Poor guy.
  • Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward both broke the twenty goal threshold. Ian has to wear spandex and join the Brouwer Rangers now. This is why you shouldn’t gamble, kids.
  • I love Nick Backstrom letting Brouwer’s ENG slide in at the end without touching it. Gentlemanly move from the raving allergy-medicine addict.
  • I also love what the Chimera-Fehr-Ward line is doing (i.e. scoaring a lot), but here’s the thing: they’re getting outshot like crazy. Together since the Olympic break, they’ve outshot the competition just once (March 10 vs the Penguins). I like those players for the most part, but I don’t like them together. I particularly don’t like Eric Fehr taking so many faceoffs, but I guess that’s more of an injury/roster problem than anything else.
  • Dustin Penner started the game as a fourth liner. Then he set up Joel Ward with one of the best passes I’ve seen (since Kuzya’s slap pass to Wilson last game). By the end of the second period, Adam Oates did the random number generator thing again, putting D.P. with Backstrom and Johansson on what I guess was the first line. That lasted for all of two shifts. Line craziness of Boudreau proportions!
  • Alex Ovechkin didn’t get a puck on net until 10 minutes left in rego. All credit to the Leafs for shutting him down, thought it looks to me (roughly) that Ovi has been shooting a bit less lately. I might be seeing things that aren’t there, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Joe B suit of the brunch

Joe B suit of the brunch

Alright, not exactly a solid win, but the two standings points are what really matters right now. I’m essentially switching to playoff mode, where I don’t care how the team wins so long as they win. Predictions and projections and possession be damned; just scoar moar than the other dude.

And now, to California. Kings, Ducks, Sharks. Those are three of the best teams in the league, and I’d be surprised if a Cup doesn’t come from one of ‘em (probably not Bruce’s team though, sorry). It’s totally possible for the Caps to go oh-fer. If they can buck expectations and come back with six points, everything will be different. Literally everything.

Let’s do this.

P.S. Come to our party!

  • DashingDave314

    Never forget Ian! https://t.co/5Eqdks0gDo

  • 70Caps

    Chimera should have had at least 3, but whatever, I guess I’ll take the result…

  • Jack Conness

    Great #REGO win. Joel Ward is awesome. Dustin Penner is a good hockey player. I just hope Oates doesn’t make him another Marty Erat. Kuzya is the man. And Halak is really doing a great job in net. VERY GOOD.

    With that being said, what the hell is Adam Oates doing?!? QUIT CHANGING LINES EVERY SHIFT! Ever think maybe it is your strategy and style of play that isn’t working? Not every different line combination you have had? That really bothers me. He has to stop.

  • Rob W.

    Classy move by Nicky at the end and Wardo is continuing to be the freaking man. That game was not good for my heart in the last 10 minutes and i expect this west coast trip could put me 6 feet under but as long as we get 6 points ill be happy

  • scrubversive

    I liked the tweet about the Adam Oates Random Number Generator (I think I’ll just call Oates “RNG” from now on). How on Earth we got from the first few games’ rigid line combo inflexibility to RNG-lines is mind-boggling. Reinforces my opinion that the bench really doesn’t know what they’re doing.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • 70Caps

    I would have loved to see Oland’s face when he did that.

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

    I’ve got the IM.

    (5:41:02 PM) Ian Oland: [F-word]

    I’ve censored it for you.

  • 70Caps

    Comments aren’t showing up if I reload the page. Anyone else?

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

    DISQUS does that sometimes. Hit “Sort by Newest/Best/Oldest” and it’ll pull em again.

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

    This is such a weird chart. Leafs flatline in first. Caps flatline in second. http://www.extraskater.com/game/2014-03-16-maple-leafs-capitals

  • Freedoooom

    Backstrom and Johansson suck defensively, Ovechkin -2.

    Brouwer bank shot for empty net, Backstrom and Johansson -1.

    ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  • Marky Narc

    Because our butts need to be held, duh.

  • Marky Narc
  • 70Caps

    Thanks, it’s working now.

  • disolitude

    I thought Ovi had a great game offensively and defensively. He’s also a an equivalent of a BFG gun when team is on PP. He either scores or lets the rest of the guys have more breathing room to score by constantly drawing a Dman to himself…

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Hope all goes well in California!

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Chances of making playoffs are back up to 10.7%, right where it was before we got swept by the Penguins for the home/home series.

  • Diller M

    Any word on Grabo, is he making the trip? Also I fully expect Laich to get bought out because of this groin thing, especially if we get a new GM.

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

    He might make the trip, but I doubt he’ll play.

    The Caps might just choose to go the Pronger route with Laich. We shall see.

  • Diller M

    On an unrelated note, I’ve got the corned beef boiling as we speak.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    NICKY BACKSTROM!!!!!!!!!!!! [shakes fist] https://twitter.com/ianoland/status/445313887916003328

  • MuzzMuzzington

    So say we all…

    Also, need to let CSN and everyone know to run a quick featurette of ‘Superfan Ian Oland’ and zoom in on his numerous times during the game.

  • Graham Dumas

    Actually, I wonder if we might get more bang for our coaching buck if we swapped out these guys for a Random Number Geneator and the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sound Board (special teams).

  • Graham Dumas

    The comcast guys were talking about him “walking better” than before, so signs not great I would assume, if that’s their measure of improvement.

  • Diller M

    Laich shut down, cue the dirge, Wellman makes the trip?

  • Marky Narc

    Nice. Very well played.

  • Pat Magee

    Because quoting Samuel L Jackson is a thing. And it’s a funny thing to say

  • RY

    Good luck in the snow, all

  • yv

    Good win but Caps on their own now. No help anywhere even from Pens, maybe only Sharks will finish Rangers tonight. Caps need to win 3 more games than Flyers, Rangers or Cbus in remaining 13-14 games or 10 out of 13. California would be brutal.

  • Pat Magee

    This cali road trip is gonna tell us if we make the playoffs. I say if we bring home 4-6 points, it’ll be a success. Gotta play well down the stretch run, and we have the past few years, regardless of coach!

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

    I think it’s gonna be mild up here in Frederick.

    SO ready for spring.

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

    gag

  • yv

    First line producing nothing at ES for long time. Oates has been forced to do something and it looked like helped in the 3 period. Without first line Caps cant win too many games.

  • Lawrence

    ROFL but yeah that was very sweedish of him.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Gonna be hot here boys. Bring your trunks and put 2Pac on blast.

  • Roman Z.

    Am I doing this right?

    http://youtu.be/qZ9weWC3g3c

  • Heidi

    Good thing the Caps had a THREE goal lead

  • Rob W.

    Roenick was saying how classy he was for it, so i guess i have to not hate him so much

  • Hockey mom

    They really need to create a “The Freaks Come Out At Night” segment and show all the crazies that go to all the games…Ian can make his debut on that, add the green sweatshirt guy, Ovi beard guy, surely there are a few I’m missing, but you get the idea…

    Lots of entertainment to be had!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRzSc8Mkr8c

  • Dave Fry

    The caps have to be one of the worst East Coast teams out west. That could be an article with diagrams haha

  • John M

    Maybe one of Backstrom’s allergies is scoring goals. He seems to do it as rarely as possible.

  • John M

    I have to disagree…I want the Caps to either start playing better or miss the playoffs. Sneaking in at the end again will only cover up the lack of organizational direction this team is showing. Either Oates or McPhee needs to go (preferably Oates) unless they show some signs of hope for the future. They were on a tear of positive possession after the Olympics and maybe Grabo’s return can facilitate the same. But for now I’d rather the losses pile up than smoke screen victories.

  • Matthew Kory

    I hate you for making me play that.

    CalifornIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  • Matthew Kory

    Hold on to your butts!

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

    I see you

  • Matthew Kory

    I wanted to write “Hold on to your butts!” but since I made that comment downthread disqus won’t let me. So now I’m going to be the only one holding my butt. Thanks a lot, disqus!

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

    I loved that song BEFORE THE TV SHOW

    I AM THE ORIGINALLLLL
    I remember when Jason Schwartzman was a DRUMMER

  • Roman Z.

    Haha I’m not ashamed! Brings back memories from my teens

  • Rhino40

    I hate…corned beef
    Rhino Sadz

  • Rhino40

    Consider the big picture, Ian:
    Perhaps Nicky doesn’t hate you at all. Perhaps he is simply trying to get the Hockey Gods to stop hating the Caps.
    Then again, perhaps he heard about your bet and–having that morbid sense of humor that Scandinavians are famous for–really wanted to see how you would react to losing that bet.
    I kid, of course.

  • Rhino40

    Don’t be too hard on JR: Although I will never forgive him for spurning the Caps in favor of Philthy, one must remember that he kind of has to suck up to Milbury to remain employed at NBCSN.

  • Rhino40

    Oates’ line combinations can’t be random.
    IIRC, Tom Wilson has yet to skate on the top line, which he must eventually…even (especially?) if the line combinations are indeed random.

  • GuestZ

    Totes agree.

  • GuestZ

    Which would only give Ted an excuse to keep GMGM around. No bueno.

  • serpent

    Shoot! you jinxed it,hon.

  • Jonah

    i broke my ankle last year and once i started “walking better” i still had about 6 weeks before i touched the ice, and another 3 weeks before i was back in game fitness and trusted it enough to skate well. sorry to be a downer, but i have to keep it real.

  • Shaun Phillips

    I want both gone. Don’t see it happening right away though. I think GMGM knows he’s gone after the season and guessing Oates will be on a short-leash in the new season.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Guessing that means LTIR for Laich and can’t be bought out?

  • Matt McNeely