Photo: Debora Robinson
Alright, here we go.
The Caps’ Californian vacation is a crucible that will decide exactly of what this team is made. If the Caps can do the impossible and sweep these four games (the fourth at home against the Kings), they could once again make a late-season push for the postseason. With Tuesday’s narrow win over Bruce Boudreau and his Anaheim Ducks, those hopes are still alive.
Here’s how it all went down.
Joel Ward and the terrific third line did their thing again, crashing the net for the game’s first goal. The Ducks struck back as any Caps opponent would do: within the next minute. Before the first period was up, Troy Brouwer converted on the power play to give the Caps a one-goal lead.
The Caps survived a scoreless second period, but Mathieu Perreault found space and a screen to tie the game early in the third. That simply set the stage for Alex Ovechkin, who scored one of his cleanest Ovi shots from the Ovi spot. Halak fought off a late scramble by the Ducks.
Caps beat Ducks 3-2!
- Mathieu Perreault should never have been traded. He’s a good depth player on a great contract, and he’s adorable like a woodland creature. Looking at the Caps lineup on Tuesday, there’s a woodland creature-shaped hole in the middle of the roster. Sarcastically/naturally, Perreault struck in the third period– thanks to a casual vacancy in his slot and no Caps D particularly interested in shoving Ducks out of the crease. One of Anaheim’s best players all night.
- The Caps were forced (by themselves, so not actually forced at all) to kill a lengthy five-on-three early in the second period. Within a span of ten seconds, the Caps got busted on a sloppy change (too much dudes) and chucking the puck (delay of game). The PK unit got a bit of luck and some good coverage by Jaroslav Halak to kill it off. Those aren’t encouraging penalties for a team mounting a standings rally, but at least it didn’t burn ’em this time.
- Speaking of Halak, here’s another consecutive start for the undisputed number-one goalie in Washington. He was excellent, and there’s something perversely fun about watching robbing a team coached by Bruce Boudreau.
- The Capitals got thrashed in puck possession during even strength– which was definitely a factor in committing all those penalties– but they made up for it with deadly efficiency on the power play. The Caps PP is still the best part of this team’s game, and they’re still pretty good at drawing penalties in the first place. They’d be even better if they were stronger at evens.
- Brandon Wheat Kings reference on the broadcast? Chris Gordon doing the sup nod on the broadcast? Good broadcast.
- Eric Fehr caught a scary puck up high, but did not leave the play. Visors, y’all. Check ’em out.
- Jonas Hiller was fantastic in the second period, stopping a whole bunch of strong Caps chances– including an amazing one by Jason Chimera in the final minutes of that frame.
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 46th with the game-winner, a quintessential Ovi shot from the Ovi spot. That wasn’t enough for him– he peppered Hiller with shots during a late-game powerplay, hungry for moar. Looks like his little lull in shots last week is over, which is very good news. You wanna hear Walton call Ovi’s goal? Me too.
Adam Oates really stuck to his lines. Ovechkin played every second of his 5v5 time with Jay Bodenheimer Beagle (4 PIMs) through late in the game. The Mojo-Beagle-Ovi line wasn’t really bad at all, keeping possession about even despite the Ducks playing from behind all night.
What didn’t work: the Penner-Wellman-Wilson line. There’s no there there. I’ve got no clue what Penner’s role is supposed to be on this team. Well, I know what George McPhee wants his role to be. I just don’t know what Oates is intending with him — or that fourth line in general.
I do know this: if Oates puts Penner-Wellman-Wilson up against the Los Angeles Kings, they’ll get shredded. Take it the the bank. The blood bank, Senator Trent.
But I’m gonna default to playoff mode. I don’t care how they win. I merely care that they’ve won.
The Caps now leave Vanaheim and climb Yggdrasil to the realm of Angels.
One down. On to the next one. Crash the net.
RT if pajamas
— RMNB (@russianmachine) March 19, 2014