Worth Staying Up For: Kings beat Caps 2-1 (SO)

Mark J Terrill

Photo: Mark J. Terrill

Thursday night was the centerpiece of the Washington Capitals’ three-game trek through California: a crucial clash with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are the best team in the league (imho) and my pick, again, to win the Cup. The Caps would need to play above their heads and get a little lucky to best the best. They didn’t and they weren’t, so they didn’t. But they did pilfer a huge standings point, and that could mean a lot on at the end of the regular season.

The Kings struck first, with Anze Kopitar stuffing a puck dealt by Gaborik uncannily behind Halak’s pads. The scoring stifled after that until Evgeny Kuznetsov served up Joel Ward in the slot, who connected on his second stab. That took us into overtime, which was exciting as whoa, but yielded no decision.

Shootout bullets!

  • Kopitar spazzes out.
  • Kuznetsov nails it over Quick’s right pad.
  • Carter converts with speed and one deke.
  • Ovechkin gets lost in the five hole.
  • Gaborik roofs it all casual-like.
  • Backstrom blows it.

Kings beat Caps 2-1 (Shootout). Solid road game.

  • But first, the StrexCorp Out-of-town Scoreboard! You know that one team you were rooting for to win? Yeah, they lost. All of them. Pittsburgh lost to Detroit in OT and the Jackets beat the Habs. The Caps have to make up ground, but that’ll have to happen another night (or morning if you’re reading this Friday like a normal human).
  • Before either team got anything going, Tom Wilson fought fellow face-puncher Kyle Clifford. It was a long bout without much of an outcome except perhaps to diminish expectations for a dude I still think can play top six minutes. Okay, he can definitely play more than eight minutes a night.

  • That Anze Kopitar goal is kind of how I’d expect the Kings to score: chasing the puck into the zone, winning the race, and using their speed to get shots off. Against a team like this, the Caps really need John Carlson to beat Marian Gaborik there and get the icing call.
  • CSN started talking about Corsi and Fenwick during the second period. That was odd. Were I them and were it my job to explain complicated concepts to laypeople (which, hey, that actually is my job), I’d leave the terms of art out of it. No proper nouns like “Fenwick” or “Corsi,” just “shot attempts” and “possession.” If you say that shot attempts mean the Kings have the puck 56.4% of the time, people are gonna understand you.
  • The Caps flatlined at the beginning of the second period, which is when the Kings’ total freaking dominance asserted itself. Jaro Halak bailed out Washington, particularly in the five-minute stretch when the Kings got 14 shot attempts to the Caps’ zero.
  • The end of the second and dawn of the third period found the Caps reinvigorated. Tom Wilson had a great play early in the third where skated up the boards and drew a hold by staying strong on the puck. More of that please.
  • Meanwhile, Nick Backstrom committed a hold and a hook, the latter of which really shorted out the Caps’ third-period offensive push. I don’t know what has got into him, but Backy’s penalties are noticeably up this season.

backstrom

  • I’m still trying to get a read on Chris Brown. I think he seems like a good skater, but going up against a team like the King isn’t exactly a good exhibition for a noob.
  • There is literally no one online as I’m writing this. Everyone went to sleep during the first period. Twitter is this sad place full of people whose productivity will suffer at work tomorrow. I’m writing this for me. It’s like RMNB 2009 all over again.
  • That was the first Capitals game to go to the shootout since January. After going gimmick crazy at the beginning of the season, stuff kinda quieted down, didn’t it?

Joe B suit of the early morning

Again: playoff rules are in effect. I don’t care about possession stats. That’s a good thing, because the Kings stomped a mudhole tonight.

The Caps had no reason to expect a loser point or a win, but they played thick and proud. They truly did limit high-risk shots by LA, and Halak was good enough to stop the remainder. A win would’ve been fantastic, but an overtime loss doesn’t sting at all.

Let’s talk Kuzya. Evgeny Kuznetsov is racking up an assist per game right now. He’s got moves for days, rejuvenating a team that can look a bit pedestrian at times. He had an excellent debut in the skills competition. I don’t know how Kuznetsov will project over months and years, but it’s fair to say he’s making an impact already.

Goodness. What a game. After 35 kinda lame minutes, the Caps looked pretty terrific when fighting for their lives. Ward remained a magical unicorn, and overtime was exhilarating. That one standing point may mean the world in April.

Good luck sleeping tonight.

P.S. – Come to our party! RFD! Caps at Sharks! It’s on Saturday night! The Caps never win this game!

  • Chris Cerullo

    Ovechkin needs to just shoot the @#$%$#@ puck. Loser point isn’t enough when everyone in the East got two points tonight.

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

    shootout slapshot— needed

  • Jack Conness

    TOUGH loss but I thought the Caps played a real good game. I will take a point. Three out of four points so far. Can’t complain. After watching this game though, I think it is pretty obvious the Caps are REALLY missing Grabo and Laich. Beagle, Wellman/Brown just can’t do it. Every line, minus the 3rd line, is struggling. I did think the 4th line (Penner and Wilson) had very good games and Kuzya had an AWESOME game!

    Like it or not, Halak has proved himself to be our starting goaltender. He has been great in the net and I hope he keeps it up.

  • Andrew Walker

    Can someone please tell me why, with such an abysmal percentage, Ovi is still on the shootout roster? I mean, he’s great in general, but not so much on the shootout.

  • Owen Johnson

    Ok, Ovi is a great player ‘n all, but he sucks in the SO. Why does Oates still have him go?

  • Kyle Reid

    Seriously. Saw the shootout list and knew at best we would only get two.

  • patljr7

    Oates needs to F’ing go, players should be pissed. He lost us that game, Ovie sucksat S/O quit kissing his ass and grow balls to sit him Adam

  • Eric Schulz

    Kuz; that was dirty.

  • huski3s17

    still awake ;) (and upset we lost) in Australia where it is still light out

  • Rob W.

    We need to steal the Kings defensive playbook, those guys were unreal (our guys played great too). I just wish we had a little more 5v5 offense. I might get some slack for this but i dont think sending Ovi out for one of the first 3 shots in the SO is smart. I hope we can end the long losing streak saturday in SJ

  • Red

    Fantastic game by our boys. I’m really proud of them for this one. The way LA plays is absolutely brutal. Combine that with the stone wall known as Quick, and you’ve got a seemingly unbeatable team. Quite a thrill to see my team go toe-to-toe with the juggernaut. This was a full game effort, from beginning to end, with a ton of heart from all the lines. I would feel this way regardless of the result. This was their best game of the season for me so far.

    Kuzya is starting to give me chills the way Ovi used to; when I know something cool is about to happen, I just don’t know what. He’s got that something special.

    Btw, there’s a ton of Caps fans in Cali! I had no idea. Way to represent guys! Now lets go hunt some Sharks.

  • Luis Riveros

    Wait…so you’re telling me Ovi was in the Allstar shootout challenge at one point?……nah!

  • Adam Schwager

    Why OV over F16? WHY ADAM WHY?

  • Jonathan Garcia

    I’m even more excited for Saturday’s game now. I think any of us would be stoked if you said the Caps were going to get 3 of 4 points in the first two games of the trip.

  • Eric Schulz

    Eh, I thought we did an excellent job possessing the puck and drawing penalties. In the final 7 or so minutes of regulation, Brown got tripped at the exact same time Wilson got interfered with, then the very next trip down the ice, Kuznetsov got held behind the net (with the puck) shortly before Ward got checked down to the ice while near the front of the net (without the puck). And going through the neutral zone before that 2nd possession, Locker said that Doughty lassoed somebody. I didn’t see it; I was busy complaining to a friend about the officials calling weak shit on us and ignoring obvious shit against us.

  • Eric Schulz

    Why Ovie over anyone?

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah, we played amazing in regulation and the OT, but let’s fire a coach for his shootout decisions… that’s totally a strategy that isn’t monumentally stupid.

  • Big Chuck

    How can you not love Kuzya? The shootout was icing on the cake, but the kid has the vision, thehands of a god, more moves than a game of twister, and forechecks like a bad mama-jama!

    )))))))))best))))))))

  • James Desautels

    What a goalie duel tonight. Halak has been Halaking everything in his path since the deadline. I love Kuzya and am ready to be his best friend as soon as he tweets me a shout. Maybe I’m delirious from lack of sleep this work week. Good thing tomorrow’s Friday and no one does anything productive on Fridays am I right?

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Blame Oates for putting Ovechkin in there. Like come on, who the hell puts someone in the shootout, in a much needed win with a record of 2-15 on the year in the shootout. Ugh! Hope he gives his head a shake and doesn’t put him in there again, if we again go to the shootout before the season ends, but of course he’ll put him in there, 15 attempted already…

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

    I’m actually okay with this! http://www.extraskater.com/game/2014-03-20-capitals-kings#player-on-ice-stats Look at that surge at the end!

  • brian!
  • Myan

    What an up and down game for Kuzya. He looked taken aback at the physicality in the beginning but once again he showed his creative brilliance at the end there. What a pass for the Ward goal and what a shootout goal! Well done.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    win some coin flips, lose some coin flips

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Also, i am really happy Kuznetsov is finally with us, looking like a point per game player. #worththewait

  • patljr7

    Would’ve rather seen Holtby take the shot

  • Myan

    Ugh Jonathan Quick. GO AWAY.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Well I agree Oates should be fired but not based on this game or shootout alone.

  • Ash

    Sorry. D- on this. Take it home and do it again.

  • Eric Schulz

    Brown impressed me. I was already very happy to acquire him; this didn’t really change a whole lot, but it helped solidify my opinion. I thought he played quite well, and smart. He’s a nice physical presence. I don’t want to see him up here too much for the rest of the year, but I’m bullish on his future.

  • Myan

    Yuuuuuppp

  • Andrew Walker

    Agreed. He looked good out there.

  • Ash

    Having at least three points on this road trip has already made me very happy, considering who we’re playing. It would have been awesome to get the third point tonight, but seriously, a rego win and a SO loss are better than what I think many of us expected.

  • Myan

    Why didn’t we go Kuzya, Fehr/Brouwer, Backstrom?? Seriously, we need these points and you’re going to send out a guy that’s 2 for 16??

  • Chris Cerullo

    Really okay with this in a tough place to play

  • Andrew Walker

    I miss the Paralyzer (in its heyday that is).

  • Roy Schue

    Sigh….where is the paralyzer when you need it, Hendricks you are greatly missed

  • Eric Schulz

    Again, I think Oates’ future is bright… I want him to be better NOW (particularly with the lineup), but I think we are better off keeping him and letting him go rather than firing him and starting over AGAIN. But yeah, I get the frustration with him… really, what bothers me most is, why haven’t we played like this ALL YEAR?! I feel like we’ve played excellent hockey the last 8 games… the 8th was against the Bruins, and we got shutout, but the defense was there.. and really, has been excellent (you know, by our standards… so, slightly above average) then and in every game since (mostly consistently).

  • maddyjl

    -Ovi in the shootout……a bunch of people mentioned it but just. why. whyyyyy.
    -Halak was HAWT tonight or was that just me?
    -Oh yeah can we talk about how awesome Dima was tonight too? He was all over the place!
    -Kuzya might be one of my new favorites if this keeps up. Yeah, maybe definitely a little bit at least.
    -WHY CAN’T WE FIGHT LIKE THIS EVERY GAME. I mean not fight….T Wills pls stahp….but, you know, figuratively. Sure our stats maybe I guess weren’t the greatest but we stayed in it because we actually like, ya know, played hockey for like a solid minute and it would be really cool if we could keep that up or something.
    I still am not sold on the idea that Oates isn’t a good coach. He makes some questionable decisions but aside from the things that are obviously his fault (i.e. Ovi on the shootout) it feels a lot like the players not implementing his system or even really playing half the time to me. But that’s just my inexperienced eye talking and maybe I’m wrong.

  • Andrew Walker

    Haha, great minds.

  • JenniferH

    I’m up! :) Man, I really thought we might have this one, especially when we got that OT PP. So close. But, why, oh, why does AO continue to put Ovi on the SO? Why? I love Ovi, but him and shoot-outs are not a thing? They not like peanut butter and jelly or Wardo and Chimmy. *sigh* Still, we got one point and I’m happy about that, and we played well alongside a top-tier team. So, go Caps!

  • JenniferH

    Right? Fehr is AWESOME in the shoot-out. That would have been a great line-up there.

  • Andrew Walker

    Yeah. I was hoping against hope for a win and was devastated at the loss, but, after I collected myself, I realized these boys just played some of the best damn hockey they’ve played in months.

  • Eric Schulz

    I agree on Oates… we’ve played very well in the last 8 games… not sure if it’s just that things are clicking… random… or just that our guys don’t, and won’t, care enough until it’s [probably] too late, and if we’ll have to go through this shit again next year… but as nice as it is to see them play this hard through our recent games, it’s equally frustrating that we didn’t play anything like this through the first half of the season. We would’ve had at least the inside track on a playoff spot.

  • Andrew Walker

    Yeah, that’s the important takeaway: when these guys want to, they can hold their own against the Ducks and the Kings. That’s something. If they’d played like this for even a few of the other games this season, we’d be in the playoffs for sure. Good things are ahead for this team. I can feel it.

  • yv

    in fact Ovi is 2 in 18, missed two PSs also. Instead of using his deadly wrist shot like Kopitar he keep trying to go 5 hole that’s not there.

  • Owen Johnson

    Haven’t won in SJ since I was in kindergarten. That will change Saturday!

  • Chris Cerullo

    We played atrocious against the Pens IMO.

  • JenniferH

    Not just his SO skillz, his heart and soul is still sorely missed. :(

  • Eric Schulz

    It was 2/14 at the time, not 2/15… so, it totally made sense. NOW he’s 2/15, so hopefully no more SO for Ovie.

  • patljr7

    I should always take about 10 minutes before typing anything after a loss. Yes we turned it on and played damn good hockey at the end of the 2nd through overtime. His lines are frustrating and i dont think he will ever give up that lefty on the left and righty on the right. gimmick

  • JenniferH

    I now always blame Adam Oates.

    For everything.

    Ever.

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t remember that… I believe I only saw the 2nd game, and I think we played well; yes, we lost, but I thought it was a 50/50 game. Can’t speak to the 1st one.

  • JenniferH

    I love how we’re trying to make rego a thing for Peter, LOL!

  • patljr7

    On the positive, Orlov and Wilson were beast tonight. Really liking Chris Brown as well

  • gustafsson16

    Overall, pleased with the performance tonight vs. a tough Kings team. Kuz is still sometimes lost out there but the kid is learning at a ridiculous rate and the pass to Ward was just amazing. Also particularly good games from Green and Orlov – some great pinches there to keep pressure on later in the game. Beagle on the first line still feels wrong, but without Grabo I dont see a serviceable alternative. Ovechkin didnt really seem into this game. Some uncharacteristic bad shots (not even on goal) from his spot. As for the shootout…I dunno. I get the feeling he is trying to “over-superstar” the play instead of just doing what he does best – score. The big wind-up from his own blue line, drifting super wide – its not the Skills Competition, just put it in! Maybe he will be the one learning from Kuz instead of vice versa. Ill take the one point tonight with hopes for another good effort against SJ. 2-0-1, 1-1-1, or 1-0-2 are far better records than I expected on this road trip.

  • Georgoroth

    :’(

  • ovi

    the first one we outplayed them and were robbed, the second one not so much

  • JenniferH

    I might get some slack for this but i dont think sending Ovi out for one of the first 3 shots in the SO is smart.

    LOL!

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Please, for the love of god, let’s not call him Kuz. He deserves better. let’s call him…Genie. Or Zhenya. Anything but Kuz.

  • Myan

    Ugh are you trying to make me cry? It seems odd to me that he keeps trying to stick handle and go five hole when he’s hardly successful that way. Why hasn’t the coaching staff recognized this and either A) not put him out there for SO or B) emphasize that he needs to take a shot from farther out? Doesn’t he know that the best thing about his game is the quickness of his release and pace behind his shots? It bothers me that at the 90% mark of the season, Ovi’s approach to penalty shots hasn’t changed.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah… that’s how I felt after last year’s huge push… and then we fell flat again… kind of getting tired of it. If we could keep Grabovski (likely) and Penner (I think we could, but it looks like we won’t try to keep him, which blows; dude is a beast on the forecheck), and supplement that with a 2nd pair D man and/or 3rd line two-way center, we should be able to make some noise… but I assume GMGM thinks our defense is the greatest, and he will again refuse to address it.

  • yv

    That was great game from Caps on both ends, however PP faulted and that was decisive. Caps had best chance to finish it on 4on3 and blew it big time. 94 points would be the playoffs pass, so Caps now need to get 17 points in 11 games, something like 8-2-1. If they play like today, very difficult but possible.

  • Eric Schulz

    I’d like Johansson at center… with Penner on the LW.

  • Eric Schulz

    I’m not sure blew it is right. We got some great chances, but credit the Kings with blocking some shots, and Quick as well…

  • Georgoroth

    Best in the league! #kisses

  • SleepyAlligator

    I see some people argue that Oates should stay and use the last 4 games as evidence. I totally disagree. If anything, the reason we have 7 points in the last 4 games is because of Halak and Kuznetsov. Kuzy is the reason we got the point tonight, and if Oates hadn’t put Ovi in the shootout, we might have left L.A. with two points. Oates is just lucky that we acquired these two players recently.

  • Eric Schulz

    It’s near the 50% mark of his career….

  • yv

    Maybe Kuzya’s beautiful attempts will persuade him to use his wrister.

  • JenniferH

    I agree with every word. I keep seeing all of these great pieces in play. They are there for the most part (with the suggestions you added), we could really go far, but alas… GMGM.

  • tim

    Kuzy?

  • gustafsson16

    Could work. Johansson always seemed to struggle on faceoffs which I think is what partially got he moved out to wing, but given our team struggles with faceoffs this year, apparently thats a part of the game we just dont care about so…yeah. Would like to see Penner get more minutes with offensive talent instead of getting Erat’d.

  • riggorules

    Penner is not a fourth liner.

  • Roy Schue

    Yes we miss everything about him, he was the hardest worker on the team

  • SleepyAlligator

    We haven’t had a consistent goalie all year, that’s why. Halak is the main reason for the points in the standings. We’re still losing the puck possession battle and getting outshot every game.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yes, exactly… we suck at faceoffs, it would be great to address it, but that ship has sailed… in addition to just wanting Penner to see LOADS more ice time (especially with Ovie – Ovie AND Backstrom – I think he would really make the game easier for those two, with his forechecking, and just hopefully doing some dirty work and putting a body in front of the net, that just seems like such a great fit), but I also want to see Johansson at center. I really loved the contract, and think he has some nice upside, but it’s kind of hard to see where he is; playing with Ovie and Backstrom obscures him a little bit, and makes it harder to judge his production. With Backstrom and Grabovski, I don’t see why he plays center, but you could see that *something* good comes out of Grabovski’s injury.

  • riggorules

    And he doesn’t even look threatening. I’m thinking maybe he’ll score if the goalie falls on his face.

  • Eric Schulz

    We played well… I’m not talking about points, I’m talking about process. We’ve actually played a lot better on defense, starting with the Phoenix game. We’re being more physical, and clearing the puck a lot better.. the PK is suddenly good too.

  • riggorules

    Agree. It’s back to coin-flip hockey hoping your goalie can stand on his head. In other words, unsustainable.

  • Eric Schulz

    The easy flipside is, we acquired Kuznetsov FOUR years ago… Oates also is working without Grabovski… Would you think this was a playoff team entering the year if we hadn’t signed Grabovski? I’m not sold on Oates, but he’s still VERY early in his career, and I think restarting with YET ANOTHER coach, and yet another system, isn’t the answer. I’d like to see Oates stay and see him improve. I mean, he’s also only working with 3 (sometimes 2) top-4 defenders. Not a great situation for him.
    I completely agree that Ovie can no longer be used in the shootout; I was sounding that bell months ago. Oates isn’t perfect, but I’m willing to be patient with him; it’s GMGM who needs to go. Not addressing our top-4 for a decade… thinking it’s good enough? Nope.

  • yv

    For Cal trip I’m watching their local feeds with very good commentators. Quite entertaining. They giving good words about Caps game. Quite a difference with NBC or some Canadian commentators, especially about Ovi despite he was off-target tonight. And Kuzya got some good attention later in the game. Praised his stick-handling, especially in his assist, that confuses Dmen.

  • Myan

    I’m not a fan of Oates and his “systems” but I think changing out Calle Johansson could go a long way to helping us improve our possession game. I think Oates needs someone more experienced on his coaching staff just to instill some common sense/wisdom. “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t let Ovi shoot tonight…Philly & Lumbus got 2 pts tonight and Ovi’s 2 for 16 on the season.”

  • Chris Cerullo

    In both games the Pens were equally as awful. Was abysmal from us though.

  • gustafsson16

    Couldnt agree more. The playmaker+big body net crasher+elite scoring talent is a proven winning line combination. I like all the flashy players with the nifty moves but you cant have all the pretty girls together – you have to have the ugly ones in there to which help make them stand out! Having Johansson with Backstrom has always been too much of the same thing (not that I would classifty them as close in skill level, but in type of playmaking forward). So you take a Penner-Backstrom-Ovechkin line together. Johansson needs to be in that Backstrom role on line 2 with say, Kuz and Brouwer (with maybe Wilson stepping into Brouwer’s spot someday).

  • SleepyAlligator

    No, we drafted him four years ago. Get yer facts straight.

  • Eric Schulz

    The Filthy Kuz… cuz his moves are nasty

  • gustafsson16

    Regardless of how this year turns out (which, lets face it – playoffs are a possibility, but going far in them is not), we have an extremely promising future. The kids have struggled, sure. But they are getting alot of great experience at an early stage in their development. Look at how many players age 22 or younger getting ice time this year: Brown, Orlov, Kuznetsov, Grubauer, Wey, Schmidt, Carrick, Wilson (off the top of my head) – thats nothing but positive future in the pipeline.

  • Eric Schulz

    Indeed… yeah, I love a 2nd of Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer… and yes, Wilson there would look good too, especially if you felt that he and Kuz Nasty were developing some nice chemistry.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah, that’s what I said.

  • Eric Schulz

    Agree… I mean, from an outsiders’ perspective, it’s impossible to know for sure about any of this shit, but I’m more comfortable blaming Calle Johansson for our defense than Oates. Oates clearly has been a boon for the PP.. the 5-on-5 isn’t where it needs to be, but offense comes from defense; when we have legit defenders at every spot (meaning: a 4th one) and can break out of the zone cleanly, consistently, then I think our 5-on-5 will start to really show life too; if not, then I’ll point the finger at Oates.
    Also, of course, I think GMGM is more to blame for the defense than Calle Jo; if he would fucking address it and give Calle Jo the right troops, I’m not sure how much better we would be, but it’s a pretty damn good excuse right now. Remove all excuses, GMGM.

  • Eric Schulz

    I couldn’t stand the Anaheim guys… probably more due to the game than them, honestly, and how all the shit from the whole season has built up… The thing I’ve really noticed watching other feeds, is A) Joe B and the Locker are EASILY the best in the business, B) Hockey announcers are CLEARLY the best, C) Buffalo’s announcer makes you want to kill yourself, D) so does Phoenix’s, E) Detroit’s are bad; being homers is one thing, but they don’t know the game either, which is mind-bottling, and F) Columbus’ really impressed me. The opposite of the Detroit situation.

  • Jason W.

    I’m glad this west coast trip came when I’m on spring break, cause I’d be sleeping If I was at school right now hahaha

  • Tadd

    Got up pretty damn early to watch the game against Kings. My almost 4 year old son also woke up, and he’s pretty interested in sports and likes to watch games with me. He’s pretty curious about stuff.

    - Who are the guys in white, daddy?
    - That’s the Washington Capitals, that’s daddy’s team.
    - And the guys in black.
    - That’s the Los Angeles Kings.
    - Oh. Okay. But.. why are there zebras on the ice?
    - Err. What?
    - The zebras? Why are there zebras on the ice?
    - Oh! That’s the referee’s, son.

    Hockey education, at 5:30am on a Friday morning in the middle of Sweden, folks.

  • JenniferH

    *sigh* Hendy. :(

  • JenniferH

    To be fair (and yes, based on my icon, I’m obviously biased), we had a consistent goalie at the start of the season and we’re riding high in the standings in Holtby. And then the goalie coach decided, ‘Hey! Let’s change how he’s been goaltending his entire life and see how that pans out because that’s what I’m comfortable with!’ Then instead of giving said previously consistent goaltender the chance to get back on his feet and play his way, the head coach decided to play a bunch of other goalies and keep benching Holtby. Yeah, so that happened.

    I’m assuming they won’t do the same with Halak. ;)

  • Begemot

    There is literally no one online as I’m writing this.

    Except we Caps fans out in LA!

  • VeggieTart

    Clearly there are maybe two people in the world who want to see Ovi in the shootout: Ovi and Adam Oates. Maybe the opposing goalie who knows it will be an easy stop.

  • Jim Kelly

    I stayed up here in Germany until 3:30 for the start, watched the first period and couldn’t stay up any later.

  • serpent

    The “kuz” is the offensive word here,guys.

  • Diller M

    Due Theory!

  • Jonah

    Awww shit man you just made me catch feels!
    It’s too early to catch feels!

  • Rhino40

    Like I said: the KGB Line…

  • Thomas Conner

    My guess about CSN showing #fancystats is that the only people who were up probably already know what it is.
    OR
    They just didn’t care and thought they’d test it out.

    Also, wish I could make the party but school/work is too busy.

  • Howie

    Goalie theory:
    Halak is doing well because he has not been subjected to Kolzig’s teaching’s. Holtby was better before this goalie coach. Don’t get me wrong, Kolzig was a great player, just not a good coach. Taking the Holtby-isms out of Holtby has changed him as a person and as a player. And goalie needs to be allowed to be peculiar, it’s why they are goalies, its what made Holtby good.
    Just like Calle, good defensive player but coaching is not what he is cut out for. Time to look for replacements on the coaching staff who will provide the Oatsey and the team a better direction.
    But someone other than GMGM (who also needs to be replaced) needs to make the pick, his record sucks.

  • Justin

    We really came alive in the 3rd, playing the type of hard-nosed West Coast hockey that the playoffs require. Glad the boys came away with at least a point for their effort last night.

  • R.O’B.

    alright can’t lie I was not up, but I’m with you Peter. Just get as many points as possible. I don’t care how, just make it happen.

    I’M SORRY I CAN’T COME PARTY. I made plans to see my best friend at JMU, Zoe is so mad at me. GAHHH I SUCK. Love you guys.

  • Justin

    I’m pretty sure Ovi is given a lot of leeway in terms of calling his own number for the shootout. His career SO numbers seem a bit gaudy for the way he’s been over thinking things this season. He needs to make one quick move and shoot; be as decisive in his approach as he was earlier in his career:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbRnhbiuFfY

  • Myan

    Totally agreed on great defense leading to offense. When I’m watching the games it just seems like Calle Jo doesn’t recognize when his defensive scheme isn’t working or he doesn’t know how to make the adjustments on defense to counteract what the other team’s offense is showing. You notice how EVERY TEAM plays that drop pass for a shot from the tops of the circles against us? They recognize that it’s a weak spot in our defense yet with 11 games to go in a full season, we’re still giving teams that chance.

  • Jimmie

    How am I the only person marveling at the “Welcome to Night Vale” reference?

    This blog does everything!

  • Shaun Phillips

    Penner won’t want to resign for 4th line minutes. We have Erat v2.0.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Don’t worry George, most people still blame you for a lot of the team’s problems (lack of C depth, lack of d-men depth, etc) too.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Not sure what you’re talking about with the Detroit announcers. Mickey Redmond (color commentary) played for 10 years, has 2 cups, and is in the Hall as an announcer, so he obviously does know the game. Ken Daniels has been doing play by play for almost 20 years with the Wings and was with the CBC before that. While I do love Joe B and Locker, to say Ken and Mickey are bad is just wrong.

  • Shaun Phillips

    You’d think with a former centerman as the coach, the Caps would be better at faceoffs.

  • Eddie

    I was actually up as you were writing this – had to watch Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac Vol. I” for review today. Paused the movie to check on the score a couple of times, and the last time I flipped over, I caught the Kings cheerleaders on the ice for a split second, which was long enough to see the 2-1 F/SO score at the bottom of the screen…
    It’s a good movie, by the way.

  • Lawrence

    Yeah, it’s like Ovi lost all his puck handeling skills. When he gets the puck during the game, he just seems to run out of moves. When is the last time we saw him TRY to deke a defensemen or a goalie? He just seems to lack confidence this year. Maybe those down years (under hunter and end of Bruce era) of trying to deke out defensemen have come back to haunt him.

    Summon my inner Bruce B – “YOUR MOPING AROUND LIKE THIS AND THAT, YOUR HANGING YOUR HEAD LIKE YOU GOT NO CHANCE AT SCORING. NOBODY LIKES PEOPLE WHO FEEL SORRY FOR THEMSELVES. YOU ARE THE BEST GOD DAMN GOAL SCOARER ON THE PLANET, SURELY THE **** YOU CAN DO THIS.”

  • Andrew

    At least our guys talk about stats other than Plus/Minus. I’ve (begrudgingly) watched the away-broadcasts the last two games and they WILL NOT SHUT UP about Plus freakin’ Minus.

  • LosAngelesCAPS

    I was in the house for both games. Did not expect to see that kind of effort from the caps for (most of) 60 minutes.

    Kings game had a Verizon center atmosphere but if the Verizon center had a house DJ that played EDM so even more over-produced. They really do have a house DJ. And draft beers were $11.75. Ducks game was normal and family oriented, like back in the Caps Centre days. Both sets of fans were knowledgeable and respectful even if I was screaming during clears on the 5 on 3 in Anaheim or Ward’s goal in LA.

    The crowds also really react to Ovi and his shot, probably because they never get to see it. You can hear amazement when ever Ovi has the puck on his stick or after he shoots 5 feet wide and cracks the boards. He is feared.

    One gentleman at the kings game remarked on my #42 shirsey that “Cam Ward isn’t playing today.” I reminded him then and later in the third what it is.

    Young russians are looking good. Orlovs skating with big confident strides and stepping up with the puck to clear the zone. Kuzya will get better at protecting the puck, a few times he seems to not notice when someone’s breathing down his neck, but godddam is he fun to watch.

    What happened to Penner?? No passion in either game and is doing the Ovi drift/glide. I heard some pancake chants in LA but not much abuse otherwise. I expected more against former teams but he seems to be taking the demotion hard.

    Loving their ability to compete in close games and hang with the best in the league. Keeping focused with no mental lapses (Mike Green…) is new but I’ll take it. Caps fans were well represented at both games. I’ll be there again for Wiz-Lakers tonight.

  • Owen Johnson

    Serious question. Have we scored against a 3 man PK all season?

  • Owen Johnson

    You forgot the worst homer of all.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfagzZgX_bE

  • VeggieTart

    I took a nap when I got home, got up around 9:15, ate some dinner, then watched the game. Figures it would go to a shootout when I have to be up at 6:00 in the morning!

  • VeggieTart

    San Jose announcers aren’t bad. Randy Hahn has been there for years.

  • VeggieTart

    Absolutely. Holtby needs someone who will play up his strengths and show him how to work with his natural tendencies–which is to be aggressive and challenge the shooter. I also think the three-goalie carousel in December mucked with his head more than anyone is saying.

  • Eric Schulz

    I have no idea how well they actually know the game; I just know that, when they talk about it, they sound like morons who have no idea what they are talking about. I’m not saying they don’t know it, just that they have no idea how to communicate even a modicum of that knowledge to the viewers/listeners.

  • John M

    “”No proper nouns like “Fenwick” or “Corsi,” just “shot attempts” and “possession.””” But this is hockey, which can’t give away a trophy or name a division (well) without invoking a proper name!

  • jj

    i would so much rather spend money on halak than grabovski. I am not high at all on Holtby. The excuses for him are infinite.

  • Jonah

    i think the line of him brown and wilson was a really effective fourth line. they were really good at forechecking and mucking it up below the dots. i hope that they can keep this type of play down the stretch. it’s the type of play that wins playoff games.

  • Jonah

    I’ve heard halak has some good hands…

  • Jonah

    the most infuriating thing about this team is that oates still believes that brouwer is a better player than wilson and penner. he does have worth on special teams, but he is nowhere near the potential physicality or skill that pancakes and willy have.