Photo: Mike Stobe
With a 1.2 percent chance of a postseason, the Washington Capitals were basically playing for pride against the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. I’m supposed to be analyzing these games in addition to just recapping them, but I’m having a hard time sussing out exactly what we just watched.
Are they thick and proud? Are they a mess? Is all coming together? Is there any urgency? Are they surging late? Have they given up?
I’m gonna go with contradictory yes across the board. The Caps went into a two-goal hole, and then climbed out, and I don’t know what to make of that.
Cal Clutterbuck struck first for the Isles, taking advantage of the Brouillette-Strachan defensive pairing. Evgeny Kuznetsov tied it up in the second period after a pass from Marcus Johansson that was either brilliant or dumb luck. The Isles struck back 90 seconds later, as a Caps opponent is wont to do. Frans Nielsen made it 3-1 for the Isles on an iffy goal, but Nicky Backstrom returned fire a little after the halfway mark by cleaning up a broken play. The third line (Mojo edition) continued to be insane-o with Joel Ward’s game-tying goal, his 23rd of the season.
The third period was quiet. Too quiet. Overtime too. So, here we go again…
- Nielsen got denied.
- Kuznetsov roofed it.
- Strome got padded.
- Grabo also got padded.
- Nelson, who is not Nielson, got stopped.
Caps beat Isles 4-3 in the shootout. Yey.
- I think that was the last game the Caps will ever play in Nassau. Good.
- Dustin Penner has an upper-body injury, so Aaron Volpatti took his role on the first line. Wait, I’m being handed a note. It turns out Dustin Penner has been playing on the fourth line in Washington. RMNB regrets the error.
- Tom Wilson hit a dude hard (but clean imho). Per the idiocy of the modern-day NHL, he was immediately challenged to a fight to defend his actions. Whatever dude. Here’s the video, if you’re into that kind of thing.
- Who could have possibly imagined that the Brouillette-Strachan defensive pairing would get scored on?
- Per your girl Katie Carrera, that makes 29 quick strike goals against the Capitals this season. Per your boy Neil Greenberg, that’s tied for the worst total in the salary-cap era.
- I now direct your attention to our GIF post regarding the failed Caps breakout. Jason Chimera and Mike Green collided in front of the Caps net, which is the sort of the thing you wanna see never, least of all when a team is playing for naught but pride. Green did not return to the game, which makes me wanna use swear words.
- I think this bullet is mostly filler.
- No fifty goals for Ovi tonight. We did get a boneheaded roughing penalty from him, so there’s that.
- The third line is still the third line no matter who is in the center slot. Grabo, Erat, Fehr, and now Marcus Johansson. It’s just a magical hockey friendship between Jason Chimera and Joel Ward, the latter of whom is the team’s second best scorer. I choose to interpret that positively. The third line had something around 60% possession.
- The Caps PP is still bleeding shorthanded chances. Oates’ biggest accomplishment is looking nastier by the day.
- How many players have scored their first career goal against the Caps this season? Feels like a lot. That seems like the kind of stat we’d report, but here we are.
I got nothing. What’s the right way to talk about the remainders of a lost season? It seems wasteful to pick on the team, and I don’t even feel like I’ve got a grasp on whether or not they were any good tonight. We’ve been over all the problems on the team. The only thing we can add to that list is a possible injury to Mike Green.
Have a great weekend. Catch you on Tuesday for more motions to go through.