Photo: Patrick McDermott
The vibe was weird in Friday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. The Caps were playing for nothing but honor, but the Hawks were jockeying for playoff position. You couldn’t tell by the tilt of the ice. The Caps played a sloppy– but productive– game led by the team’s 1C, Jay Bodenheimer Beagle.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 51st goal of the year on the power play from the remotest bastion of the Ovi Spot. Jay Beagle took two swipes to make it 2-0. Nick Backstrom eliminated the two-goal lead with a no-angle bank shot off Antti Raanta’s buttocks. Beagle struck again before the second period was done because nothing makes sense in an absurd universe upon which all meaning is a deliberate projection.
Nothing in the third. Sorry, Jay.
Caps beat Hawks like a million to nothing.
Here is a picture of some beagles. No reason.
Marcus Johansson absorbed a rogue shot off Nick Backstrom’s stick somewhere in the body area. He did not return to the game. Even if the Caps win out and take some pride from this final week, an injury to Marcus would undercut a lot of those good feelings.
- Finally comfortable, Jaroslav Halak played his first game in a week. He was perfect, but you just know he’s still gonna leave his new Caps pads and helmet in his stall on teardown day.
- Mikhail Grabovski scored a hat trick against the Hawks way back in game one, when the world was full of hope and possibility, before cynicism crept in and the specter of doom loomed over us like a veil. Grabo looked just as dangerous tonight on multiple chances tonight, but got absolutely nothing. Bummer. Re-sign this dude.
- Jay Beagle, with two goals, is way too good for the fourth line. He should be promoted. Dmitry Orlov fed him a tasty pass for his first goal of the night. The third line wingers fed him number two. I rooted like hell for a hat trick goal, but nothin’ doin’. Tonight was Beags’ first multi-goal game of all time ever.
- Point of order: though we didn’t like Beagle on the top line, we still love the guy himself. He’s a solid freaking grinder, and the Caps are lucky to have him. Please don’t mistake our dislike of his deployment for dislike of the player himself. Dude rules. Needs a new phone though. And better taste in music. And he shoulda buried that chance in the last two minutes. But overall: Like.
- Adam Oates is definitely loosening up the benches down the stretch— either because of the score or because of his existential crisis. Tom Wilson cracked ten minutes, which is like 5 or 6 shifts more than he got during the season. That matters to me. I guess.
So the Caps aren’t phoning in their last few games. I kind of am though. My bust, y’all. I love the team and I love you, but it’s hard to pore over this game like it’s the last couple chapters of A Dance Of Dragons. I guess this thing doesn’t mean that much.
One game to go, and then a whole lot of talking.