With just one week left in the NHL regular season, the Capitals are sitting comfortably in the Metro standings. With a regulation win over the Ottawa Senators tonight, Washington could guarantee a playoff appearance.
(I am constitutionally and stylistically opposed to the typical clinching idiom. I literally hate it literally.)
Game is at 7 PM on CSN. I’ve got a bunch of family in town, so Chris Gordon will be recapping the game in my stead.
What’s that thing called? That thing when you have the puck and then you shoot it at the other team’s net? It’s a word that’s like “trying to score” except it’s one word instead of three, and I think Canadians pronounce it wrong.
Whatever it was, it was missing in Montreal for most of Thursday night. The Capitals played a lot of defense, but less so of the other thing until they had surrendered the lead. Then Alex Ovechkin did his thing: spat in the dirt, said nyet, and made this a goddamn game.
Enjoy this one.
It was the Canadiens who scored first, with Jeff Petry beating Braden Holtby after a penalty expired early in the second period. Joel Ward struck back with a lovely rush goal on an odd-man rush, and then Alex Ovechkin broke Peter Bondra’s all-time scoring lead with an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot. The Canadiens instantly returned fire with goals by Tom Gilbert and Lars Eller– thanks to bad defense and badder bounces, respectively.
The Caps earned a power play in the third, and Alex Ovechkin converted it to tie the game with nine minutes remaining. John Carlson unleashed a bomb from another power-play, maybe tipped by Joel Ward, to give the Caps a late lead. With Curtis Glencross in the box for a silly penalty, PK Subban scored a gorgeous game-tying goal to force overtime
Galchenyuk did not put the biscuit in the basket.
Kuznetsov did not put the biscuit in the basket. Stupid post.
Desharnais did not put the biscuit in the basket.
Backstrom did not put the biscuit in the basket.
Parenteau did not put the biscuit in the basket. Flashy glove save.
Ovechkin did not put the biscuit in the basket. Hart showdown.
Patches did not put the biscuit in the basket. Diving save by Braden.
This is it. This is the final stretch of the regular– sorry, #rego– season. From here until the 11th, the Caps will face a gauntlet of tough teams, all of whom are in the playoff race. We begin tonight with the Montreal Canadiens. If the playoff started today, two things would be true:
the Caps would face the Habs in the first round
you’d be like wtf mate, s’pose t’be 82 games
(Also you’d be Australian, I guess.)
A ton of stuff can and will change between now and the final game of the season, especially if you look at the Metro standings, but I like the way it all looks. Puck drops at 7:30 PM on CSN.
What a great game. The Capitals beat the Hurricanes in a must-win game. Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th. All the goals were pretty rush goals. That was a blast.
Mike Green scored first, on the rush, like a boss, as Curtis Glencross crashed the net. Then Alex Ovechkin hit the 50-goal mark for the sixth time with a lovely wrister from the high slot.
The Canes evened it up in the second period with goals by Nathan Gerbe (thanks to Alex Semin) and captain Eric Staal, but before we hit the second intermission Jason Chimera found Brooks Laich driving to the net to restore the Caps lead, which Joel Ward supersized with a late-period goal off Alex Ovechkin’s perfect pass.
A big part of our mission here at RMNB is to explore different ways to enjoy hockey, which is maybe why some people take offense when we write about the players as human beings with human personalities. I can’t think of many ways to look at hockey that I would consider “invalid,” but right now I can think of one way that is essential.
Tonight Alex Ovechkin will try to record his sixth 50-goal season. Doing so would join him in history with some of the best scorers in hockey history, which is precisely where he belongs. One goal from Ovi would also tie him with Peter Bondra for most in franchise history.
And, most immediately, one goal from Ovi might win a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. This is one of the last so-called “easy” games left– if the Caps wanna jockey their way up the standings, a W tonight is pretty much mandatory.
On March 29, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
The view from MSG’s bridge, from Caps Road Crew
Brutal weekend. Or at least it would have been without the best player in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin. The New York Rangers looked speedy and cohesive, whereas the Capitals looked discombobulated and panicky– but Alex Ovechkin grabbed this game by the horns and tamed it like a folk hero. Jason Chimera had a huge third period, and all of a sudden a nightmare weekend wasn’t so bad after all.
Alex Ovechkin started us off just four minutes in, carrying the puck into the Rangers zone and using the D as a screen to beat Cam Talbot. The next two goals belonged to New York: the first Kevin Hayes’ solo effort after John Carlson’s woeful turnover, the second Derek Brassard’s rush goal after Niskanen’s bad pinch.
Ovechkin struck again in the second period, using Joel Ward as a screen to knot the game heading into the final period.
Jason Chimera scored twice (I know, right?!) in the third period– both times by crashing the net and both times with the help of Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr. Marcus Johansson got the empty netter as soon as Cam Talbot left the crease.
I’ve got mixed feelings about yesterday’s loss to the Nashville Predators. The first period was genuinely awful, and the game was filled with all sorts of narrative wretchedness concerning former teams and abandoned prospects, but the Caps put up an honest comeback effort, and Troy Brouwer’s contributions shouldn’t be dismissed.
That said, it’s all in the past now. Barry Trotz made some noise about having no short-term memory in this final stretch. I see the virtue in that. As the Caps prepare to take on the Rangers, I hope they can leave their behinds in the past.
On March 28, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Mike Green scored with one of your sticks.
If you turned off Saturday’s Capitals-Predators game after twenty minutes, I’m worried for you. Yes, it was ugly at that point, but the Caps team of the game’s latter two-thirds wasn’t so bad. If you tuned out, you’d have missed Troy Brouwer’s hero pose and Mike Green’s Ovi spot routine. It was still a brutal loss, but it wasn’t such a bad game after all.
The Caps actually looked pretty good for ten minutes, but after failing to convert a 4v3, the Predators took over. First it was Mattias Ekholm, whose pretty backhand goal came right after the Caps power play expired. Then Mike Fisher took the wheel after Karl Alzner lost his stick and a battle in the crease to Filip Forsberg. Speaking of that dude, Forsberg broke our hearts and ended Holtby’s afternoon with a solo scoar.
That all happened in the first damn period.
The second found Troy Brouwer scoring twice, his 19th and 20th of the season, to put the Caps within striking distance. Things were looking up, but then Mike Ribeiro, who is probably a garbage human being, gave the Preds their fourth goal.
Mike Green put the Caps back within one just 20 seconds into the third, scoring on a Greenie shot from the Ovi spot with his Stealth. The Capitals ratcheted up the pressure late, but Pekka Rinne held onto the lead.
Now begins a tough weekend for the Washington Capitals. There’s the two early games against two very high-achieving teams, the Nashville Predators today and the New York Rangers tomorrow. There’s also the untidy narratives surrounding today’s game, specifically Barry Trotz playing his old team, who got better when he left, and the “return” of Filip Forsberg to Verizon Center, where he never really played as a Capital, but you know what I mean.
On March 26, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
The Capitals hadn’t played a game since the late 80s (okay, Saturday), so they looked rested and dialed-in for most of Thursday’s home game against Adam Oates and the New Jersey Devils. Then the third period happened, wherein the Capitals played a prevent defense, which is about as effective as the rhythm method is at birth control.
Inconceivably, Karl Alzner scored first, wandering deep in the offensive zone, where Oates did think him naughty for being there. Eric Fehr doubled down in the second period because he’s terrific, but then Travis “Pat” Zajac cashed in on one of the Caps’ many power-play turnovers. The Caps surrendered the possession game in the third period and relied way too much on Braden Holtby. Steve Bernier tied it up in the final thirty seconds to force overtime, but who cares– Matt Niskanen fired the niscannon to get the OTGWG. (Or maybe Kuznetsov tipped it? Doesn’t matter. CAPS WIN!)