The pain of the playoffs usually goes like this: the Caps are dominating play but can’t crack the goalie. They do everything right, but they just can’t hit the back of the net.
Game Two was the exact freaking opposite. The Caps were on their heels from the drop, but Flyers goalie Steve Mason wasn’t exactly Halak-like in his crease work. A trio of goals in the first forty made this a solid win, and that curious reversal of fortunes made Saturday night actually kind of pleasant and fun. That’s not the Caps playoff hockey I know, but I could get used to it.
John Carlson scored first, using patience and a couple screens to crack Steve Mason. And crack he did. Mason next allowed a high-fiber softy from Jason Chimera early in the second period. Jakub Voracek narrowed the score by seizing on a loose puck, but Alex Ovechkin got an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot before the second intermission to make it 3-1.
With two minutes and change left in the third, Nick Backstrom got himself on the ledger, zipping a
glove stick-side goal on poor Steve Mason. Locker called it “icing on the cake,” which reminds me– we should eat some cake!
Caps beat Flyers 4-1! Caps lead the series 2-0!
Just before four AM this morning, I pulled myself from bed, took my medication, and crawled back upstairs. But I never went back to sleep. Playoff hockey is here. Time to grab the wine. Things are about to get real.
After a sluggish start, John Carlson opened the scoring with a blast from the point. Naturally, there were 38 minutes of penalties, but skill won out in the end — especially after Jay Beagle’s late third-period insurance goal. Caps blank Flyers 2-0! One-nil series lead.
This game meant nothing to the Washington Capitals, but for their opponent a Pacific Division title was on the line. Former Capitals bench boss Bruce Boudreau came back to Verizon Center for the first and only time this season, except for when somebody thought it was a good idea to send the Anaheim Ducks to the phone booth during a blizzard that kept me trapped on my street for four days.
The Mites on Ice played a better game than the Washington Capitals. They were probably playing for popsicles or something.
Anyway, the Caps didn’t score while Corey Perry tallied his 34th goal of the season and Nick Ritchie — rejected Jersey Shore character — tipped in his second of the year. Ducks blank Caps 2-0.
Photo: Scott Rovak
The 2015-16 regular season is about to draw to a close, and the Caps gave us plenty to look forward to as the playoffs rapidly approach. Tonight was also #RMNB9, during which many of you gathered at RFD to drink, cheer, and generally be merry. On behalf of everyone who couldn’t make it (because you live in Siberia or just celebrated your twelfth birthday), I hope you had a fabulous time. I will live vicariously through your Instagram photos (and Chris’s groovy live blog.)
With a three-game win streak under their belt (and the Western Conference title at stake), the Blues were fierce in the first, at first. The first period was a hoppin’ twenty minutes of Russian-sanctioned offense. Despite surrendering the first goal to Vladimir Tarasenko, the Caps rebounded nicely via two fantabulous, consecutive Alex Ovechkin goals.
The resurgence didn’t end there, as the second period was hardly devoid of offense. We witnessed the continued resurrection of John Carlson, as well as Jason Chimera proving that scoring goals is a better antidote to aging than Botox.
The Caps didn’t play a hard, grinding sixty minutes. They didn’t need to. Cruising into the third period with a 4-1 lead speaks for itself, especially when coupled with the Blues’ lackadaisical play. And lest we forget, the Caps have a grueling, bone-crushing series against the Flyers in the not-too-distant future. Although, the pace picked up in the third period, and the Caps began to make Braden Holtby work–just a little bit–for his milestone, record-tying win.
Caps beat Blues, 5-1!
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP
It’s game 80 for the Washington Capitals this season. I cannot think of a more perfect time to go all Adam Oates and force new things down Caps fans’ throats. On our end, RMNB tried out a new in-game live blog, where you got to interact with Chris. But not me. I’m the actual Chris. His name is Chris From The Comments, because he doesn’t have the credentials to blow up the site at will. From the Caps, got some new lines and D-pairs from Barry Trotz, which might be the way the Capitals lineup looks when we start the playoffs. Braden Holtby was in net because you sure as hell know why Braden Holtby was in net. Pens had won 13 of 14. So let’s do this.
Well, on second thought, let’s not. Forty-four seconds into the game, the Capitals’ defense crumbled like a nomination before the Senate — except the Capitals were trying even less.
Early in the second, Matt Cullen scored yet another goal in the first minute of the period, His shorthanded goal seemingly crush the Caps’ hopes. Then the Caps killed a five-minute penalty (Tom Wilson, natch) only to surrender a five-hole goal to Connor Sheary on an odd-man rush soon after. Thank goodness for Marcus Johansson, who finally got the Caps on board late in the period.
In the third, Joe Hanson was money yet again, turning the rest of the third period into a grudge match against the league’s hottest team. Just over three minutes later, another perfect Swedish and adorable and awesome player named Andre Burakovsky CRASHED THE FREAKIN’ NET and tied the game. This is why you watch sports.
What happened later is why you never want to watch sports again. Sidney Crosby in the extra frame. Pens beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
Our final week of regular season hockey began with Metro foes, the New York Islanders. Backstopped by a person who I can only assume is familiar with goaltending, the Isles were disadvantaged but not helpless.
Like all good hockey games, this one began with a goal by Alex Ovechkin, a wide shot following a faceoff. John Tavares tied it in the second period with a weird goal that escaped Braden Holtby’s glove hand.
The top line struck twice in the third period with goals by Oshie and Ovi, but Kyle Okposo got a gritty goal shortly after to keep it tense. A frenetic forecheck led to Anders Lee’s game-tying goal from the paint.
After a bunch of Caps chances, Thomas Hickey got the win for the Isles in overtime.
Islanders beat Caps 4-3 in OT.
The Caps played their second game in as many nights. They started good, but didn’t end so good.
The first period was a total snooze fest on TV (when my home had electricity). The Caps came out strong again, dominating in shot attempts. The second period featured a Schmidty fight but no goals. Then in the third period, the figurative dam broke in the desert. The Coyotes struck twice on deflections, 27 seconds apart. Later, Brad Richardson put a bow on it.
CAPS LOSE 3-0.
Pictured: A+ parenting.
The Avs, like the Caps, have speed. The Avs, unlike the Caps, do not have skill. This was evident early in the game–namely when the Caps set up shop in the defensive zone, and the home team was applauded for FINALLY getting the puck out of their own zone. Despite a torrent of shot attempts, the game remained scoreless throughout the first period.
Forever came and went, but the Caps finally unleashed the scoring in the second period. Semyon Varlamov prevented the game from ballooning into an epic shellacking. A few miscues allowed the Avs to begin mounting a comeback, but TJ Oshie sealed their fate with a late empty-netter. Alas, the better team prevailed.
Caps beat Avs 4-2!
I had a vision of the Caps vs Flyers in round one, and it was ugly. The Caps and the Flyers are 60-something percent likely to match up in the first round of the playoffs, so Wednesday night’s rivalry night game was supposedly a preview of what we’ll see in a few weeks. If that’s the case, I feel mostly good about the Caps’ chances despite the gimmick loss, but I feel absolutely terrible about the stomach ulcer I’m already developing.
The game was agonizingly scoreless until early in the third period, when Evgeny Kuznetsov’s seam pass reached the Ovi spot. With five minutes left, the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn converted a power play, pushing us into overtime. The Flyers survived a Caps OTPP and pushed us all the way to the shootout, and you know what that means….
Flyers beat Caps 2-1 in the shootout. Blech.
Hey, the Caps have the best record in the league. How bout that? They shook off their 5v5 funk against Lumbus, recording even-strength goals from the best and second best heads of hair on the Washington roster (you decide which is which) and locking it down late.
Sixteen minutes into the first period, Justin Williams cracked a long 5v5 goal slump with a second effort after John Carlson’s rebound. That was nifty, but Cam Atkinson leveled the score two minutes later.
The second period was silent, but Tom Wilson recorded his seventh goal in the third period, a backhander from the bottom six. The Caps added insurance with a power-play goal ostensibly by Matt Niskanen but tapped in by TJ Oshie. Nick Backstrom secured an empty netter to hit the 20-goal mark and make Swedish heritage night just a bit sweeter.
Caps beat Blue Jackets 4-1! The Caps have won the Presidents’ Trophy!
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