Ballgame. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
Like the Bond marathon on SyFy over the last few days, the Washington Capitals are a fickle thing. Lately, the Caps have mixed the sublime elegance of the Sean Connery era with the confusing stupor of the Timothy Dalton movies. More often than not, it’s been the latter.
Plainly, they didn’t deserve to win yesterday’s game. Only the godlike brilliance of Eric Fehr kept the Caps from a fifth straight loss. They did win, however, and got their tired asses on a plane to
hell Long Island this morning. With Braden Holtby making his second start in as many days, the setup for this one didn’t look good.
Washington’s start, however, was better than we’ve come to expect. Though New York handily outshot them early, the Caps controlled possession. The teams traded chances, with no one converting. Hey, that’s better than being 3-0 after 20!
As usual, the Caps got it going in the second. The period was filling with odd-man breaks and open looks for Washington, with the fourth line converting midway through the frame. Martin Erat — yes, that one — made a nice play behind the net before setting up the puck for Tom Wilson, who fired it on net. Aaron Volpatti did the net crashing thing to put the Caps on the board.
In the third, though, the Isles got the goal back — and they did on a Caps power play. Four minutes into the period, local pariah Mike Green missed a pinch and Cal Clutterbuck took the puck the other way on a breakaway. Yeah, it was awful. Then, Thomas Vanek gave the Isles the lead with some whacking in front, to Braden’s dismay. With less than two minutes left, this one looked over. HOWEVER… Nicklas Backstrom was stone cold clutch, converting in front with the Caps down a man. In overtime, the big Russian — that would be Alex Ovechkin — did his thing. Boom. Crazy times. Caps top Isles 3-2 (OT).
🙁 (Photo credit: Rob Carr)
A few years ago, the Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins rivalry was the NHL’s top draw. Led by the league’s best players, the teams spawned epic playoff series and fantastic regular season games. Eventually, though, Sidney Crosby got hurt and Alex Ovechkin got stale. For the past couple seasons, Caps-Pens has been a bit hollow.
This year, however, Ovi vs. Sid is relevant again: Crosby came into the game tied for the league lead in points, Ovechkin was tied for the lead in goals. Wednesday, the Caps were just one point behind the Pens for the Metropolitan division lead. With NBC in town, the good old days of the late ’00s were back — even if Brooks Laich didn’t give a crap.
Unfortunately, the game was less Snovechkin and more 2009 Semifinals game seven.
Paul Martin put the Pens up early through a screen that make Braden Holtby look foolish. Rejected Gossip Girl character Beau Bennett stretched the lead to two on a two-on-four — yes two-on-four — for Pittsburgh midway through the first. The second frame was utterly boring until ya boy Sidney Crosby unleashed an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot on the power play to put the Pens up by three. James Neal added another in the third.
Worst. Pens Blank Caps 4-0.
It took Washington Capitals rookie forward Tom Wilson 15 games and 100 minutes, but he finally did it. Wilson recorded his first NHL point– a primary assist– on Tuesday night. Alexander Urbom also scored his first goal as a Capital on the play.
Wilson’s assist was a little silly and a lot awesome.
As the 2012 first round pick went to the net, John Tavares tripped him. Wilson fell over, but landed in a sitting position. He slid through the crease and towards the boards, but he was able to pass the puck — from a seated position — to the slot. It went right to Urbom. Just like they drew it up.
Urbom shoots. Urbom SCOARS.
Photo credit: Eric Hartline
Fighting in the NHL has been on the decline. It might be on its way out of the sport. Roster spots for goons are dwindling. Nerds have found no evidence that fighting impacts winning.
Yet on Friday night in Philadelphia, the Flyers decided the only way to save face after a figurative beatdown from the Caps was a literal beatdwn. Once Joel Ward scored his hat-trick goal, Wayne Simmonds threw an elbow to incite a fight with Tom Wilson. Ray Emery, Flyers back-up goalie and trained boxer, skated all the way down the ice and started throwing punches at Braden Holtby — even though Holtby declined to fight.
Photo credit: Bill Kostroun/AP Photo
The Washington Capitals have picked up Swedish defenseman Alexander Urbom off waivers from the New Jersey Devils. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound blueliner was drafted by New Jersey 73rd overall in 2009.
A left-handed defenseman, Urbom is known for his reliable defensive game. His physical play has improved in recent years spent mostly with the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Albany. He has played in just 14 NHL regular season games, scoring two goals. Urbom, who worked with Caps head coach Adam Oates in New Jersey, is a mobile defenseman and an effective defender.
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