James Reimer Falls Over, Wipes Outs (GIF)

james-reimer-wipes-out

GIF by welshhockeyfan

Before the puck even dropped in the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs game, goaltender James Reimer already had one adventure in the crease. I’d even say he pulled a Varlamov. As Reimer dug his left skate into the ice to prepare his crease for game use, the goalie whom Leafs fans call Optimus Reim lost his balance and fell on his tush. A few minutes into the game, CSN Washington shared the overhead replay. Of course we GIF’d it.

Reimer ended up being okay– he stopped 11 shots in the first period after all– though tomorrow he might wake up with a bruise on his tailbone. And maybe his ego.

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Keith Aucoin goal

Photo credit: Graig Abel

Saturday night, during the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, future AHL hall-of-famer Keith Aucoin scored his first NHL goal of the season, and his first since October 24, 2009. For those who are counting, that’s 854 days.

“It’s been about two years now, I think, since I last scored a goal,” Aucoin said with a smile to The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno. “It’s only been 10, 11 games, but it feels like forever, and it was nice to finally get one and help the team win.”

General Manager George McPhee, clearly unimpressed by his feat (or more likely saving cap space ahead of tomorrow’s trade deadline), sent Aucoin back down to Hershey early this morning.

Coiner’s goal was so pretty, it deserves a closer look. Let’s set the scene. After going down 2-0 to the Caps within the first five minutes and then 3-0 by the second period, the Leafs were left scrambling to climb out of a hole. The play starts at 5:13, with the Caps in possession of the puck in their own zone.

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Toronto Maple Leafs Pregame: Make Believe!

Paul Hunter/Toronto Star

The Pre-Game: Oh Lordy, we hate being right. Especially if it involves Canada. Not as in: their single-payer health care system is far more efficient than our insurance company-laden poop pie. More like: there’s no more dangerous team than an underestimated one with shelves of talent and an insane fan base. (Either way, it’s a poop pie, frankly.)

So here we are, game 3 of 3 of the road trip, landing us square in Squaresville: Toronto. (Wagging finger in old maid mode:) We warned you about those teams! We cautioned against squads whose numbers didn’t quite look right, yet had piles of skill ready to dump on the ice! What, you didn’t listen? You think you know better? Are you listening to me?

Uh, no, chances are, you’re not. At least not based on the last few Caps’ book in Vegas. We think that changes Saturday.

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Mike Knuble scores in the shootout

Neuvy celebrates with his teammates after coming up victorious in the shootout. (Photo credit: Graig Abel)

Neuvy celebrates with his teammates after coming up victorious in the shootout. (Photo credit: Graig Abel)

What can’t Knuble do? (Photo credit: Graig Abel)

In their first game of the final back-to-back of the season, the Capitals found themselves in Air Canada Centre to face the surging Toronto Maple Leafs. Since the All-Star break, the Leafs have gone a ridiculous and improbable 18-7-5, riding mid-season call-up James Reimer’s (Oops, sorry!) Optimus Reim‘s incredible goaltending back into playoff contention.

Unfortunately for the Leafs, their chances of still making the playoffs were about as likely as Jason Chimera having a 50 goal season: less than one percent. To stave off mathematical elimination for one more night, they had to have either a regulation or overtime win against DC and a loss from Buffalo.

“They have to have every point,” winger Brooks Laich explained to the media after the Capitals pre-game skate. “They have to have every point in regulation the next three games and then hope for the best. This is an elimination game for the Leafs and they’re going to show us their absolute best.

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Alex Ovechkin’s 300th Career Goal

Alex Ovechkin's 300th Career NHL Goal

The puck Ovi blasted home for his milestone marker. (Photo credit: Sergey Kocharov)

The puck Ovi blasted home for his milestone marker. (Photo credit: Sergey Kocharov)

Photo credit: Graig Abel

If there was one word to define Alex Ovechkin’s game since he landed in Washington way back in 2005, it would be overpowering. Three days after assisting on Jason Arnott’s 400th career tally, the 25-year old Russian became the sixth-youngest player in NHL history to reach 300 career goals with — what else — an unstoppable blast from the point that eluded Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer on a 5-on-3 power play. It was his 31st of the season. At 25 years and 200 days, Ovechkin reached 300 goals slower than only NHL Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky (22 years, 321 days), Mario Lemieux (23, 179), Dale Hawerchuk (24, 308), Mike Bossy (25, 60) and Steve Yzerman (25, 176). Ovechkin, who already stands third on the franchise’s goal and point scoring lists in only his sixth professional season, also notched the milestone marker in his 476th NHL game, the seventh-fewest ever. Forwards Brooks Laich and Marco Sturm were credited with the assists. Video of the goal is below the jump.

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