Caps Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson and the rest of Team Sweden were busy on their day off. On Monday, the players traveled to the neighboring mountains in Krasnaya Polyana to watch Sweden win the Cross-Country men’s relay.
This is the first time Johansson has represented his country in international competition since he was named captain of the Swedish World Junior Championship team in 2010. Johansson also played on the WJC team in 2009 and the U18 team in 2008 and 2007.
Let’s be honest, in a 2-1 shootout loss to the league’s worst team there are few good moments to focus on. But as the Washington Capitals came out for the third period tied with the Buffalo Sabres 1-1, CSN accidentally caught the most fun-loving of fun-lovingest moments on the Caps bench.
As Joe B. discussed responses to CSN’s #CapitalsTalk question of the night, jokester Jason Chimera shoved Joel Ward and then whacked him in the face.
Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson has long struggled to be strong on the puck, but this year he has somehow become Mike Knuble incarnate along the boards and in the paint. I have no idea what changed.
During a late first period powerplay, Johansson exhibited his new grit, making Tampa pay for concentrating a wee too much on Alex Ovechkin.
Sweden has released its roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and a familiar face is right in the middle. Caps center Nick Backstrom shares the roster with the Sedin twins, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Zetterberg, and Daniel Alfredsson. Marcus Johansson did not make the roster.
This season, Alex Ovechkin’s shot has been an unstoppable force of destruction. Ovi has registered 31 goals. His line’s scoring, however, has often been one-sided. Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin’s linemates for much of the season, have scored just six even-strength goals. When Ovi’s hitting the net, it’s not a problem. But if last year’s MVP hits some bad luck, as he did over the four games before last night, the line struggles. Ovechkin has just a single assist during five-on-five play.
“It’s not enough,” Oates said when I asked him about that stat. “It shows how much all three guys are important.”
For Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes, Oates switched up his lines, putting Ovechkin with Eric Fehr and Mikhail Grabovski while placing Johansson and Backstrom with Brouwer.
On November 30, 2013, In Game Recap, By Chris Gordon
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 CalClutterbuck 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).