With the Caps trailing the Wild 3-2 in the second period, the visitors needed a break. They had given up two goals to Ryan Suter on the power play earlier and it appeared their energy was waning. And then, something weird happened that we’ll *try* to describe here.
Photo credit: Kevin Hoffman
The Washington Capitals scored on two consecutive shots in the first period of Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. First, Marcus Johansson cleaned up a rebound to convert a power play. Then, just thirteen seconds later, Mike Green pulled a stellar move to dodge Matt Cooke before ripping a wrister past Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom.
Photo credit: Rob Carr
In overtime, unless you’re a really bad hockey team or extremely good at shootous, you play to win the game. A minute and fifteen seconds into overtime, the Washington Capitals tried to do exactly that, making an aggressive play in the Carolina Hurricanes’ offensive zone to try and secure that one extra standings point.
They paid the price for it however, as Jeff Skinner scored his hat-trick game-winning goal on a jailbreak odd-man rush into the Capitals defensive zone.
Every Capital on the ice minus Philipp Grubuaer shares blame on the goal. Let’s take a look at the bad reads and bad decisions. (This is as close as we’ll ever get to a Justin Bourne Systems Analyst post.)
The sweaters on sale. (All photos by Chris Gordon)
A couple weeks ago, the Washington Capitals released a magisterial Christmas video in which their players wore ridiculous outfits while pretending to provide musical accompaniment to Jingle Bells. Tonight, the team auctioned off the signed ugly sweaters worn Nicklas Backstrom, John Erskine, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Alex Ovechkin, Aaron Volpatti, Joel Ward, and Tom Wilson in the video, with the profits benefiting Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic. Troy Brouwer owns the onesie he wore in the video, and according to Caps Community Relations, he refused to part with it. Instead, a signed stocking was offered instead. I imagine he’ll be wearing the onesie on Christmas day.
In the third period, it was announced by Caps PR that bidding raised $5,225 for charity. Way to go, guys.
Here are some photos of the #fashion on sale:
Love ugly Christmas sweaters and cheesy music videos? This video will make you happy. The Washington Capitals have recorded a music video for Jingle Bells to wish you guys happy holidays. It features Caps captain Alex Ovechkin on the bells, Brooks Laich on the drums, Joel Ward on an inflatable pink saxophone, Troy Brouwer on bass, Aaron Volpatti on the guitar, Nicklas Backstrom on the tambourine, John Erskine on a pre-k piano, Tom Wilson on the ukulele, and– of course– Mike Green rocking the cowbell.
You have to see this.
No matter how bad your day has been, Mike Green‘s was worse. The two-time Norris nominee was whistled for three infractions in the first period, leading to two Tampa Bay Lightning goals. In total, Green racked up 18 penalty minutes in just 9:18 of ice time. Comcast SportsNet commentator Alan May diagnosed the penalties during the first intermission, calling them “textbook” and the result of “laziness.”
Photo: Patrick Smith
Fifteen times this season the Capitals have surrendered a goal within 2:30 of scoring. Nearly one-fifth of the total goals scored against the Caps have come in that 150-second window after a goal. That’s a startling number. Way back in October, Adam Vingan of WaPo Express spoke to the team about the pattern. “We have to find a way to stay on the gas pedal,” Steve Oleksy told Vingan when that number was only 8 goals-against.
The Capitals have not stayed on that metaphorical gas pedal. Instead, they’ve allowed another 7 goals within the two and a half minutes after scoring. The most recent was on Saturday, during the Capitals-Predators game, when Eric Nystrom responded to Nate Schmidt‘s goal by scoring one of his own just 23 seconds later. The Capitals had a good goal cushion by that point, but weak shifts like that after Caps goals have cost the team wins.
“Thank you, Hockey Gods.” (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)
Through 24 games this year, Mike Green had yet to find the back of the net. Though playing on the Capitals’ high-flying power play, Greenie was in one of the longest goal scoring droughts of his career. In fact, his 62 shots on goal were the most from any player without a marker. Late in Washington’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, however, the former 30 goal scorer finally lit the red light.
“I wish it was on a different night, but yeah,” Green said when asked if he was relieved. “Hopefully the flood gates open up.”
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).
The Washington Capitals have assigned defenseman Dmitry Orlov to the Hershey Bears. With the expected return of Mike Green to active service vs Montreal tonight, the Caps have apparently hit their quota on offensive-minded, left-handed defensemen without a goal to their name.
So ends Orlov’s second stint with the Capitals this season. Orlov was first called up on October 30 before getting re-assigned on November 13th. While on the ice, Orlov did not allow a single shot or goal against his team.
Orlov now returns to the Hershey Bears, where he has been averaging a point per game (2 goals, 6 assists in 8 games). The Bears will play the Binghamton Senators twice this weekend.
Orlov’s 2013-14 NHL stat line: