The Pregame: Well, hello you! Pollyanna Sunshine, reporting for duty! And here’s my colleague, Peppy Miller! Rah Team!
OK, glum-dums. Tides have a way of turning. Or so Barbara Streisand tells me. Sure, watching the Capitals this season has been exactly like watching the tides rush in and out, depositing a fresh crop of flotsam and hope on the shore at high tide before sucking it all back out to sea, leaving behind dead jellyfish and despair. But…
On December 3, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
SCOAR! Brooks Laich celebrates his game-winner. (Photo credit Rob Carr)
As we venture into the Dale Hunter era, each game reveals new layers of the Washington Capitals’ game. In Saturday night’s meeting with the Ottawa Senators, we got all of that. And as a special bonus, we got a W, the first for Coach Hunter’s NHL career.
Before the game was two minutes old, Nick Backstrom did everything right to score, a feat made easier by Alex Ovechkin drawing two Senators away. Early in the second, Erik Karlsson sent the puck through traffic and tied it up. In the third, Ovi sent a picture-perfect pass through the seam to Troy Brouwer, who converted the short-side. Milan Michalek tied it up late while Neuvirth was sprawled out. Then Brooks Laich slayed the Sens in overtime. Caps beat Sens 3-2 (OT).
The Pre-Game: Interesting fact: did you know that the North American Otter (Enhydra lutris) has to eat roughly 25% of its body weight in food every day just to survive? True! Like, how many Dippin’ Dots would that be? AND that in the ancient Zoroastrian religion, that otters were considered holy beings?! So Wow, I mean like…
Oh. Oh, it’s the Ottawa Senators. Oh lolz! If you could see my face blushing.
Actually, we have enough blush, and not in an endearing way, left over from Thursday night. Although we cautioned, and predicted moments, we didn’t – and simply never ever will – go on the record predicting a Pens victory over the Caps, despite our well-shared worries. Sure, it wasn’t a blow-out. Yeah, Erskine earned himself a pelt off one of the birds, in just payment for Beags (IMHO.) And yes, even hobbled offensively as we are (and whyis that, exactly?) and with all the turmoil and blah blah go freaking tell your shrink because I don’t give a damn we kept them to one point. Whoot! A loss by only one point!
Anyone who’s had the misfortune to spend time in Ottawa has had the quintessential Canadian city experience: clean, cultured, and quietly disappointing. All the maple doughnuts and Labatt’s in the world can’t hide the fact that Ottawa is as appealing as lap dance from Marcus Bachmann. Puzzlingly, everyone seems mostly OK with this… albeit in a polite, deferential way. Ottawantarians seem to take civic pride in their shared, outstanding blahness. Just look the Senators.
Colin Greening celebrates his goal; Varly is not pleased. (Photo credit: Phillip MacCallum)
Well, where do even begin? Poor effort, non-existent offense, a goalie playing in his first game since the 20th of February and some, let’s just say, interesting officiating. Those four things combined make the blueprint for how you find a way to lose to the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
Nothing of interest happened in the first period, but there was another meaningless D.J. King fight just under three minutes into the game.
The Senators’ Colin Greening opening the scoring at 13:25 in the second frame. After a scramble in front of the net, Greening appeared to kick not only the puck, but Capitals ‘keeper Semyon Varlamov’s whole pad past the goal-line. The big wigs in Toronto took a look at it, but the play stood. 1-0 Sens.
Both teams registered eight shots on goal in the second period — with the Capitals having the best chance on an Alexander Semin breakaway — yet no one would tally.
Just over two minutes into the third stanza, Erik Condra pushed the Senators’ lead to two. After a Karl Alzner giveaway, Condra picked up Milan Michalek’s backhand no-look feed and wristed it pass Varlamov.
The real action, however, would happen just under 13 minutes into the period when Matt Bradley laid-out Patrick Wiercioch at the goal-line. Though the hit appeared to be a legal shoulder to chest hit, the Sens and referees took exception. First Ottawa’s Zach Smith jumped Bradley, forcing him to duel. Smith got the win in the ’bout, but correctly received an instigator penalty for his instigating. However, the refs called Bradley boarding, one thing the hit almost certainly was not as Bradley and Wiercioch were 12 feet from the dashers when the hit occurred. That would be it. Ho-hum. Sens blank Caps, 2-0.
On January 16, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Jason Chimera’s bank shot off Bryan Elliott merits celebration. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
The Washington Capitals came back to earn a crucial win over the Ottawa Senators on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. The worst first period team in hockey, the Caps did nothing to shake off that label today. But a late-game effort kicked off by the team’s morale leader woke them up to snatch two much-needed standings points.
Only 72 seconds into the bout, Mike Fisher scored Ottawa’s only goal while Jeff Schultz wandered aimlessly behind the net. Forty six minutes later, forechecking Brooks Laich snatched a turnover from the slot, tying the game and rousing his team in the process. Forty five seconds later and just two ticks into a power play, John Carlson bombed Bryan Elliott for the go-ahead goal. And then Jason Chimera banked one off the goalie’s back for some insurance. Caps beat Sens 3-1.