“We play a system where teams get probably more shots the way we play but most of them are from the outside, we’ll allow those. In some ways that might be better for this particular goaltender.”
This is not the sort of thing a professional hockey person outside of Toronto should say. This is not a thing that any grownup with even a passing acquaintance with the concept of probability should say.
Allowing more shots is never good. Every shot carries with it a discrete chance that it could go in the net. More shots: more goals.
And the Caps don’t possess some newly discovered, sui generis ability to limit their opponents’ shot quality with reliability. If they did, we’d see it in the stats. So George McPhee should not be saying the equivalent of “We let the other guy take a crazy ton of shots because we’re the first team in hockey history that is actually magical.”
Nope, nope, nope. And Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia is evidence of the cosmic wrongness.
This is the “game” recap. I’m putting game in scare quotes, because I don’t know what the cram happened during this Philadelphia Flyers-Washington Capitals …event. The Caps looked like a clown trying to fight off a direwolf with a whiffle bat for the first 45 minutes. And then– and I have no idea how they did it– they started stabbing their way back.
Here’s the part where I summarize the scoring. I don’t wanna do it. It’s like that episode where Josh Lyman is talking to Adam Arkin and he can’t differentiate music from gunshots. Okay, here goes (deep breath.)
Claude Giroux feasted on a puck stolen from Hillen for number one. Jakub Voracek snuck one through traffic. Claude got another, and then Adam Hall. Forgive me for not remembering how: rage blackouts. Joel Ward got the Caps on the board, followed by an Ovi goal from the Ovi spot and a dart from Troy Brouwer. All of a sudden, the blowout was a one-goal game.
But then Voracek got away from the Caps defense — namely Mike Green Eric Fehr– by using the rarely seen technique of skating. 5-3. Brooks Laich tapped a Mike Green shot to make it 5-4, but then Steve Downie got the empty-netter.
The Washington Capitals wrapped up a weekend of early games by taking on the Philadelphia Flyers at noon on–
[NBC CHIMES DROWN OUT REST OF INTRODUCTION]
— my grandmother riding by on a bicycle giving me the finger, and a duck!
The Caps and Flyers are a resurgent rivalry that rarely leaves us lacking drama. This was no exception.
Dmitry Orlov capped off some great zone time by putting a one-timer past Steve Mason. Claude Giroux tied it up with an in-and-out goal that took 90 seconds of game time before the refs figured it out. Marcus Johansson got in the paint to deflect in Jason Chimera’s pass as a power play expired. Nick Backstrom won a scramble with Steve Mason, but the war room in Toronto didn’t have enough evidence to overturn the no-goal call.
Alex Ovechkin abandoned the puck behind the net during a power play, allowing Adam Hall to tie the game with a shorty, but no worries: Jay Beagle got a pass off Joel Ward to score from exactly zero feet out. Dmitry Orlov got his second goal with a nice little mudskipper of a shot from the blue line and through some traffic up front.
Jakub Voracek scored on a screened Holtby during Orlov’s five-minute major penalty and then set up Giroux for the game-tying goal with just over a minute left.
On December 17, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Len Redkoles
All I wanted from this Capitals-Flyers game was a quiet affair, free of histrionics, that ended in a regulation win. After what feels like weeks of the cardiac Caps and their inconceivable comebacks, I need the hockey equivalent of warm milk and a Downton Abbey marathon. Despite my earnest pleadings, I was denied a calm, drama-free night. Instead I got a decent hockey game that devolved into something dumb and violent. And not dumb and violent in a fun, hockey way– where there’s lots of big, clean hits and chirping. No, we got the kind with the post-whistle scrums, the fights that lead to injuries, and the bad hits that lead to injuries and suspensions. Dumb.
In perhaps his most sedate goal yet, Alex Ovechkin put an indifferent backhand past Steve Mason during an early power play in the second period. The Flyers responded immediately– like any true Caps opponent– with a snazzy goal by Jacob Voracek. Then Eric Fehr realized he was wearing his Winter Classic uni and decided to score one of his own, taking a pass from Troy Brouwer below the goal line. Matt Read and company outworked Carlzner and the top line to tie the game again.
Then Tom Wilson put a dirty hit on Brayden Schenn and the Flyers punished the Caps for it. Twice. Wayne Simmonds added to the rout in the third, taking a gimme puck from John Carlson before beating a besieged Braden Holtby.
Hi, Pat! *Waves* (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak is a Washington Capitals season-ticket holder. When he’s not filming in Los Angeles, he lives in Severna Park, Maryland with his family. A regular at Verizon Center, Sajak can usually be seen in his seats by the glass.
On Sunday night, Sajak poked fun at the Flyers after Washington’s brilliant comeback win.
On December 15, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
A photo of the entire Capitals offense by Patrick McDermott.
The Capitals banged up the Philadelphia Flyers last time they met, but for a while this sleepy Sunday matinee rematch between looked like it would go another way. From the very first faceoff, the Flyers had control but then, in the third period, Green started a raucous rally and a couple of Russians kept it going. Epic.
On a first period power play, Alex Ovechkin put a lovely pass to Marcus Johansson to put the Caps up 1-0 (UPDATE: Ovechkin has been credited with this goal. A two-goal game.UPDATE UPDATE: The NHL has reversed the reversal). ROFL hit up Claude Giroux from behind the net to tie the game before the first intermission.
The game got away from the Caps in the second. Mark Streit made it 2-1 Flyers after an unwise stretch pass from Carlzner to the top line found an orange sweater.
Sean Couturier got an impossible shot past Philipp Grubauer to make it 3-1 early in the third, and then Voracek deflected what looked like the dagger goal just 80 seconds later. Mike Green’s wrister found the back of the net with 8 minutes left, and then Dmitry Orlov scoarlov’d a one-timer after the faceoff.
I thought it was over, but then Alex Ovechkin- OF COURSE– scored during 6-on-5. That guy. I love him, but now I’ve gotta rewrite my recap. Overtime yielded no decision, so son of a– here they come…
On November 1, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Feel the Swedish excitement. (Photo: Len Redkoles)
Sometimes hockey makes sense. Sometimes it doesn’t. File Capitals at Flyers under Column B. The Capitals stunk in the first period, defecated on the Flyers in the second, and then managed the s-show in the third. Let’s get into it.
The first period was one of the worst ever played by the Capitals …and then they scored. Nick Backstrom snagged a turnover and put a shot top-shelf to make it 1-0.
The second period was one of the funnest ever played by the Capitals. Joel Ward got the last touch on a series of swats he and Mikhail Grabovski lobbed to make it 2-0. Red hot Jason Aloysius Chimera combined speed and skill to roof a breakaway shot. Nicky Backstrom got his second goal of the night on what I’m not even sure was a deliberate shot attempt. A Joel Ward shot destined for the post somehow hit the back of the net, and then Troy Brouwer converted the power play.
Third period. Joel Ward. Hat trick. Amazing. Then everything got pear-shaped, which we’ll talk about below.
Joel Rechlicz has played 26 games at the NHL level and come away with a career total of one point: an assist. He’s not now nor has he ever been a goal scorer. Which explains the reaction of Caps radio man John Walton when Rechlicz was tapped to take the fourth shootout attempt of Monday’s exhibition game against the Philadelphia Flyers.