When Rick Nash scored the Rangers’ third goal — the eventual game-winner in their 4-2 defeat of the Washington Capitals — I noticed that the zone entry on that play was far from crisp. Nash lost handle of the puck around the left faceoff circle on the Caps’ side of neutral zone and then had to reach back to gather it back. He pushed the puck towards the blue line, and it slowly rolled as Nash was entering the offensive zone. He then fired a shot using John Carlson as a screen and beat Braden Holtby — the goal Peter described as a “back-breaker” in his recap.
Further review clearly shows: Nash was offsides on the play. It should’ve been blown dead.
Photo: Scott Levy
Coming into Friday night, the Caps had been playing well. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they nearly beat two of the league’s best teams. But then they played Columbus. It was a disaster, and a moment of reckoning.
After the game, the fan base — and the team — seemed to hit the panic button. People on Twitter smashed their keyboards, pointing out Washington’s glaring defensive holes and overreliance on the power play. None of that, however, is anything new. It’s not likely to change before playoff time either.
On Saturday, Adam Oates came up with wacky line combinations in hopes of righting Washington’s four game skid. It didn’t work.
The game got off to an awful start when Rick Nash picked off a silly defensive zone pass from Dmitry Orlov to put New York up just 70 seconds in. Fifteen minutes later, Nash was at it again. A lack of spatial awareness led to two hooking penalties on the Caps. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the former Blue Jacket floated a weak wrister through Phillip Grubauer’s legs. About a minute and a half later, Derek Stepan put the nail in Washington’s coffin with a shot though traffic. Braden Holtby came in, but the game was already over.
Ovechkin tried to give the Caps life with a 5-on-3 bullet early in the second, but Ryan Callahan put Washington back in their place just 86 seconds later. This was never a game anyway. Rangers slam Caps 4-1.
(Photo credit: Luis M. Alvarez)
Risking dropping their second straight game to a sub-par team, the Washington Capitals were rescued by none other than Jason Chimera, a healthy scratch just a game ago.
For Chimera it was sweet redemption and “especially nice” that it came against his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Despite the win, victory wasn’t easy for Washington with sloppy play plaguing the Caps throughout the night.
“We did not do a very good job tonight,” veteran center Jason Arnott said. “There were a lot of bouncing pucks, a lot of nonchalant plays that we don’t normally make … We have to clean up our own zone, it starts tomorrow with the video, and try to correct it and come up with a better effort to back our goaltender up.”
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau seemed to agree Arnott’s view that the Capitals must play better in front of young netminder Michal Neuvirth.
It’s finally over!
If you’ve stood by your computer constantly hitting refresh like I did, then you know I am talking about the Kovalchuk Sweepstakes, which is reportedly a 17-year deal with the New Jersey Devils. Yes, seventeen YEARS. Yeah, that is a loooooong time.
How long, Neil?
Well, seventeen years ago Ace of Base ruled the airwaves, and The New Mickey Mouse Club got some new members: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. So yeah, 17 years is a long time.
Time will tell if he’s worth it, but Kovalchuk has put up some serious regular season numbers in his career before his 28th birthday: 642 career points in 621 career games at the NHL level. Not bad for the the first overall pick in the 2001 NHL entry draft.
I will leave others to debate whether or not the contract is worth it or how it just laughs in the face of the current CBA, but you have to believe that at least one Russian in the DC area was intently watching these talks unfold: Alexander Semin.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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