Photo credit: Patrick Smith
Greetings, fans! After five and a half months away, fishing, muddin’, and engagin’, the Washington Capitals returned to Verizon Center to start a new season with nervous anticipation.
The team laid out the red carpet carpet before the game, showcasing the team’s finest knit ties and undercuts. Afterwards, however, there was hockey to play. On ice. For real.
The Capitals got off to a slow start, going almost five minutes without a shot attempt early in the first period. Then Evgeny Kuznetsov hooked somebody. Uh oh. Naturally, Jason Chimera and Justin Williams immediately blew right past the Devils defense for a short-handed tick-tack-toe. Then, just two minutes and 28 seconds later, the unthinkable. Brooks Orpik, who missed all of the preseason with a wrist injury, scored. It was his first as a Capital and it came on a one-timer.
The Caps, though, like to disappear after they score. Maybe they go play with their ferrets. I don’t know. Something dumb probably. Anyway, because the Capitals played with their ferrets the Devils scored twice in under three minutes, first Adam Henrique and then Eric Gelinas. Then nothing happened for 25 minutes.
That was, until, Alex Ovechkin happened. The captain went end to end, blowing past John Moore before flipping a delicious, crisp and refreshing wrist shot top shelf on New Jersey netminder Keith Kinkaid. Marcus Johansson added another. Oh, and then Matt Niskanen got himself an empty netter. But wait, the Devils came back with one of their own. Shower of goals! Caps beat Devils 5-3!
Photo credit: Jonathan Hayward
The Washington Capitals ended their expedition through Western Canadia with a game against the Vancouver Canucks. These being the two most offensively potent teams of the last two seasons, the Saturday night bout had the rapt attention of all of Canada and the five or six D.C.-area fans who didn’t get invited to Halloween parties (e.g. us).
Tomas Vokoun left the net to play the puck, but retreated back just in time for Maxim LaPierre to bank it off his skates and into the net. Alex Ovechkin returned fire with a swat that rolled behind Roberto Loungo’s tuchas. On the power play, Christopher Higgins had all night to shoot, grab a rebound, and shoot again. Alexander Edler zeroed in on the net early into a power play to make it 3-1. Alex Ovechkin fired a laser pew pew pew on the power play. Mike Knuble put enough stank on his penalty shot for it to wobble past the goalie– tie game.. Edler struck again, one-timing from wide open after a pass from one of the Sedin twins. Marcus Johansson seized on a bad Canucks line change to beat Luongo and tie the game.
Then Alex Ovechkin committed interference, and it all went to hell.
Relief goalie Michal Neuvirth bobbled the puck to give Henrik Sedin for an easy tip-in. Soon after, Chris Higgins skated past a wiped-out Sean Collins to give Canucks a two-goal lead. Maxim LaPierre’s semi-breakaway made it a three-goal lead. Canucks beat Caps 7-4.
It had been 12 days since the Hershey Bears last played. And tonight it only took 16 seconds for them to shake off the rust.
Sean Collins wicked shot from the point opened the scoring in Game 1 of Hershey’s Eastern Conference Finals Series against the Manchester Monarchs, and Andrew Gordon’s rebound tally on the powerplay 10 minutes later in the first period gave Hershey a 2 goal lead they’d never relinquish. Steve Pinizzotto (GWG) and Karl Alzner also chipped in with goals for the Bears on a night where they improved to 9-1 in this year’s postseason and won their 6th consecutive playoff game.
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