After scoring a hat trick opening night, Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski struggled, scoring only two points in his next six games. However, since being demoted to the third line with Jason Chimera and Joel Ward, Grabovski has found his groove, scoring 7 points in his last 5 games. And on Saturday night against the Florida Panthers, Grabovski reminded us again just how freakin’ skilled he is, scoring a fantastic goal in the shootout.
On October 22, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
“In the shower I use a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask, which I leave on for ten minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.” (Photo: Jonathan Kozub)
The Capitals finally got the heck out of Dodge following a miserable homestand. The first game of their road trip found them in frosty Winnipeg, where the Capitals hoped to rid themselves of the gremlins in their defense and get an easy win from a soft opponent.
Haha. As if.
We were goalless until Mikhail Grabovski broke the tedium four minutes into the second period, sweeping a rebound home. The Caps swiftly surrendered that lead on a shorty by Bryan Little. To make junk worse, Andrew Ladd tipped in a Grant Clitsome shot just 70 seconds later. Luckily the Caps still have one guy who can deliver this season: Alex Ovechkin got two late in the second: a breakaway and a set play off the faceoff. Call it the Ovisplosion. Of course, Blake Wheeler knotted it at 3 goals apiece before the buzzer.
Troy Brouwer put then Caps ahead again in the third period, taking a Jedi pass from Nicky Backstrom right up in the kanooblian paint. Little got his second of the night a bit later as the Caps were unable to escape their own zone.
Into overtime we came and went without a result.
Wheeler had nothing for Holtby.
Grabo musta left the smooth moves elsewhere on his attempt.
Little’s attempt got kicked away.
Ovi couldn’t get a nibble from Pavelec.
Ladd beat Holtby stick-side to put the dirty Peg up.
Nicky B had a sneaky delay to tie it up and send us into extra rounds.
Jokinen wasn’t jokining with a sly five-holer. (Sorry.)
Brooks Laich roofed it, so kept on going.
Setoguchi got a low one on Holtby.
Troy Brouwer roofed it, so we kept on going.
Evander Kane got denied as the puck rolled on him.
If you’ve ever watched warm-ups before a Capitals or Bears game, you may have noticed a pattern. Dmitry Orlov will spend 10 minutes zig-zagging along the red line, working on his puck-handling skills. Orlov, a defenseman who loves jumping up on the rush like Mike Green, is attracted to offense like a moth to a flame. During his younger days in Russia, Orlov was used routinely during shootouts.
When Orlov came to America to begin his professional career, his above-average offense was apparent. On November 18, 2011, when the Hershey Bears visited the Syracuse Crunch, Bears head coach Mark French played a hunch and sent out Orlov during the gimmick to see what he could do.
But temper that confidence. On Sunday, NHL players including Zach Parise, new Caps defenseman Jack Hillen, and Hendricks, took the ice for a charity game benefiting Defending the Blue Line. The game brought 3,000 hockey-starved fans out to the University of Minnesota and raised an estimated $50,000 for the children of military parents. It was great, until Hendricks’ shootout attempt at the end of the game.
By now we all know Matt Hendricks has Serious Shootout Skills. But the shootout is a gimmick, a sideshow that decides games for no good reason except to entertain fans. The shootout never really meant much… until tonight.
With eight games left in the regular season and the Capitals struggling to hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, every standings point matters. So when the Caps were unable to break a 1-1 tie with the Flyers after 60 minutes of regulation and a five-minute overtime, the shootout carried high stakes.
Enter Matt Hendricks.
Dale Hunter selected Hendy as the Capitals first shooter. The Blaine, Minnesota native did not disappoint. Hendricks used his patented move, this time baiting Ilya Bryzgalov to pokecheck. Bryz missed, allowing yet another highlight-reel shootout goal for the team’s leader in penalty minutes. Video is below the jump.
In Washington’s 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday, Dale Hunter went with Matt Hendricks in the fourth round of the shootout. That decision paid off. Hendricks, a gritty, fourth-line player who’s known more for his fists than his goal-scoring ability, faked a shot, deked a few times, and then deftly deposited the puck on his backhand into an empty net. No big.
“I don’t like to talk about it too often,” a bashful Hendricks told the media immediately after the game. “I made a move, and fortunately I beat him. [Nabokov’s] a good goalie.”