Photo credit: Greg Fiume
You could liken Tomas Vokoun’s debut for the Washignton Capitals to being fed to wolves. A team that relies heavily on their netminders, the Capitals chose their date with the fluke-friendly Tampa Bay Lightning to introduce the goalie. This is the same team that knocked the Caps just a few months ago and whose coach has mastered the art of saying passive-aggressive dick-y things. No pressure. GAME ON.
Teddy Purcell deflected off Mike Green’s legs for an early goal that probably pissed Vokoun off righteously. Marcus Johansson converted a wraparound after Dwayne Roloson left the net (more on this below). Bruno “Ricky” Gervais wristed it from beneath the goal line, catching Vokoun off the post to put the Bolts back up. Dennis Wideman unleashed a monster from the blue line that hit iron and webbing (Neil put this shot percentage at around 2%). Dominic Moore had all the time in the world to put his puck in short-side from the slot. Then Schultz ripped one off of Troy Brouwer, whose shot was screened by Joel Ward.
Lemme catch my breath… There’s more.
Jason Chimera crashed the net to clean up Brooks Laich’s rebound and put the Caps up 4-3 in the third. Nick Thompson exploited a completely screened Tomas Vokoun to even it back up. Vokoun had no excuse on the next one, a deep-from-behind ricochet by Brett Clark. Jason Chimera tied it up with a rocket from the circles, earning all in attendance free wings from Glory Days. Into overtime and onto the shootout. New paragraph needed.
Hendricks dekes a deke that hath not yet been deked to give the Caps one. Vokoun sends back soup. Ovechkin rebuffed. Vokoun sends back soup. Sasha scoars! Caps beat Bolts 6-5 (SO)!
Just another night at the office for Ovechkin: a goal, two assists and the invention of a new dance. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
On Fan Appreciation Day, the Capitals certainly rewarded their supporters. In front of 18,398 deafening fans — good for the Caps’ 100th consecutive sellout — Washington pulled out a thrilling overtime victory, moving into the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Caps struck first and early when just 37 seconds in John Carlson fired a wrist shot that Buffalo Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth failed to collect. The red-hot Mike Knuble then did his usual dirty work in the crease to net the opening tally.
Washington jumped out to a two goal lead at 4:41 when Alexander Semin — who was on the ice for eight chances for and three against — scored a similar goal to Knuble’s, tapping in Nicklas Backstrom’s rebound behind Enroth. PANIC!!!1 Timeout Buffalo.
That is how you do it! The Washington Capitals have done the unthinkable: playing two smart games back to back.
Who better to get us started that Andrew Gordon? His goal-crashing shot off a speedy Marcus Johansson pass was the night’s first goal and the first of Andrew’s NHL career. (We knew you could do it!) The Devils responded with a Patrik Elias whizzer from above the circles, expertly screened by former Cap Danius Zubrus. Hershey’s own Jay Beagle returned fire with a chip-in up close. On a breakaway. Jason Chimera brushed off a hook and converted. Alex Ovechkin pulled an honest-to-goodness statue-of-liberty play with John Carlson, who launched a neutrino puck into Marty Brodeur’s net. Finally, Mike Knuble gingerly diverted a Tom Poti shot for the free wings. Caps beat Devils 5-1.
Mystery solved. The Caps turned in an even performance for two periods before heating up in the third. Your standard goal scorers Ovie and Backy were joined by Jason Chimera, Mike Green, and even the bipolar Alexander Semin on the scoreboard tonight. Netminder little Mikey Neuvirth turned in an A+ effort to keep the Thrashers to two. Even John Erskine had a great night, making hay out of Chris Thorburn’s brainpan. And if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that the Caps scored five goals again, ensuring free wings from Glory Days for the 10th time. Now all the ticketholders have to do is survive the epic snowstorm hovering over the tri-state area.
Instead of teasing the bullet points, here’s a secret: blogatrician Ian Oland has a crush on CSN’s Lisa Hillary.
I’ll admit it– wearing my undefeated Mean, Mean Russian Machine t-shirt tonight, I was a little worried about tonight’s game. It’s not as if the Ducks are a west coast powerhouse or that the Caps are missing players; it’s just that the streak has to break sometime. Why not tonight and against a lesser opponent, the kind the Capitals used to play down against.
It only took forty some minutes for the Capitals to wake up. The home team dominated the first period, but had only a 1-0 game to show for it. The second period was a sleepy affair, and gave the Ducks a chance to tie it up. But early in third period, the Caps reached deep into their bag of tricks and pulled out a game-winning goal from Shaone Morrisonn. Let me state that again: Shaone Morrisonn (0 goals in the last whole-bunch-of games) scored the go-ahead goal tonight. And that’s when the flood gates opened. Within less than three minutes, the Caps delivered two more notches. The Ducks tried to muster up some bluster with some good, old-fashioned hockey violence, but to no avail. Caps beat Ducks 5-1.
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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