The Caps wasted a chance to climb the standings with Monday night’s loss to the Lightning, but we held out hope that our rivals– Buffalo (9th place), Ottawa (7th), and Florida (3rd)– would have crummy nights on Tuesday.
On March 23, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Rob Carr
Last time the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets met, Ovechkin got taunted and the Caps lost a slot in the standings. The Caps remembered and came out swinging this game. But then Dale Hunter enacted his formula for something, and everything went to hell.
Thanks to Jeff Halpern, Jason Chimera went cruising along in the O-zone, tucking the puck behind Pavelec with his backhand. Alex Ovechkin recorded two consecutive goals in the second– a subtle wristshot and a loud 6-on-5 one-timer. The Jets rallied back with goals from Maxwell and Little before the second intermission. The Caps had literally no offense (seriously, none) in third until Spencer Machacek tied it up.
Into overtime, where Stapleton won it. Jets beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
Heading into tonight’s game, there was no doubt that the Jets’ season was on the line. With a loss, they would fall six points behind the Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot — all but essentially eliminating them from the playoff race. “These are games that define your team,” Evander Kane told The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno. “And we’re going to see what we’re made of.” Sure are.
Predictably, the Jets came out fired-up and scored first. Andrew Ladd tallied his 24th goal of the season on literally a magical backhander. 22 seconds later, the Capitals responded, as Marcus Johansson perfectly placed a slap-pass onto Brooks Laich’s blade and watched him tip it in past a helpless Ondrej Pavelec.
Late in the second period, the Jets regained the lead as Nik Antropov out-worked Ovechkin to the front of the net to flip one past Vokoun. Mathieu “I’m teeny tiny like a leprechaun” Perrault managed to tie the game again on a third period power play. Unfortunately, Dustin Byfuglien and his big rear were too much to handle. Jets beat Caps, 3-2.
Malcontents, flamers, and haters: Gentle readers, Doug is taking a pass on the WPG pregamer and it’s in my mostly capable hands today. True story – He’s penning his RMNB resignation letter and is negotiating with the New York Times on placement, word count, accompanying artwork, and possible liability issues. If I’m reading his RMNB pregaming instructions correctly (which he scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin), this is where I: A. Write opposing team’s city smells. B. Call their fans are ill-mannered, uncultured, uneducated, slovenly, and slack-jawed. C. Say opposing players are “stupid morons with ugly faces and a big butts and their butt smells and they like to kiss my butt.” D. Sit back and enjoy the smug satisfaction of being a hockey blogger.
But no. This game, the march to the playoffs and the gravity of the Caps precarious spot requires much more than just infantile name-calling. The seriousness of the situation screams out for far more elevated and sober commentary, which in this case means adolescent hectoring. And I’m the right man for the job.
On February 9, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Joel Ward screens Ondrej Pavelec (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
The Washington Capitals summoned the Winnipeg Jets to end their residency at Verizon Center. It was supposed to be a pitched battle for alphabetical inferiority, another explosive game that Dale Hunter would compare to the playoffs. Instead we got a flurry of neutral-zone skirmishes and perfect moments by both goaltenders for 50 minutes and sheer insanity for 10.
The game’s first period was sleepy and scoreless, the second the same. But 10 minutes into the third, Alex Ovechkin sent a puck acutely netward during 5-on-4 play. Ovechkin hooked up Semin for another PP tally a few minutes later. Somebody on the other team scored, and we didn’t care. Then Dustin Byfuglien got a weird bounce to knot the game 12 seconds later. Overtime came and went. Jets beat Caps 3-2 (Shootout)
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! (Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub)
After 58:45 of play against Southeast division rival Winnipeg, Alex Ovechkin had just two shots and one hit. Through his last 15 games prior to tonight, Ovi had only two goals. Two!
With the lack of goals and hits, the Alex Ovechkin highlight reel known as the “OvechKam” has become a chore of late. For people who don’t know what I’m referring to, I’ll let a CSN press release via 2008 explain:
The Puck Drop: Lesson – don’t waste all your good rival city bile in your first pregame post. You may get the hahas, but it doesn’t leave you much room for new jokes. Lesson: as we continue to repeat until GMGM hears us, there are two Caps teams. One team is Ninja Master, the other is Donkey Kong. There is no telling which will show up, and this must be fixed.
Lesson: if a team is going to win, it will win as a team. The Caps seem to have a hot-shot mentality of late; namely they play really well, until something unexpected happens. Not a first goal, as we seem to play better if we’re just one down, but a second, surprise goal. At that point you can almost see the shoulders schlump, the feet get leaden and the team lose heart, players scrambling to pump the sinking ship (almost like how and fans Verizon last night). Panic does not become a great team. Keep calm and carry on.
All of this is to say: we must be humble if we are to be great.