This is a legal hit in Canada.
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.
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:
Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub
After Tuesday’s crushing defeat, the Washington Capitals hoped a trip to the frozen north and the Winnipeg Jets would bring good fortune. It was a tight one. A goalie’s duel. A game of inches.
We were scoar-less forever until Alex Ovechkin fired off Marcus Johansson’s tee-up. Caps beat Jets 1-0. Shut out for Michal Neuvirth!
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: do NOT write mouthy, taunting blog posts your team (or butt) cannot cash.
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.
Photo credit: Mitchell Layton
In Russia, they say the first crepe is always a clump. It describes the low expectations when something is attempted for the first time. The first NHL game for Dmitry Orlov, who debuted on the big scene Monday night against the Coyotes, was certainly not a clump – but it did turn out to be quite uneventful. His next game — a Thanksgiving Eve fixture against Southeast Division rival Winnipeg — was quite different. Dima’s name was in bold on the playing roster handout as one of the six Capitals’ starters. When the starting line-ups were introduced over the PA system, a loud cheer came from the crowd as the youngster was named one of the starting defensemen. Orlov was even featured on the jumbotron walking alongside his captain to the locker room. Expectations were certainly higher this time around.
Well, Dima certainly turned it up a notch or two for his second NHL game. Of course there were the obvious moments: his first NHL point – an assist on Nick Backstrom’s goal in the second period, a textbook-perfect hip-check on Blake Wheeler that sent the big Jets forward tumbling to the ice head-over-heels, and another thunderous collision with Evander Kane that launched his opponent’s stick into the stands. He even made an appearance on NHL Network. But as I talked to Dmitry in the Caps’ locker room immediately after the game, it quickly become apparent that helping his team win the game mattered much more to him than getting on the score sheet or landing a spectacular hit.
Chimmer with the game-winner. Now, let’s go eat a Turkey dinner. (Photo credit: Evan Vucci)
Two nights ago, Alex Semin was banished to the press box, a healthy scratch for the first time since his rookie year.
Five minutes and twenty-three seconds into the first period, redemption was his. Sasha Minor took Alex Ovechkin’s wizardly backhand feed and fired a rocket past Ondrej Pavelec on the 2-on-1 to open the scoring. The mustachioed Andrew Ladd got one back for the Jets, however, when he and Nik Antropov worked their on 2-on-1 magic. But, before I could even finish swearing — 12 seconds later in other words — Brooks Laich set up Jason Chimera at the top of the crease to once again give the home team the lead. Keeping with the back-and-forthiness, Kyle Wellwood tied the game up for Winnipeg again just three minutes later. Birthday boy Nicky Backstrom, though, didn’t let that stand when early in the second frame he whacked one five-hole on Pavelec to give the Caps a 3-2 lead. But the Jets didn’t run out of fuel there when, with eight minutes left in the third, Bryan Little wristed one past Tomas Vokoun to tie it for the gazillionth time. To overtime we went, and that’s where Chimmer shined once again — with an awesome celebration to boot. Ballgame. Caps beat Jets, 4-3.
Eric Fehr, Mark Stuart, Nik Antropov, and Andrew Ladd (Photo credit: John Woods)
The Pre Game: OK, who among us is not looking forward to smearing turkey gravy over fresh rolls with sage stuffing and a slab of dark meat on top with tart cranberry sauce dripping from the side? Maybe everyone who also has to travel home for the annual ‘Parental Maintenance’ festival. Or those who just aren’t in a position to lay a feast on their table.
Don’t ever dare quote us as saying this, but this is a great time of year to be nice to people. Even those you don’t know. Not just Thanksgiving Day, but the coming months of cold, and dark, and at times hunger. Be nice, people.
We don’t handle “being nice” well, at least publicly, so this Thanksgiving preview we’ve handed over to two honest, sweet-natured souls from the Upper Midwest. (*whisper God’sCountry whisper*) “Puck Buddy Bunny” and “Dave E” write for PuckBuddys, and occasionally hoist a drink to the great hockey teams of the midwest, such as the Fightin’ Souix, the Duluth Bulldogs, or (when they must) the Wings.
Either of them have more hockey knowledge at a hat drop than both PuckBuddys on a sober night, and they’ve offered their thoughts on our second tangle with the Winnipeg Jets. We advise you sit up straight, pay attention, then go back to fiddling with your bird.
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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