Photo credit: Marianne Helm
The Southeast Division Farewell Tour kicked off with a battle between the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets. The Capitals managed to continue their strong five-on-five play from Tuesday and convert it into two early goals. Big Buff and the Jets tried to mount a comeback, but the Caps stuck two more daggers in ’em instead. And oh yeah: Braden Holtby had his fourth perfect game this year.
Caps beat Thrashers 4-0.
Photo credit: John Woods
The Washington Capitals looked like a troubled team before Saturday’s game at the Winnipeg Jets. With a grinder on their top line, a goal-scorer in Wojtek Wolski scratched in favor of a tough guy, and more injured players than you can shake a groin at, expectations were low for the early afternoon rumble in Manitoba. For twenty minutes, those expectations were met, and then the Capitals took control of their destiny and looked like a damn fine hockey club.
And oh yeah: Braden Holtby.
Caps beat Jets 3-0.
This pretty much sums up the night. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
So our dads Peter and Ian decided to give your humble PuckBuddys the keys to the RMNB-car for recaps over the next few games. Ha! We promised them not to drive at dangerously high speeds with the top down while stealing people’s mail and laughing wildly. We promise you we won’t keep that promise.
Speaking of a wild ride, Tuesday’s geshrey was whether Adam Oates would pull his Caps back together under his new system, or whether they would revert to old ways/panic. Would this be the first home opener loss since the turn of the century? Would we rally from the Bolts shellacking and figure out our PK? Would Ribiero perform? Would Lady Mary really marry cousin Matthew? We have our answers.
10:02 in the 1st, Matt Hendricks gets the pass from Nicky for the first home score in almost a year, with a big crash o’ the net. That’s answered at 12:34 into the first, on a power play when the nasty Evander Kane sunk one on Holtby, unassisted. Andrew Ladd sinks a direct bullet at 16:26 – right through a non-existent Caps defense and a tired-looking Holtby (there, I said it.)
Second frame brought out a little toughness from both sides, with hopes on a Dustin Byfuglian penalty, yielding nothing. Kane knocks to Blake Wheeler, who then taps in at 14:32 to take the Jets up 3-1. PuckBuddys start crying. And then oh-noes: with less than a minute left, Slater tips in a dribbler for a boo-bird 4-1. Everyone grab your junk as Hendy puts Slater down after the horn; Verizon hall yawns.
In the third, an early Capitals power play nets Troy (handsome) Brouwer in the bin and washes out our chances. Remember when we were up in this game? haha. Caps swarm to save Braden Holtby half-way in, which almost raises our spirits. Hendy tries to rally the team; nothing juicy follows. A spit more than 1 minute left, Troy-Boy (off Ribiero) swags it in but gives the Jets a PP.
JETS BEAT CAPS 4-2.
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).
The Jets are five points behind the Caps with one less game played. They have the worst road record in the Eastern Conference.
And since this happened, Alex Ovechkin has scored four goals in three games. Thanks a bunch, Winnipeg!
It’s been a long time since Verizon Center has seen their boys. How will we greet them? And how will we welcome the Jets, whose fans have been so snarky lately?
A few suggestions:
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)
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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