Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Caps/Bolts, 10/10/2011

Hey Caps, remember that time when I told you to make the games less exciting? 



But seriously, for anyone watching that game last night that is not now dead of a heart attack--some game, huh? Ten goals, twenty-four PIM, two goal performance from Chimera, several totally bizarre puck bouncing goals. According to the Versus announcers, it was because it's a full moon.

Okay Versus announcers. Sure. 

Likely the real reason for all that insanity was that this was a Revenge Game--the Lightning swept us out of the playoffs last season, and we were hell-bent on proving that we are better than them, and they were hell-bent on proving otherwise. Either that or someone told both teams that the Stanley Cup would be awarded to the winner of this game, because they were sure playing that way. Sorry boys. 80 more games to go. 

All right, are you ready for this recap? A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENED. Literally almost all the things, I could write a novel on this game, I could write a goddamned master's thesis. I'll try to keep it shorter than that. You're welcome. 

So the first ten minutes were more or less the weirdest ten minutes of my life. 

What the fuck was that goal? And why do the Lightning always get those weird possessed devil bounces? Have I mentioned that I hate the Lightning? I sort of do. They are the top notch on my Hierarchy of Hate right now. They know what they did. 

But it's all right for now, things have not yet gone crazy. MoJo ties it up with a pretty wraparound goal that he tries again like five more times the rest of the night. But it works this time. 

(pic from here)

Beautifully. If this goal were a song, it would be dedicated to Bruce Boudreau and titled "I don't want to be a healthy scratch". 

We did not get to bask in this very long, because Bruno Gervais is a bad person. 


In all fairness to Mr. Gervais, this was the second pretty terrible goal on Vokoun. Was the defense in the right place? Very no. Should he have had it anyway? Yes. Should we trade him back immediately, burn the farm, and rebuild? Of course not. Do the George Mcphee. Stay the course. He takes awhile to warm up. Motherfucking Goaltending Machines are like that. 

It's still only the first period on the second game of the season, and the pace is nuts. The boys are playing with hate in their veins. 

Interference call on Moore and we go on the PP, or as we like to call it in Washington, "two minutes with an extra useless guy on the ice". Lots of scrambling going on, nothing looked composed. Tampa has a very aggressive penalty kill and it makes me want to personally deliver to all of their houses a special punch to the face. 

We then proceed to look like we're on a power play the instant we get off the power play, and attack like madmen. Brilliant shift from the fourth line that ended in an extremely crazy thing that was apparently a Wideman goal. 

Meaning that it was off a Wideman shot and then Hendricks bounded gracefully over it so that it would actually go in, causing the stadium staff to change the goal credit from Wideman to Hendricks back to Wideman again in quick succession. Good heads-up by Hendricks, excellent leaping ability. Fuck yeah fourth line. 

We go into the dressing room tied. It is difficult to remember it is only the first period. 

When the second starts, once again there's no time to really enjoy any happiness in the world, because stupid Dominic Moore goes and scores. 

Being behind is the worst feeling. Luckily we are used to it.

This one wasn't so much Vokoun's fault as it was...basically everyone else on the team's fault, or at least those on the ice. This led to some interesting camera work showing the Caps being yelled at like they were being sent to bed without dinner, one use of the word "apoplectic" by Versus announcers, followed by some trashing of the Caps star players. 


Watch it, Versus. The boys are human and they make mistakes, but they're wonderful humans so we love them. You may fuck right off at your earliest convenience. 

The top line are sent to their rooms for a bit while the checking lines keep shit locked down. There was some more great puck possession making it look like a power play--and then an actual power play, which of course was where things came grinding to a halt. In fact, it quickly turned into a 5-on-3 when Nate Thompson broke his stick, couldn't get rid of it, couldn't get to the bench, and finally threw it in frustration. 

This actually led to a hilarious bench cutaway where Boucher was yelling at the ref about the penalty, and then the ref came over and explained to him that Thompson had thrown his stick, and Boucher immediately got this "OH I SEE" look on his face and dropped it. It was like when a parent gets told that their kid threw a rock at another kid. 

I must note at this time that though I found Thompson highly amusing at this point, I would later hate him with the fire of a thousand suns. Such is the game of hockey. Basically the only way to avoid my rage is to not play against my team ever, or alternately, be really bad at it. 

PP is looking good actually, everyone is shooting, some very heavy shots from Ovechkin that don't get through. It doesn't happen for us. No score on the 5-on-3. Ouch. Of course we didn't get to play out the full penalty, because a Lightning player gets an almost-breakaway and Backstrom slashes his down with what is scarily close to the hockey season's first penalty shot. 

Luckily the refs call it just a slashing penalty. 

Just a slashing penalty. Lord, what am I saying? 

The first half of the PK we spend down in their end with puck possession! This is great!

THE SECOND HALF OF IT IS TERRIFYING. The Washington net is temporarily the town bike--everyone gets a shot. Hendricks gets tripped, takes a page from Hal Gill's book and falls like a mighty oak to block everything in front of the net while he's at it. Penalties everywhere. At some point this turns into 4-on-3 hockey, which I don't think I've ever seen in regulation before. Weird game. 

Behind the glass interview segment: With two Bolts in the box, Boucher would like us to know that his team is perfectly calm, why do you ask? 

Now, we've been learning more and more about hardworking goals in Washington, but this is a call I've never heard before: "pushed the goalie in with the puck". 

(pic from here)

Well okay, we kind of did that. But it worked, huh? Maybe we should get an extra two points for putting the goalie in the net, too. 

Five on five play, finally. "Seven Nation Army" starts playing in the stadium. This has to be some kind of good luck charm. 

Jack White will save us. 

It's at about this point that I realize that I haven't heard Stamkos's name all night. Not that this is a bad thing, it means that our defense is doing a great job shutting him and St. Louis down, but the same thing is basically happening to Ovechkin and our own top line. The Lightning are an excellent defensive team, and they did last night what they did during that second-round series--neutralized our main goal-scorers, which put all the weight on our secondary scoring. Last season, they didn't seem ready to carry that weight. 

This year, it's clearly going to be a lot different. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Green held off the score sheet all night? No problem. We've got a ten-player spread on goals and assists from this game. Count 'em. Ten. 

You want depth? We've got your depth right here. 

But it's not over yet. 

To quote Bob Cole, "EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING." All Washington. You can feel the goal coming. 

Whoa, Chimera? Two goals in two games? 

Were were worried about secondary scoring, again? 

Also fun: this was Chimera's 100th career goal! Let's take another moment to appreciate this beautiful bastard.

Our team is so great. 

Things are going too well, say the Hockey Gods. Time for a boneheaded penalty. 

Oh hello, my least favorite penalty of all time. HEY BOYS. DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN COUNT TO FIVE ON YOUR FINGERS? FIVE = ONE HAND. 

I spend this penalty kill watching in frozen terror going "please don't score please don't score." This seems to be effective and I will try it in the future. 

It's directly after this PK that one of the most fun plays of the night happens, when Troy Brouwer stops dead in the middle of the ice in order to knock Martin St. Louis right off his feet like a schoolyard bully. 

Sadly, there is no picture of this. Press, get your priorities straight. 

Here, take this picture of Brouwer stapling some person from the Blues to the boards in its place. Imagine it's St. Louis. 

Sorry that you're short, St. Louis. No pity. This is war. 

Remember that time when I thought Nate Thompson was funny? 

I don't anymore. 

For some reason this goal hurt the worst. Maybe because it looked for a minute like we could win this free and clear, but oh no, it's still not over yet. 

Tie game is still okay. You know what's not okay? Another goal. 

Hey Vokoun, remember that time when I defended your honor for five months? Thanks for backing me up there, buddy. 

It's all right. We believe. I can see him warming up already. He just better not take three periods to warm up for the rest of the season, that's all I have to say. I am a patient woman, but not that patient. 

We need a goal. Come on, Ovechkin. Come on, Semin. Come on--

Chimera? Holy fuck! Boudreau is paying attention for once and puts the guys on the ice who are playing like their life depends on it. Go Third Line Go. 

Second goal for Jason Chimera, talk about stepping up. No he's not our skill guy, but he is the fastest man in the world, and he deserves some loving for that performance last night. Ladies, get in line. 


I can't even handle this game. This is ridiculous. SECOND GAME OF THE SEASON. 

We start overtime on a power play because Bergeron can't keep his stick to himself. This does not last for long. 

Sasha, this is literally the worst possible moment in your entire life to take a bad stick penalty. 

I am beside myself. There are conniptions. 4-on-4, and then we're down a man when Bergeron comes out of the box. 

Lecavalier makes a perfect play on Vokoun, but he doesn't even give a fuck. 

So about that Vokoun-warming-up thing. Well. Not that those soft goals are forgiven or anything, but I have to say, if he had to choose one part of the game to be ridiculously on fire, the last five minutes of the game are a pretty good time to do it. 

We finally kill the penalty. Everything will be okay. We can score or hold them off. We'll be happy to get out of here alive. Everything is okay. 



My notes for this part of the game are as follows: 




Quality observations there. 

Vokoun saves our bacon about ten times in a row. This is all good, 29. Can we do this a little earlier next time? Regardless, he takes us to the end of overtime. 


Me and my blood pressure hate shootouts. 

First shooter Hendricks. 

Prettiest goal in the world. God, it's nice to have a fourth liner with these kinds of special side skills, isn't it? Let's all appreciate Matt Hendricks. 

Look, he's happy about it too. Or at least, I think that's happy. 

For Tampa Bay, Nate Thompson, my least favorite bolt of Lightning tonight. 


Next up, 8. It's a miss. 

Worrying lack of presence from him the last two games. That's okay. We all know that he's going to hit his stride again soon and start playing like the best player in the world that he is. Naysayers beware. 

Dominic Moore for the Lightning. 

Not a chance. 

Semin for the win. 

And he puts it AWAY. 

We can't stay mad at you, Sasha. Mostly cause you win us games. 

So there it was, a game with a lot of unnecessary emotional distress, but it turned out all right in the end. Revenge point: us. It felt like we needed to win this game, on account of the time that the Lightning got their boring trap selves between us and the Stanley Cup. They can have that series, they can feel really good about it if they want, but this year, it's ours. 

Probably a good idea to stay out of our way. 

Penguins Thursday. Another one that will probably be way too exciting for this early in the season, and another one that will probably feel like we really need to win. The schedule will get easier at some point, I assume. That's okay. Set 'em up, we'll knock 'em down. 

Let's go Caps. 

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