Remember how graceful of a winner I am? Yeah, I'm an even worse loser.
So I was halfway into a road trip for this game, meaning that for the first time this season I was listening to it on the radio, which is bad luck I guess? Either that or it was that I didn't have my lucky shirt on for the first time this season, which is definitely bad luck. Either way, the streak is broken. Unfortunately, it was broken in a terrible, stupid, ugly, badly officiated game and I feel so sorry for the people who had to be in the car with me while it was going on, but oh well. We've been worse off--and we didn't die or anything. Caps will never lose again.
It took me a good five minutes to find the game on the radio, and I tuned in just in time to get entirely the wrong impression about what kind of game it was going to be.
Alzner goal! Love it. Alzner's not the kind of player who scores very often, nor do we really need him to--that's not his job, he's the one who makes things safe and steady and rock solid and lets other people build on that. Still, that makes it all the much more fun and cool when he does. Great PP setup, good screen--Joel Ward makes a better door than a window.
Spoiler alert! This is the Caps' only lead of the game. After this, things start to go downhill fast.
Matt Hendricks gets tripped, thank God there's a penal--WHAT DO YOU MEAN, DIVING? THIS IS MATT FUCKING HENDRICKS, YOU DON'T EVEN. WHAT IN THE.
I hate this stupid call--I feel indignant and huffy, as if Hendricks' honor has been called into question somehow. Nothing to be done. Incidental minors and we go to four-on-four.
Our penalty kill's been stellar, so if that was the worst thing that happened this period we'd probably be okay, but we can't catch a break. Semin gets called for hooking and we're down again only minutes later. Bad news bears. The Oilers are not a particularly lethal team, but when they're given this much of a handicap there's cause for worry, because they can shoot, and they can skate.
But we kill it, because we are the best.
Smyth slashes MJ90 and we get a penalty of our own, though Johansson goes down the tunnel holding his wrist and it almost seems not worth it if he's really hurt. It hardly gets off the ground--Carlson gets called for delay of game, and then Hamrlik for hooking, and our man advantage is pulled out from under us like a rug in a rude and outrageous manner. I get the feeling that the refs would like some attention.
My emotional state over this two minute period as expressed by emoticons: :D to D: to :| to >/
The PK does its best, but fuck me, it's a four-on-three and we are beleagured. Eberle to Hall, cross-crease, Vokoun's got no chance.
There is no picture of Hall scoring so here is a picture of Hall getting hit instead. Kinda better anyway.
We still outplay them by a good bit over the whole first period, shots are 9-5 despite the penalties. MJ doesn't come back out the rest of the first and so I am anxious to see if he's on the ice for the second, but he is. Tough kid.
The second doesn't get off to much of a better start--Hamrlik and Wideman get stuck out on way too long of a shift--you know, that thing we usually force other teams into, that doesn't usually happen to us.
More downhill. Schultz is called for hooking and I am not a happy Caps fan. These are not all the ref's fault anymore, but there are other things not being called on the Oilers and it's unbelievably frustrating. Ana Rage Level: huffy.
Luckily the Penalty Killahs are on point. We hold them off, but these PK heroes have to be getting tired. Shots are 11-6 for us, but we look lost defensively and there is no offense to be found in all of the land. We can't catch the rhythm of this game and it's really not surprising.
Andy Sutton is needlessly fucking with MJ, which is all that Andy Sutton is good for. No call. Cross checks, elbows, no call. Andy Sutton literally punches Johansson, no call no call no call. Ana Rage Level: swearing like a sailor.
Meanwhile Brouwer is headed to the box, which TOTALLY MAKES SENSE. Refs. Fucking. No one approves of this shit.
Eberle scores. Ana Rage Level: Looney Tunes. The kind where your eyes go in spirals and smoke comes out of your ears. About a minute later, Johansson closes his hand on the puck, and this isn't one of those boring other sports where you catch things with your hands and run around on solid ground in cleats and things--that's a penalty. On the positive side, it means that MJ's hand is probably all right, on the negative side it is our seventh, count 'em, seventh penalty of the night.
We kill it. Thank God for the brave men of our shutdown units, but the nightmare is not over yet. Penalty to Perrault for WHO EVEN CARES ANYMORE. EIGHTH PENALTY. CAN WE PLAY HOCKEY OR.
ANA RAGE LEVEL: REGINA GEORGE.
One minute in? PENALTY TO KARL ALZNER. WHY NOT? FIVE ON TWO! FIVE ON VOKOUN! KEEP GOING, REALLY.
Ana rage level: VOLCANIC.
The intermission comes before I go on a tri-state killing spree. I cool down slightly. Threat level orange. I need a new period to start though, because this has turned into one of those games where my irrational feeling of injustice has made it feel like a must-win. We need redemption. We need to stop taking penalties.
Ovechkin skates the first shift like he's on fire--he's been bottled up for the better part of two periods, because he doesn't penalty kill and that's alllll we've been doing. The first line attacks with a righteous fury, and in fact everyone is looking very good--but we don't need good at the moment, we need goals.
Penalty called on Smid, and we get our first PP in twenty-five minutes--the refs are sorry, but they're not fucking sorry enough. MJ is slow getting to his feet once again, Smid's elbow might have made contact with his head. Sic 'em, Shanahan.
We still look good, but Khabibulin is unreasonably solid tonight--I'd seen him on the league leaders board a few times but hadn't thought anything of it, since being Khabibulin, he will likely implode at some point pretty soon. Unfortunately it is too early in the season for this implosion, and he is just being infuriating. On the PP he risks his life by taking away my game-tying goal. Robbery.
Shots are 9-0. Caps will raze this place to the earth and salt the ground for a goal.
Brooks Laich takes a puck to the face, and the conspiracy against Caps faces continues. Laich's face may not survive the season.
We get 500000 chances and they're not going in.
Call us when you make the playoffs, you good-for-nothing teenage hoodlums.
So that wasn't fun. I'd rather lose a game--well, basically any other way than that. We certainly didn't get outplayed, except maybe by their goalie, and that means it's the kind of loss that just doesn't settle well--but hey, this is our first loss of the game. This isn't even close to desperation, shit was just lame and the Oilers got a blowjob from the officials. Happens.
We're back down to earth, we're mortals again--but this is a good thing, because I am not sure if hockey gods are eligible for the Stanley Cup. This is just a scratch, and it's motivation. Vancouver Saturday.
Let's go Caps.