Saturday, November 5, 2011

Caps/Canes, 11/4/2011

I love games where I get to used words like "destroyed", "rolled over", "annihilated". Don't get me wrong, close games are exciting, but there's been a lot less of that this year. A win is a win, and I'll take two points however they come, but games that end with scores like this say Hi, league, don't know if you've noticed, but we're a pretty good team. Pay attention. 

Killer instinct. We had a bit of trouble with it last season. This season? Not so much. Six out of eleven games we've scored five goals or more. Seventeen goals in the third period so far this season. We don't beat teams, we bury them.

When the game starts, Brouwer is out on the ice, Green is still not--I'm glad to see Brouwer, he's been saying he's fine, but hockey players always want to be fine whether or not they are. Sucks that Green is still out, but I want him to get to 100%, now is better than later.

What with the way the last few games have been going, I am kind of terrified of the first period, but off the bat things are looking a lot more balanced than they have lately. Joe B helpfully points out that Joel Ward and Cam Ward are not related.

I don't know, I see a resemblance.

Neuvirth is goal, and can I say how awesome it is that we have two such strong goalies for instances like this, when we have back to back games? I assume he's gotten a lot more of the rust shaken off now, he's very solid early in the game--except when the way we've been sucking on faceoffs really bites us in the ass. Skinner wins the faceoff and it gets to Stewart in about a split fucking second.

1-0. Dammit.

I was reading something recently about how a lot of games have been scored on early this season, but I don't remember what the point was, I just remember that...a lot of games have been scored on early this season. So there's that. The more you know.

The Caps are filled with consternation about this goal and push to get some chances of their own, but Cam Ward has X-ray vision and can see through traffic. Possibly this is against the rules. 

The Semin-Backstrom-Ovechkin is together now and there's no question that this is a scary line. Semin is being aggressive, Ovechkin is being talked about and you know he hears it. 

It's still a slow start, there's no question about that, but people should still probably beware of what they are saying, because he is the kind of guy who will make you eat your words. Sometimes patience is part of love, too. If we can wait for Mike Green, we can wait for Ovechkin. 

Staal tries some tricky stuff, spin-o-rama, Neuvirth would like to know what the fuck he is doing and swallows the puck whole. In other news, our fourth line has been subjected to some kind of radiation/spider bite/mutation that has turned them into the kill-everything line, and are laying waste to all in their path. Matt Hendricks heads in like a charging bull, runs over everyone, and crashes the net so hard that he has to almost jump over Cam Ward. This is actually the second time he has done this this season.

I am on a Canes feed again. This is always extremely hilarious and bizarre, and when this chance happens there's a lot of surprise in the booth. "Just a depth player! What a shock!" Lord. You don't watch much Caps hockey, do you? 

Not even close to being a picture from this game, but I like it. 

Kickass third line also kicking ass, but pucks are bouncing weirdly on pretty bad ice, and we're definitely getting challenged back. Person whose name I am sick of hearing so far: Anthony Stewart. There are a couple of scary, scary shots on Neuvirth and then a huge scrum as #beastmode fourth line informs the Canes that they need to stay away from our goaltender. Boy, did I miss Erskine's intimidating Viking presence on the ice. 

Cam Ward pulls a Vokoun and trips Johansson. Goalie penalties still my favorite, news at eleven. Power playyyyy!

Credit where it's due--Ward's being amazing. Point-blank saves on both Ovechkin and Semin, the whole PP unit is buzzing and by the time the period ends we have a 15-10 advantage in shots on goal, but it does end. 

At the beginning of the second we've actually got a bit of power play left, so this is a really good place to pick back up on that momentum we had building, and we do so--just not in--you know. A scoring way.

Whatever, we don't need stupid power plays. (Yes we do.) Regardless, we're going to do something about that score.

Halpern, with what I can only describe as a Bobby Orr Flying Scoring Play. Man, I hate to say it, but this healthy scratching thing is kinda working out, isn't it? 

Tied at 1-1. The Canes are looking useless directly after this, and I realize that it's because our third line is on the ice. When our third line is on the ice, shit is happening, that's all there is to it.

Caps smell blood--and Brouwer, as promised, really is feeling just fine.

Score. Brouwer with his first as a Cap, courtesy of the most beautiful pass thus far in the entire sport of hockey from Marcus Johansson. Seriously, I am actually physically attracted to this pass, I would like to take it out for dinner. Like it doesn't even

touch the ice or

I don't even know.

I can't handle this level of you, MJ. 

Joel Ward egregiously hooks Ruutu, but I do not even blame him for the following reasons: 1. clear scoring chance for Ruutu that he prevented, 2. Tuomo Ruutu is a dick. But referees do not take this into account, so let's see if our PK has cured what ailed it.

Answer turns out to be both no, apparently not--and that we are very lucky Caps fans tonight. Jeff Skinner scores--except that he scores about a second after a technically very, very early whistle. It looks like Neuvirth has the puck frozen, he reallllly doesn't but the whistle is blown, puck goes in, no goal.


I have never in my entire life felt bad about a blown call in our favor. It's like bank error in your favor--do you deserve it? Nope. Did it happen anyway? Sure did.

The score is still tied, and at this point I feel compelled to include the .gif that the whole internet has seen by now, but is nonetheless still glorious. Skinner's reaction to this call:

And now I can't stop watching it again. Oh God. Oh God. It's the .gif that keeps on giving.

Shortly after this, Roman Hamrlik is called holding Jeff Skinner--probably to comfort him from the no goal. Perhaps his paternal instincts have kicked in.

Carolina's PP is basically a massive joke--they get a few shots on goal, but it takes more than that to get past Neuvirth tonight, and then Hendricks goes on a breakaway shorthanded, gets a shot and then a great rebound, but can't score. 

The Canes' on-the-glass reporter is really interested in interviewing the owner about ownership or something, while the play-by-play guy is trying to point out to him that MJ is about to score. He doesn't, but this is a tense, increasingly frantic exchange and I like it.

Our fourth line is great. ...Except for the goaltender interference. Once again Carolina's PP really doesn't look like a PP at first, we've got a lot of puck possession. Carlson is a perfect hockey player made in a lab. KILLED.

Finally another penalty against Carolina--now's our chance to take the game and run! Now's our chance to score gloriously and make it a two-goal difference!

Or pass.

Yep. Look at all this passing. What good passing. Sometime think about shooting Caps, how about it?

Guess not. There's really not a lot of movement on the PP lately. I miss Mike Green.

Baby come back. 

There's a huge scuffle at the net between...Erskine and Staal? What? I don't know if you're aware, Staal, but Erkine eats guys like you for breakfast. Staal does seem to recognize this, so he chooses to fight via the honorable "hit the guy in the produce section" move. (Joe B, you have enriched my vocabulary).

John Erskine is not amused. Linesmen narrowly save Staal from destruction.

When I tune in to the third period, that one batshit Canes commentator is on a rant about video replay/no goal challenging and how the rules ought to change leaguewide.

His fellow commentator is clearly tired of this. Tension in the box!

Neuvirth has been very, very good and he continues to be in that quiet-as-a-mouse goaltending style that he has. Now that's our goalie.There's pressure from Carolina but Neuvirth does not want a goal, and so a goal does not happen.

Cody Eakin gets assigned a point on Brouwer's goal, which makes it his first NHL point, ever!

I feel in my soul that we really needed someone this ginger on our team. I am happy we have found him, and hope we see more of him through the season.

Now that Wideman is all healed up from the Ruutu-inflicted hematoma that kept him out of the end of the last season, apparently Ruutu thinks it's his right to break him again. Nasty blindside hit, drives Wideman's face into the boards, and two minutes is not enough for me. Five minutes.Game misconduct. A hundred minutes. Off with his head.

Carlson makes him pay. Incredible shot on the PP, just an absolute comet--you can't even really see it on camera, it's that hard and that fast. This is not a picture of that shot, but I feel that it properly expresses the majesty of the moment.

Commentators call him the young Duncan Keith. Wrong, bitches. He's the young John Carlson. 

We're at that part of the game that we've been lucky enough to see a few times so far this season--where the Caps feel dangerous, and they feel like they can score a million goals. They are correct. They can, in fact, score a million goals.

Ovechkin gets a clear chance and misses. Fun fact: Ovechkin does not actually have great shot accuracy, he just shoots a whole fucking lot. Wonder how that's going to be affected with his ice time down? We will see.

People try to get Hendricks out of the net, just not happening--he likes it there. At one point he gets shoved to his knees and he's STILL got a stick up ready to deflect, looking as if that was his plan all along. Five straight chances to start the period--we are steamrolling.

Cody Eakin's first NHL goal! Almost literally giftwrapped by Semin, it's a lovely, LOVELY unhurried 2-on-1 that Semin probably could have scored on, but instead he lets Ward focus on him and makes a great, unselfish pass to Eakin. What a guy.

Eakin is beaming on the bench. Aw, rookies. The camera pans back a few minutes later and he is still smiling.

And just because we can--fifth goal. Why not. It's Backstrom from basically the whole first line, assist by the Canes' horribly timed line change. Canes commentators: "if the linesman wasn't there they wouldn't have scored". No, i think that the main reason that they scored is because our team is better at hockey than your team.


Cody Eakin, first star of the game. Win win win. Snazzy, sexy win--sometimes they don't look good. But sometimes they do.

Dare we say we're the team to beat? People sure seem to be having a tough time beating us, that's for sure. A two-game winning streak definitely settles a lot better than a two-game losing streak. Let's just--never visit Canada on the road again or something, that's the best plan I can come up with, but I am still liking what I'm seeing, all of it, every part. There's very little dead weight on this team right now, and Eakin just proved that if we ever get into dire straits, we've got players who can step up.

If the biggest problem we're dealing with is whether or not Ovechkin will score 65 goals...well. Best season ever.

Islanders today. I know it's rough on the players but I love back-to-back hockey. Hockey every day, make it so. See you tonight, boys.

Let's go Caps.

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