Actually, no, it didn't turn out to be, because luckily the Capitals all wished to be awesome.
Interesting to play a game like this right after all of the fuss about the trap, but I thought we did all right against a team who basically wrote the book on it. Sure, it was a little slower paced than some of our games are going to be, but luckily we've got some speediness on our own lines, and nobody can say we don't have practice against that kind of system.
(Ask me about my feelings on the trap.)
(Actually don't. I have a lot of feelings.)
The game started out a little sluggishly. Interesting--for a team that had been stewing over being called clowns and losers for two days, I'd expected a little more bite right off the bat. Live game monitoring of the effectiveness of bag skates as a coaching tactic: no change so far.
Within two minutes we accidentally destroy Carter, who takes this as motivation to be a huge problem for the rest of the game. Whoops.
There's a lot of traffic around our net, and that makes me angry, I am about ready to get on the ice and clear the net myself, except I guess I would have to get on a bus and then learn how to skate first. It seems worth it, because nothing good is happening here.
Cam Janssen boards Matt Hendricks behind the net. Matt Hendricks bounces right back up, you can't hurt him, but it's a penalty.
Cam Janssen, you are so much less pleasant than the plucky child protagonist of the mystery novels I used to read when I was in grade school.
Green takes one of the PP shifts and I am so happy to see him. We need to learn how to be effective without him in the lineup, for sure, but isn't it so much nicer just to not have to worry about it?
The PP is not so great. Parise wants to stop my heart and gets a good shorthanded chance but Vokoun doesn't think so, pal. Penalty over.
The team keeps playing like they are not so sure about this hockey thing. We have one shot on goal at this point. One. Uno.
Semin gets a stick penalty at 9:11. I wonder who had that in the pool?
In all seriousness, it was a pretty bogus call--the hook he was called for did not exist, but he's got a reputation now. The referee knows not what he hath wrought--Boudreau's been talking a lot about accountability with Semin over the last few days, and he responds to this by essentially telling Semin to take a seat for the rest of the game.
The Devils don't score on the PP, but there's still a lot of scary things happening around the net when it ends, and just like that, Adam Larsson lines it up and shoots it.
First NHL goal, just in time for his birthday tomorrow. Sigh. Fine, you can have that one.
But now it's time to fight, Caps, put your fists up.
Knuble manhandles Zherdev--technically Zherdev had already played the puck but it seemed to Knuble like a shame to waste a perfectly good check. Crunch.
PK: aggressive. The Devils get no shots on goal.
And then, unmitigated disaster strikes.
Green gets hit by Carter, goes into the boards awkwardly, and goes down on the ice.
Injury ninja. I swear to God, he must have fucked a hockey god's wife or something, because someone has got it out for him.
The third line does shit, but Brodeur has decided not to be old tonight and is holding it down.
Alzner with a beautiful poke check--Carlzner has been put back together and all is right in Capsland, commentators are using words like "finally reunited" and my mental image is of them running at each other in slow motion across a field.
In the second period, Vokoun gets FLATTENED and it's about the most interfering interference call you could possibly commit. Penalty for us.
We seem to make the conscious decision to do nothing with this penalty, and so nothing is done. Luckily, we get a do-over--about two minutes later there's another call on Jersey, and this would be great for us if the Devils' PK wasn't so excellent. Oh well, let's give it a go.
Aaaaannnd we give up another shorthanded chance--luckily it's not a goal. Vokoun has our back tonight. It remains to be seen if we have his.
Chimera's on the second line for some reason, Ward's on the first line. I've given up having opinions about this, I can't even keep track anymore.
Jersey takes ANOTHER penalty, so if we were worried about looking bad on penalties tonight, we really don't have to be anymore. Their PK continues to be stellar, but unfortunately their 5-on-5 is not quite up to par. Ovechkin wants goals, so he goes to the net.
Right place, right time, right player. See the post below for what Ovechkin's been doing to adapt his game, because I have Opinions about that, too. Tied up.
And now Ovechkin is alive--almost finds the net AGAIN within about thirty seconds, only stopped by some scrambling by Brodeur. Watch out, Jersey.
Chimera gets a little rough and maybe sort of punches a guy in the head. We spend the rest of the period penalty killing, but we do a pretty good job of it. This is not my favorite penalty kill of the night, though--that award goes to the next one, right at the beginning of the third period. Chimera gets the puck, smokes every Devil on the ice, and takes it in at approximately the speed of light.
The role of The Flash will tonight be played by Jason Chimera. Look at that shit. You can practically see the speed lines.
Zoom. Put that one on the highlight reel.
2-1, and the Devils never get the game back. Ovechkin steamrolls Larsson at center ice, and this one, we need to watch again:
Thing of beauty. Greene gracefully bounding over Larsson's body like a gazelle is a nice touch, too.
The Devils are trying, but Vokoun is being ridiculously aggressive. One thing I like about that guy is that when he has a bad game he's quick to face the music about it--not a virtue I would appreciate in and of itself, except that those mea culpas always include some variation of "I'll pay them back for that one."
And he does.
We're winning already, but Marcus Johansson takes it upon himself to make sure that we've got it in the bag.
Great crease chaos from New Daddy Hendricks, who is basically charging around in the paint going "look at me, look at me" while Johansson fires the puck from a severe angle, which he's already shown us he's capable of burying.
3-1. I spend some moments of mild confusion wondering why these people are even on the ice at the same time, but I do not complain about line shuffling when we are winning, only when we are losing, and I am not even sorry about this.
We have to kill another penalty at the very end, but it matters not at all.
We needed this one--you know, as much as you can really need a game in early November, but this one was about character and team resilience--specifically, whether we had any.
Looks like the answer is yes.
It's going to be a long season, and things are going to be terrible sometimes. The trick is to cut those terrible parts short as quickly as we can, and learn to bounce back with a vengeance, because sooner than we know we're going to get to the part of the season where you're either glorious or you go home. This was a step forward and not a step backwards. Excellent.
Jersey again tomorrow. Momentum: Capitals. Let's dance with the Devils again I guess, even if they're assholes and keep stepping on our feet. See you tonight.
Let's go Caps.