Unfortunately it was a boring game and we lost it. Hard. I hate it when we lose, but it's at least a little better when we lose and we know exactly why, and how to fix it next time, which is....more sleep, I guess. More coffee? Not playing Vokoun ten games out of an eleven game stretch when we really don't have to?
Quickish recap because as far as I can see we only played twenty minutes of hockey in that game. Also because I have been trying to make these shorter anyway and lord knows that isn't going to happen, but let's give it a go.
Literally the first five notes I have are about the pace of the game--perhaps I'm just spoiled, since we've been playing a lot of intense hockey against competitive clubs lately, but the arena is very quiet, nobody's being challenged, and every cycle seems to take about ten years to complete.
Tired, boys? Or just bored?
The commentators seem to sense this, and take this moment to show us something extremely fucking cool.
That's right, the Islanders got a soldier to rappel down from the ceiling, to drop the puck upside down. Coolest shit. Isles commentator: "Hopefully the Islanders can turn their offense upside down. ...See what I did there?"
Oh yeah. We see what you did there.
A minute or so later he calls Jeff Schultz "Nick Schultz", but I will cut him a break because I have no idea how the hell they keep all those players straight anyway. Flash cards?
Carlson shoots the puck with no success, I briefly stop paying attention because I think it's going out, but Joel Ward has other ideas--namely, the kind of speed, skill, and opportunism that we are really not supposed to be getting with third liners, but we are, because we have Joel Ward on our team.
I don't even know what to call that play. Bat-down-spin-around-and-shoot-it.
1-0. I am changing my hypothesis to "if you score early in the game, you lose."
Things get reaaaallly slow again for a little while, but Semin sees my pain and trips someone, just to add some color.
Seriously this is getting to be like a silly running gag on a sitcom. OH THAT SASHA. *laugh track*
Commentator advice to the Islanders: pull a rabbit out of the hat. Also, find some magic.
Seems legit. But the magic is still just out of reach, and we kill the penalty. There's a GREAT, very pretty move from 8. That world-class skill flashes sometimes now, like lightning, and we always recognize it when it does.
"IT WAS DANGER," says the commentator. Accurate.
Parenteau hits Hamrlik the way you would hit someone if there were absolutely no rules in hockey, and Hamrlik goes down, and is very slow to get up. Terror. He gets away with this for about two seconds, and then Ovechkin's shoulder has something to say about it.
Regardless of the result, this was a great game for Ovechkin--maybe the most alive I've seen him all season, and that's got to be a sign of things to come.
Parenteau gets five minutes for being an asshole, Ovechkin gets two but it's totally worth it. Unfortunately that three-minute difference disappears on us almost immediately when Ward gets called for tripping, but it doesn't matter, because four-on-four is more than enough space for Ovechkin tonight.
Absolute bullet from the blueline. Thing of beauty.
And if that had been the only period that we played tonight, this would have been an awesome ending. It wasn't, but the Caps proceeded to act highly confused that there was forty more minutes of hockey for the rest of the night.
Within two minutes there's a shot from Nielsen that gives back what is possibly the most perfect rebound he will ever see in his life. He shoots, it squeaks through Vokoun's five-hole. Ouch.
Instead of showing you a picture of that goal, I will instead show you a picture that makes me feel better about that goal.
Carlson destroys a referee accidentally. They really should get hazard pay. Then again, it explains the iffy calls for the rest of the night, such as when Johansson gets tripped a few minutes later and nobody seems to notice. He gets tripped a lot--it's the speediness.
Then later, Halpern literally FLIPS OVER THE TOP of DiPietro (quick, someone check him for injuries) and it's somehow not goaltender interference, but a few seconds later when he sort of incidentally brushes DiPietro, it's called. Well okay.
We're on our heels, there's no two ways about it. Rolston shoots on Vokoun and it kind of bounces off his pads and skitters through his five-hole. Here is a picture of my feelings:
At the beginning of the third period, the Chimera/Laich/Ward line is back together. Yeah, uh, in the future? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
In theory, this game is not at all out of reach, there's still time to save it. In practice, here we have Matt Martin scoring a goal:
Argh. Now I'm bored AND mad.
Staios takes a penalty for interference, and we get one of the only power plays so far this season that we absolutely have to score on. No problem. Brooks Laich does not go down easy. (That's what she said.)
3-3. How I wish that this were a sign of things to come.
The last ten minutes or so can be group classified as "bad things".
As if I don't dislike Parenteau enough tonight, he takes away our overtime at the very last minute and scores to make it 4-3.
And then John Tavares scores on the empty net, because he is a bitch. 5-3, final.
It's not that this loss is okay. I am not one of those new-age parents who is all "oh, we're all winners." Wrong. Who the fuck said losing is okay? In what country is that cool?
It's more that we can clearly play better than this, and I feel pretty positive that we will. Anyone who is taking this opportunity to talk shit about the Caps is basically a moron. The ship will right. This is a very good hockey team, and the record is still excellent. It's about to get better. Caps will never lose again.
Dallas Tuesday. That's too many days without hockey, but that will probably work out better for all of us, especially those of us who don't have to be on a plane right after a hockey game. Bring it, Texas.
Let's go Caps.