Watch out, league. This is the only warning you will get. Lock up your daughters and your wives, Ovechkin has remembered how to score and the Caps have remembered how to win. Are these things related? Of course they are. They are more related than any related thing has ever been previously.
We have to admit, December almost killed us. I think that Taylor Swift has a song about this. But we didn't die, and there are starting to be signs that it might, might just have made us stronger instead. Wouldn't that just make it all worth it? When the Caps play like that, they really leave you no choice but to believe in them, and they'd better not prove me wrong on that. Look at those goals, look at that GRIT. There were a couple of mini-Dale-Hunters running around out there tonight, and that is nothing but a good sign.
Right off the opening faceoff, Weber rubs Chimera the fuck out. It should have been a major. It should have been the kind of penalty that bans you from the earth forever. In a gross miscarriage of justice, we only get two.
Here's a fun tip for winning hockey games that the Capitals learned and are now helpfully passing on: don't take a penalty in the first minute of play. And then don't get scored on.
Oh, and don't play the Washington Capitals in the Verizon Center.
Ovechkin scores on the PP, with an assist from Ehrhoff. It's basically an own goal, but that doesn't make Ovechkin less awesome. It just makes it funnier.
I'm sure Ehrhoff can dry his tears with his piles and piles of money.
Vokoun assists on this goal, and it's his second of the season. Alert number-cruncher Adam Vignan informs us that Vokoun now has more assists than Roman Hamrlik! Luckily Hamrlik assists later in the night to tie it up again, which is a relief. His reputation as a hockey player was at stake there.
Joel Ward gets called for slashing, and it's a Buffalo PP. Caps kill it, because they have to.
Jeff Halpern, action man.
Semin draws a hooking penalty. Actual event. I hope you were sitting down when you read that.
Caps don't score on the PP, but we are quickly distracted from that. Chimera is destroying Weber's existence, because you don't fucking do that to Jason Chimera's head, it's not acceptable. We're using that head.
And then he flips Ryan Miller the bird on his way to the box. Oh sorry, I mean "had an equipment malfunction."
Brouwer, on the other hand, goes with the koala method of hockey fighting versus Christian Ehrhoff. It is simultaneously awesome and adorable.
Christian Ehrhoff leaves and does not return to the game. It was a very powerful hug.
Shots are 11-2 Capitals to end the period. Tomas Vokoun doesn't even remember what a puck looks like anymore.
In the second, the the top line decides that one goal is not a good enough lead, and executes a scoring drill around some unmoving pylons. No big deal.
It's Backstrom's 100th goal, and he gets a standing ovation from the VC. It's very dusty here for a moment, someone's cutting onions.
It's a good moment to stop and remember that that we love Nicklas Backstrom. Only one team in the league can have him, and that team is us.
The end of the second period is slightly more precarious--the Sabres are getting a lot of chances to shoot, but Vokoun has our backs.
And Alex Semin has his. As I live and breathe--Sasha goes down to block a shot. What? Who is this new hockey player? What did you do to him, Dale Hunter? Not that we are complaining.
Of note: Buffalo EXTREMELY TOUCHY about people getting near their crease lately. The press has hurt their feelings and they are overcompensating like crazy.
Hecht scores. It is the loneliest little goal. Nobody comes to join it.
The Caps play the third with breezy abandon. Defense? Who needs defense? They figure Vokoun's probably got this one.
They are correct. Nothing gets past the bacon pads.
Many terrifying things occur. I am actually putting my hands over my eyes for some of the Sabres' 908798 chances, which is a very bad habit, but it kind of helps.
Johansson takes a shot at Vokoun, who's a bit surprised, but gets a pad on it. Hello, Marcus, your net is over there. I am in cardiac arrest over this revolutionary new strategy of goal-scoring.
Things are looking bad. The SOB line senses that they are needed.
Hark, the sound of a game in jeopardy! It is I, Alex Semin, here to create a breakaway!
Ovechkin with a beautiful pass from Mr. 100, and he blazes it in. This goal tore a hole in the universe. It set Ryan Miller on fire and melted all the ice behind the net.
He's now leading the team in goals again. All is right with the world.
Revenge is so, so fucking sweet.
But more important than that? The Caps played well and won a hockey game, and we love it when they do that.
So I know it's still only two games, but we know these guys, we recognize them. These are the competent, game-winning Capitals that we've seen so many times before, and the thought that they might be back for good is fucking exhilarating. There were some lapses here and there, sure, but these are the Caps who have an even chance to beat anyone in the league.
Welcome back, boys.