I thought we were going to lose this game.
I know, I'm awful, I didn't believe nearly hard enough--but the Bruins are a pretty good hockey team right now (in January, when it definitely counts) and the Caps were hurting bad, they were stripped down. If this were a game of Jenga, this would have been the part where some asshole took a bunch of bottom foundation pieces out and wrecked the structural integrity so that the next person to touch it sent it all toppling down.
Except it didn't. Everything stayed up, and the Caps came away looking awesome instead.
I love hockey so fucking much.
I probably didn't breathe until at least five minutes into the game. I was waiting for the domination. We were promised domination, we put it on our flyers and everything--after all, the Bruins were coming to town, and everyone is so goddamned terrified of them, they're supposed to be so scary.
Not so much.
Here's the thing--the Bruins have a lot of attitude right now, but not attitude like in a Steve McQueen way, in a way like they've just hit adolescence and they're going to sneak out of their bedrooms and go drink with their friends, fuck yeah, they're so cool. They've certainly mastered jackassery and theatrics and a lot of other things that aren't actual hockey skills, but when it comes to the rink all you need to do is what you do with any schoolyard bully, and just push back.
I expected massacre. It didn't come. Instead I got to watch my team do much, much better than I expected them to do--there were shots on goal, there were even scoring chances. That small, speedy first line somehow avoided disaster. Knuble was being the best player on the ice and wanted nothing more than to fuck up some Bruins.
They hung in there. In fact, they nearly made it to the first intermission tied at zero, but then just to make sure they didn't get too complacent, minor disaster struck. Karl Alzner swears he was trying to clear that one. His stick had other ideas.
What a dumb goal. Rest assured that Karl Alzner is very ashamed.
The second period is different, because in the second period, the Caps are aware that they're in this. No quarter is given. Brooks Laich is checking Zdeno Chara. Tomas Vokoun is being his usual frustrating self. He never lets us down, except for a few times that don't count.
Probably nobody's watching Cody Eakin. Cody Eakin makes them feel pretty stupid for that. 1-1.
You aren't even done celebrating this yet when another beautiful thing happens. This goal brought to you by Alex Semin's ridiculous hands--fantastic job by Perreault putting it away but I hope you had an eye on Semin making shit happen all night. Size issues regardless, that first line has enough pure offensive talent to make you sick. Dale Hunter is looking like a mad genius. 2-1.
Tyler Seguin ruins the whole mood. It's a goal, I guess.
I continually get the impression that Mr. Seguin thinks he's pretty hot shit. This is probably something to do with all the fifteen-year-old girls constantly proposing marriage, but hopefully all of this is not going to his head, because what a lonely, empty place that must be.
Wooooo take your shirt off.
Most Ovechkin goal not to be scored by an actual Ovechkin: Boychuk gives the puck away to Perreault, who needs no other invitation tonight. He goes in on a breakaway and scores like he does this every day. Hats? On. We believe.
Oh Brad Marchand. Did you somehow think that you weren't annoying enough without a goal against us? I promise you, you were annoying enough. This is just overkill.
Whatever. 3-3 game at the second intermission. This is the most exciting game of your life.
The Verizon Center sounds like a fucking Thunderdome for the next 20 minutes. All the people there in Boston jerseys are feeling pretty stupid. The team is looking fierce, winning battles, taking advantage of opportunities, yeah that's right, John Tortorella. Opportunism leads to goals.
Perreault takes his second penalty of the night for high-sticking...Zdeno Chara? All right. This is very bemusing as there's nearly a foot of height difference between them, but if Perreault was actually able to accomplish the infraction they called him for, he deserves a high five, not two minutes.
He's not done.
You probably made some pretty strange noises. God knows I did. The only good thing about low expectations is that when something else happens instead of the defeat you thought, it feels downright miraculous.
An empty netter for Mr. All Star, just to show the Bruins just how fucking good he's doing without them, and the Caps win, 5-3. Sorry, I can't schedule anything for the next week because I'll be busy watching replays of this game.
Dare I say best game of the season? It's up there. There were no two ways about it, the reason this hockey game was being played was to see what the Washington Capitals were made of. At least for now, you have to say we've answered those questions--and hopefully, the boys have answered it for themselves, too, remembered what they are even when all the chips are down.
Normally Caps fans do not cry because this his hockey and we have a reputation to uphold. But this is different. This is pride crying.
I love this fucking team.
Let's go Caps.