Even better: he didn't immediately reinjure himself. Not even a little! Not even a papercut, or a painful hangnail. We remain undefeated with Green in the lineup, but this is not because he is our lucky charm. This is because he is our All-Star puck-moving defensemen who can skate with the best when he's healthy--and he's healthy now. That sound you heard was terror sweeping throughout the league.
The Flames take a penalty within the first minute of play, which is my new favorite thing. How can we encourage every team ever do this in every game against us from now on?
Our power play contains Ovechkin. I am not sure if there should be a Surgeon General's warning about that or something, because he is damn near lethal lately. He shoots.
The shot lights the air on fire; Kipper wisely gets out of the way. 1-0.
Breaking news: Ovechkin is playing pretty well right now. I don't know if you've heard. I know there's been some doubt and difficulty over this past year re: our glorious captain, but let's be serious, Caps fans. It's Alex Ovechkin. And he's our favorite.
Mike Green touches the puck for the first time, and the Verizon Center expresses their love for him. We appreciate your very existence, Mike Green, but we appreciate it the most when you are on the ice. So nice to see you.
Ovechkin steps on a puck and wipes out with extreme style and grace. The puck is in love with him and can't keep away from him tonight. It just wants to express this and be close to him, but now is not the time, puck. Troy Brouwer is laughing his head off so clearly this is nothing all that serious, and the refs don't call it as too many men, probably because they are laughing too.
Everything is funny when we're winning.
Knuble is on the second line tonight! PROGRESS. He is grinding his way back up the lines the way he does everything else--determinedly, quietly relentlessly, and with Semin out this game, he is just the guy to fill in anywhere, anytime, for anything you can think of. He could probably fix your plumbing if you were in a tight spot. If you called Mike Knuble for a ride he would be there in an instant.
Please observe his apparent war cry in the picture above. What a guy.
Locker declares that Kiprusoff is Gumby.
I believe him because, why not.
Caps win 72% of the faceoffs in the first period. I am curious if the Flames need some instruction on what they are supposed to be doing here.
In the beginning of the second, Green is incorrectly called for holding when it was clearly just a hug. He is just really happy to be back. Refs don't understand this, into the box he goes.
It's a nice time to appreciate how great our penalty kill is right now. The Flames for some reason think that they are going to score on this. It's like they don't know us at all.
Important to this endeavor: Vokoun. Jokinen tries to score but there's no way it's happening, and fuck no again to Bourque in the next minute on a breakaway. Vokoun's on just as much of a hot streak as anyone on this team and has affected the lives of many. Most Important Man award.
The Flames have a bit more fight in the second period. The plot is thickening.
There's a hold against Ward, a Flame goes to the box. Fire up the Power Play Destructionator 3000.
Brouwer crashes the net, Knuble-style.
It's super effective! 2-0, and an opportunity to use that "Brouwerplay" pun that we all like. This is much appreciated.
Locker: "Might be wise not to take any more penalties, Calgary."
Tell me about it--and an assist by Ovechkin, too, which makes this his FOURTH straight multi-point game. Here's a song about the week Ovechkin is having:
Flames get mad about their lives and their playing careers for a moment and furiously attempt to ruin Vokoun's shutout. There's some stand-in goalie work from Orlov to stop Iginla scoring. What a disrespectful rookie!
Glencross scores. This is because I typed the above sentence containing the S word before the second period was even halfway over. I apologize sincerely for this. It won't happen again.
Backstrom plays well with others. He got a gold star and a smiley face in this in school. He passes beautifully to Wideman, and Wideman makes use of what he's given.
It's Backstrom's THIRD assist of the game. Flames killahhh.
Dmitry Orlov just takes the puck right on into the offensive zone and skates around with it for awhile like it's his lady and no one else can touch it. This ends a little disastrously but it's cool while it happens.
In the first moments of the third period, the ding of the post chills your soul. Close one.
There are attempts by the Flames but they aren't really accomplishing much. This is not news, but the team is clearly in need of something. Perhaps a spine. CSN broadcasters are bored so they show Scott Hannan on the screen.
Hi, Scott Hannan. We're still not clear on whether you count as a Caps alum or not. It doesn't seem important, which probably answers the question.
Caps are lollygagging a bit, but Vokoun is a whole new man lately, or maybe not a mortal man at all. Is it the bacon pads? Definitely.
He stuffs the puck back down Stepmniak's throat. That's what you get for trying to score, asshole.
Bourque elbows Backstrom in the head. This makes me cringe, because elbows + heads is not a good formula lately, and on a replay, it looks super intentional.
Rage. I hope that Shanahan buries him.
Knuble briefly tests my patience by getting called for a slash. Luckily, my patience for Mike Knuble is nearly infinite. Luckily, our penalty kill. Luckily, Vokoun.
Joe B is skeptical of the PP's "lack of penetration". That'll do it.
Green goes to the box with just over four minutes left in play. The Caps are determined to give the Flames a fighting chance in this game, because that is the type of noble men they are.
There are not enough praises in the world for the penalty kill right now. We're now 31 of the last 31 killed at home, and that is fucking ridiculous. The most important thing that happens during this penalty kill, in fact, is not even in the game--Evgeny Kuznetsov scores the first goal in the CAN-RUS game. Go Kuzya.
MORE UNNECESSARY GENEROSITY. Flames pull their goalie, Knuble goes to the box, and we're 6-on-4 for the last forty seconds of the game. Don't panic.
WIN ANYWAY. Sorry you couldn't get back in the game, Flames, they really did try their best to help.
WIN NUMBER FOUR.
People can try to devalue this win all they want, and it's true that the Flames are not exactly tough competition. But no. It's true that doing this against another opponent in different circumstances might have been more difficult, but the Caps have had to fight for every two points they've earned this season. They earned these ones, too. It is momentum.
It was beautiful.
Caps are now solidly in playoff contention, Ovechkin's in the top 20 scoring, Backstrom is in top 10 in points overall. I hope you are breathing a little easier these days. This season has been exciting to say the least, but when push comes to shove, we will put our faith in the boys every time.
2012, so far so good.
Let's go Caps.