Remember at the beginning of the season when everyone was highly impressed with the talent of our goaltending tandem? Get ready for them to be impressed again. This last stretch of games have seen Vokoun standing pretty tall for the Caps, and tonight Neuvirth came out to remind us that he may not be the starter on this team, but he's nobody's backup.
I have to admit, there was a tiny, tiny part of me that wanted the Caps to just ignore Rene Bourque completely, act like they had no idea who he was. Just to freak him out.
And then jump him in the last minute and destroy his existence, of course. Justice must be served.
This obviously isn't the way things turned out--in fact, Bourque was on the ice for exactly nine seconds before Hendricks challenged him to a fight, and made him pay for the elbow on Backstrom by hitting Bourque's fists multiple times with his face.
The fourth line was very, very mysterious tonight. We are told that Perrault is in the lineup, and then at the last minute we're told that he is out and Jay Beagle is in.
And then Perrault scores, and it's beautifully unexpected and hilarious. I try to explain this to a Habs fan friend, and she does not get the joke.
After being more or less invisible for a good stretch now, this game was all about number 90--not all of it was good, but it was Mojo night in Montreal. All Marcus Johannsons get free drinks on the house.
He makes it 2-0 within the first ten minutes. He is adorable, in a deadly sort of way.
John Erskine takes an interference penalty early on in the game, but I sincerely hope you saved all your frustration or indulgent affection for John Erskine for later, because by God did he have a second act coming.
Some people might say that the Habs had power plays. This depends on your definition of "power play". Nothing was actually accomplished. This is mostly due to the extreme awfulness of the Habs' PP, but we cannot discount the brave men of the penalty-killing units--Laich, Knuble, and Wideman all get gold stars of merit for goalie-like behavior.
Ovechkin decides to show them what a real, functioning power play looks like.
Habs are weirdly unappreciative of this. Don't they know that's Alex Ovechkin? He probably would have given them autographs if they'd asked nicely, but they pretty much blew it.
Apparently no more shots on goal are necessary for the rest of the game. I love Dale Hunter with all of my heart and soul but I am starting to suspect that the plays he is drawing up on his white board are all "don't, under any circumstances, ever shoot the puck."
Erik Cole side-swipes Hendricks with a knee-on-knee hit. His surprised face fucking sucks. If Hendricks is hurt from this, there are going to be words.
There is some kind of triple penalty on Erskine. .....This is new. It's funny because we're already winning the game, and why not, the PK units need to stretch their legs again--if we'd been down or tied, I would have been enraged. It was a dumb call. Most of them were from there on out. By the end of the game the refs are on their knees blowing the Habs and you feel kind of awkward, like you're intruding or something.
Habs can't even catch up with a handicap.
So! Progress. We won on the road, which I thought would never happen again, and better things happened tonight overall, though not necessarily because the Caps did anything different. The goaltending is back, the scoring was there, but the shots on goal have been left for dead in a back alley after being stabbed multiple times.
But I do not complain on nights that we win, and especially not on shutout nights. Two points. 3-0. That score sure looks pretty.
Yay team. You didn't lose, and I love you. Go Caps.