Anyone who is crying about that hockey game, don't bother reading the rest of the recap, because I loved it. There was a lot against the Caps going into this game, and judging from their play in the first period, some of the issues should have been insurmountable.
They weren't. The Caps stepped up in a huge way and sustained themselves seemingly on sheer hate for the better part of forty minutes. They tied up the game, and then they took a lead. They forced overtime. They did all of this with one--one--natural center on the ice.
This was a character game--namely, if you've been doubting that the Caps have it, they came out to prove you wrong.
Shortish recap because if you weren't watching this game, you're certifiably insane. The first period was a disaster. Nothing was connecting. Nobody knew what was going on. Turns out that playing hockey with nearly an entire position missing isn't the best idea.
Kris Letang scored in the first eight seconds of the first Pens power play. Boy it would be nice to have a puck-moving defensemen around. Sob.
James Neal made it 2-0 because he's a motherfucker. You probably thought the game was over.
I don't know what happened in the intermission between the first and second period. Maybe Dale Hunter glared them into submission. Maybe they shook off the weirdness of the 12:30 start and woke up. Maybe they had 110 volts of electricity channeled straight into their bodies. Whatever it was, they came out with a vengeance and wanted nothing more than to destroy every Penguin on the ice.
It was a very good thing that you didn't turn off the TV, because you would have missed Mike Knuble with some actual stickwork--there was a deke, people. Knuble on the first line is a good idea. Tell your friends.
Brooks Laich is the king of timing. It hasn't been great that he hasn't scored in awhile, but he's been doing lots of other things for the team in the meantime--and he sure as hell stepped up when it counted. 2-1.
If you didn't lean forward, you're not a Caps fan.
Ovechkin had an ugly hit on Michalek in the second period that may or may not be looked at by supplemental discipline--Michalek was falling already so that may get him out of it, but he did leave his feet on the hit. Uh...vintage Ovechkin?
Michalek chose to retaliate with a head hit on Hendricks, thus surrendering any high ground that he could possibly have had.
Alex Semin saves our lives by tying up the score at the end of the second period. You can't believe it.
NBC still unaware there is more than one Russian on the ice, news at eleven.
Alex Ovechkin made a compelling case for the contrary in the third period with a beautiful, beautiful goal--his third point of the night--and the Caps were briefly winning the game. There is no reason that that they should have been able to do that. This lead brought to you by anger and stupid blind hope. But it happened.
Unfortunately the game did not end here, and I hate James Neal. The Caps lost. I am sorry to tell you this--it would have been an amazing miracle and your entire week would have been made, but you know what? It was a tiny bit amazing anyway.
It's not that losing is okay. I am not one of those new age parents who's all "oh, everyone's a winner." Losing is never acceptable--but this was the best loss of the year, this was thrilling, tough hockey. Caps ground a point out of it, despite the fact that they shouldn't have even been able to get the puck up the ice.
I loved my team today. I'm stupid proud of them. And I hope they're learning.
Let's go Caps.