Alex Semin’s raspberry of hatful determination. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)
You know that video game where you fight Dr. Wily, and you think you’ve got him beat, but then he gets some kind of high-tech armor with lasers and rockets and WiFi and megagigabytes. Turns out Wily is way harder when he’s all upgraded. Well, here comes the Tampa Bay Cyber-Lightning, Mark II. Our southeast conference rivals gave the Washington Capitals a hard time last year, and they only got better over the summer.
The Capitals, led by curio Alex Semin, had a slow start. As if predestined, they surrendered the first goal of the night to Tampa’s Teddy Purcell. Tom Poti and Mike Knuble each notched goals in the second. The third period found Ryan Malone tying the game on the power play, almost taunting the Capitals to step it up. And step it up they did. Alex Semin recorded back-to-back goals with matching assists from line partners Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. Steven Stamkos returned fire with a frighteningly smart goal, but Ovechkin would strike soon after. An empty net goal in the final half minute earned Semin the hat trick and finalized the question. A crushing win by the home team, their sixth in a row: Caps beat Bolts 6-3.
Desert Eagle .50 bullets
After a couple of quiet games from the Superfriends and two quiet periods tonight, they showed up something fierce in the third. Alex Semin’s hat trick is the actualization of the warrior spirit we at RMNB adore in this team. Along with Ovechkin and Backstrom, Sasha can summon up in close games some aboriginal will to survive. This spirit, so desparately absent from last year’s playoffs, inflames the fans and infuriates the opposition. Evidence: 8-19-22 racked up 11 points and 4 goals in the final frame alone. If they can invoke that same energy at will–and not just when prodded– they will waltz through the post-season.
The Capitals have won their sixth game in a row. On Saturday night they saunter up to Buffalo, New York, home of the Goo Goo Dolls and gastroesophageal reflux, for a date with the Ryan Miller-less Sabres. We all know that augurs well for the guys, but let’s try to keep quiet about it for now. At least until Boyd Gordon suits up; then we can get totally arrogant.
A final note: Today was Veteran’s Day. It’s one day set aside in the entire year to acknowledge and thank the men and women who serve in our military. When tomorrow comes, any noble gestures and heartfelt gratitude will be gone with it. We’d like to avoid politics at all possible while in the realm of sports, but we should be able to agree that our veterans deserve more than single day of recognition and an overburdened department veterans’ affairs. If you’re able, please donate your time or money to a worthy cause like the (non-partisan) Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
When we talk about hockey players as heroes and warriors, we’re speaking metaphorically. When we talk about the veterans that have volunteered to serve in our stead, that’s not metaphor. So let’s back those words up with deeds.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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