Photo credit: Scott Audette
Happy Valentine’s Day, hockey lovers! I hate this stupid day, but I found a good way to pass the time. The Washington Capitals served the Tampa Bay Lightning to some offense-go-boom and peppered it with all the careless defense that makes Caps hockey both fun and infuriating.
Troy Brouwer executed a lovely passing sequence on the game’s opening power play, but Martin St. Louis evened the score with a series of swats at Holtby’s pads. Eric Fehr scored his second goal in as many games by going straight to the net, and then made it three with a rocket from outside in the third period. Jay Beagle reintroduced himself with the dirtiest goal ever scored by a half-human/half-hound. Teddy Purcell got one back with a zero-angle shot that probably went off a Caps skater’s boot, and Nate Thompson made it darn close with a breakaway that Holtby misread. The Caps survived a late-minute panic and earned the win.
Caps beat Lightning 4-3.
Best game yet? Best game yet.
Despite some defensive wobbliness, these Caps look so terrifically familiar. Shot total near 40? Hell yeah. The teams that win most are also the teams that win big. Thursday’s Caps were the latter, and they’re on their way to becoming the former.
Great goaltending, perfect special teams, impassioned offense. Even when the Caps went up a couple goals, they kept pressing a la boudreau. And here I was worrying that I’d have to make some sad Valentine’s Day metaphor where I’d quote my favorite song by Drive-By Truckers.
Yeah, Bruce Boudreau is blossoming all over in California, but the Capitals are not withering on the vine. This is a team in ascent. Three wins over division teams– scoring more than three goals in each. They’re no longer relying on sheer luck, instead they’re burying the other guy in pucks — because that’s what wins games. Committing fewer penalties and looking in control when they’re killing em off– all good news.
Now imagine what happens when they get their D together.
The Caps have taken six point from their last three games– all off of Southeast division teams. But now the training wheels are off. It’s Rangers and Devils next week. No goofing around.
Have a great weekend, everybody! Way to survive Valentine’s Day. Proud of ya.
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