Check out the Hendyface! (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
I was expecting some kind of letdown after the Washington Capitals ensured themselves a playoff spot on Tuesday, but dude. Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it didn’t carry the same gravitas now that the Caps are locked in third place. Erik Karlsson’s unlikely return to service was heartening for pure hockey fans, but it’s way too late in the season for us to muster up that kind of neighborliness. Besides, it’s totally possible this is the team the Caps will have to face in the playoffs, so we should probably get the enmity brewing now.
Karlsson got one, then Ovi got one. Then overtime, where ex-Cap Sergei Gonchar won it all because Mike Ribeiro is a liability.
Sens beat Caps 2-1. Ottawa makes the playoffs.
Here’s a scary thought: that might have been Michal Neuvirth‘s last game as a Washington Capital. Neuvy, with all of 13 games played, will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. I doubt the Caps will let him go, but Oates’ preference for Holtby at least makes it a question. Neuvy was a total stud with 39 saves tonight. He’s had an off year, but his rough starts came when the Caps defense was atrocious. I’d really like to see him re-up soon.
And then there’s Mike Ribeiro, for whom I have the opposite feeling. I don’t understand what came over him, but when people talk about selfish penalties, they’re talking about stuff like this. When a player chooses to mix things up with the opponent before considering how it may hurt his team, that’s selfishness. Most of the time that won’t cost you the game, but tonight it did– and it gave the Caps’ most likely playoff opponent a ticket to the dance.
I really don’t wanna see the Senators next week. I’d love a series against the Leafs, but that is now impossible. What match-up do you guys wanna see?
One more game left– Boston on Saturday night. Then the Capitals and RMNB kick things into high gear. Let’s do it.
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