Aw. Someone give Crombeen a hug. (Photo: Mike Carlson)
Brr. It’s cold in here. I said there must be some unwise line combinations in the atmosphere. Since the Caps’ last game, the entire continent froze. If you’re reading this in the tri-state, there’s a 37.3% chance (also Aaron Volpatti’s Corsi %) that the pipes in your house are about to burst. But the thaw has finally begun, and the Caps shook off this painfully extended metaphor with their first victory in thirteen days, a tightly wound win over the Bolts sans Stamkos.
Youngling Tyler Johnson scored on a breakaway early in the first, but the Caps struck back thricewise. First, Alex Ovechkin set up Eric Fehr for a sneaky one to beat Anders Lindback on the Caps’ second shot of the game. Then, Mikhail Grabovski tipped in Mike Green’s slot shot during the PP. And, before the period was out, Marcus Johansson stuffed a second powerplay goal.
In the second period B.J. Crombeen scored his first of the season to make it a one-goal game around the halfway mark.
The Bolts took control of the ice in the third, tying it up with a tricky deflection off the stick of Ondrej Palat. Eric Fehr did the hero thing with some English up front in the final minute of regulation.
Caps beat Bolts 4-3!
Were the Caps the better team tonight? I don’t know. They certainly didn’t dominate the puck possession fight (it was pretty close). For all their shot attempts, precious few (20) got through to Anders Lindback. Alex Ovechkin had more fans than a nope that joke is too easy. And for all that mildness, the Caps still exploded for a three-spot in the first period.
That was almost enough. With not nearly enough offensive pressure in the final frame, the Caps gave the Bolts a full twenty minutes to crack Grubauer. Without the infinite awesomeness of Eric Fehr, this would’ve been a sad story.
Adam Oates’ inanely reorganized lines are a fiasco, sending the bottom six into possession hell while only the Ovi line really benefited. Nick Backstrom proved his merit though, hauling Laich and Brouwer into a strong shot-attempt ratio despite the previously established Nobility of their chemistry. The fourth line is still outmatched, even moreso now that Oates has declared Aaron Volpatti better suited for a sweater than Martin Erat. Without Erat or Grabo between them, Chimera and Ward got obliterated– seeing barely a third of shot attempts go in the Caps’ favor.
The battle’s done and we kinda won so we sound our victory cheer. But where do we go from here? To a Friday night home game against the Maple Leafs and hopefully some new lines for the boys in red.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) January 10, 2014
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