Season in a Microcosm?

Fast start, followed by a flat spell, followed by falling behind, followed by a furious late comeback that just managed to get it done. Tremendous atmosphere in the building. First playoff win in almost five years, first home playoff win in almost seven years. First-ever playoff win when trailing by as many as two goals in the third period. After a five-year wait, Caps fans couldn’t have scripted a more thrilling evening.

The Caps can play better, and they’ll have to if they’re to win this series. Philly’s top line was more than a handful tonight, and I’m sure both sides are plotting adjustments. 

Great to see each of Washington’s “Young Guns” pick up a point in their first playoff games, and how about the Green-Ovechkin show in the third period? Also good to see David Steckel back in the lineup, and he delivered a typical Steckel playoff performance: a goal, a 67% night in the face-off circle and 3:22 worth of shorthanded ice time to lead all Washington forwards. 

 

Ovie’s strip-and-score was the stuff of legends. Interesting that Kimmo Timonen was on the bench at the time, and fitting that Ovie’s first playoff tally would be a game-winner.

Kudos to Brett “Stretch” Leonhardt, who at the end of two periods leaned over to me and said, “Next goal wins this game.”

Two springs ago, the Hershey Bears had a construction hard hat with peel-off numbers on it, descending from 16 down to 1. The numbers represented the number of wins needed to claim the Cup. After the first playoff win, Bears winger Doug Doull (the idea was his) presented the hard hat to the unsung hero, the guy who played the best lunch-bucket style game. (Or at least that’s how I understood it.) The hard hat “winner” then peeled off the number that corresponded with that night’s win. After the next win, the previous hard-hat winner picked the next winner. And so on until the 16 wins were in the book and the Bears were Calder Cup champs.

I’m bringing back that tradition this spring, but with a virtual hard hat. I’m giving tonight’s to Matt Bradley. After a six-year wait for his second playoff appearance, Bradley made the most of his 12:54 in ice time tonight. He picked up two assists (his first ever NHL playoff points), was a plus-1 and laid out seven hits on the night.

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18 Comments on “Season in a Microcosm?”

  1. Tom in FL Says:

    I will second Bradley. Lots of runners-up, though, like Steckel, Brashear and Cooke. I especially liked the goal Steckel scored. He, Bradley and two Flyers were racing toward the end boards for the puck. Steckel backed off at the last second and put himself in the perfect position to score. Bradley got there first and put it right on Steckel’s stick. Caps also read the book on Biron. Top shelf over the glove was there for the picking. And Ovie showed how Biron is prone to making his move too soon, and leaving the goal open. The Flyers have a very good team and some good offense but goalie is their weak link.

  2. Anthony Says:

    I think the best part for me was that they proved they dont’ “need” Huet to be phenomenol every single game for them to win. Obviously it helps, and I sit in the 400’s and can’t always see if it was something he could help or not.

    I hope they keep him in next game.

  3. Funkyglovefacewash Says:

    I expect to see Steckel earning the hard hat at some point during these playoffs and also think we’ll see more points from him than we got in the reg. season. The last 2 Calder Cup playoffs combined,he put up 30 points in 40 games including 10 goals/21 games for the ’06 Champs. He’s one of those clutch playoff performers that adds some more “O” to his game while still maintaining his solid “D” play. Anthony- I had to watch on TV and the 1st and 4th goals weren’t his fault but the middle two he probably should of had. Before those 2 were scored on him he seemed to be having some kind of problem with either the ice in the crease or his skates. I’m glad Bruce didn’t panic and pull him and I think he’ll be fine tomorrow. Man, what an exciting 1st game.

  4. jason Says:

    huet will be in unless he costs us a game with poor play…im a goalie, and let me say ive had some games where 6, 7, 8 goals went in and it wasnt all my fault (obv a few must have been) olie’s 5 goal game against chicago wasnt his fault, and although cris let in 1 he should have had, he still played well and will start on sunday

  5. Kris Says:

    Nice calls Vogs and Stretch. As for the sleeper goal scorer, if Vegas gives odds on that then Brash just made somebody very rich indeed.

    Not that I’m in any way qualified to assess the caps performance but I thought they had the jitters most of the first two periods, even Huey. The big hits, the two go-ahead goals, and the 18,000 screaming red-shirts couldn’t sustain their confidence. The D wasn’t pinching along the walls consistently. It was as if everybody was unsure that the far man would read the situation and drift back to prevent the breakaway. At 2-2 the caps stopped forechecking. The team seemed to have a collective crisis of confidence. However, I think we can successfully say, secondary scoring situation, sorted.

    And then there was that third period. Man, it was the stuff of legend. The caps quite simply BELIEVED they would win the game, then came out and did it. I’d like to give special thanks to the Philadelphia Hockey College of Acting for helping start the Caps come back. No matter what the officials might have said, Thoresen didn’t get a whistle because three Flyers had faked being hurt in first 40 minutes–boarding my bald butt! Green was a man possessed out there, and you have to be far more gifted with words than I to capture Ove’s double strip, extra patient, top-shelf goal.

    Okay, I’d better get off this soapbox before it collapses under the weight of my own B.S.

    C.A.P.S. Caps! Caps! Caps!

  6. jason Says:

    that game summed up how the caps can play. if they are on, nobody can stop em.

  7. Funkyglovefacewash Says:

    The docs say Thoresen will not need to have surgery after all, they were talking about removing a part of his male anatomy if y’all didn’t here. Ouch! While I’m glad Green’s shot hurt him, especially since it directly led to the tying goal, I wouldn’t wish that fate on my worst enemy. Talk about taking one for the team, or should I say losing one.

  8. Mike Says:

    Funny how the title of the blog was EXACTLY what the Caps needed to do to break the game wide open. The first two periods, they spent a lot of time trying to finesse the puck into the zone, only to have it stripped away or the pass intercepted and having to head back up the ice. The fourth line got it, though, hence their two goals over the first two periods. In the third period, they seemed to be doing more dumping and chasing and it opened up the Flyers D and let them get shots on Biron and win the game.

    Bradley was outstanding, even Brashear was showing some moves out there. The reffing was awful – so many bad calls and non-calls (Cooke getting called for interference when the puck is at his feet when the hit is made? Come on.).

    Never give up, never surrender. 1 down, 15 wins to go.

  9. Steven Says:

    The no-calls were the pits! Not calling fouls favors the cheaters and endangers the health of the players.

    On the subject of that hard hat winner, I think Green should have won that rascal hands down. He almost had a hat trick for goodness sakes. And he put in the goals when we needed it most. Isn’t Greenie slick with the puck? I am amazed when I seem him deke past their D and shoot.

    BTW, you and Stretch work great together. His color commentary has really enhanced an already fantastic podcast. Good choice bringing in that guy, Vogs!

    Go Caps!

  10. KV Says:

    Great game 1 by Green. Terrible game 2 by Green. The offensive side has got to his head and he’s not playing solid D. Also, enough is enough with OV on the point. It’s such a waste. There’s no one in the slot on PP’s!!!!

  11. Jeremy Says:

    Got to agree, Green was horrible yesterday. At times he even looked disinterested or lackadaisical out there. Now, granted, everyone was bad (except maybe Semin), but he was glaringly bad.

    Also, did anyone catch Milbury call the Caps the “Crapitals”?

  12. MD Says:

    Boy, did they all play horribly, except Semin (and maybe Steckel). It looked like they were just phoning it in. But maybe yesterday’s game is the wake-up call they needed; this is the playoffs, and that kind of sloppy, lazy performance just won’t cut it. And yes, I saw Milbury’s “Crapitals” statement. I think all of the NBC announcers were just a bit too gleeful about the Caps shoddy play. If you couldn’t tell how anti-Caps they are from the Caps/Pens game, then yesterday was another prime example.

  13. Mike L Says:

    Game 2 was very different from Game 1 in that in the first game both goalies played ok, but not all that well, while in Game 2, both of them were outstanding. Yeah, Huet let in 2 pucks, but he faced 41 freaking shots over 60 minutes. His save percentage was .951 for the game, and that’ll win most games.

    Green did have a bad game, but so did a lot of Caps defenders… allowing 41 shots is too much and I’m sure there’ll be some adjustments for Game 3.

  14. Tom in FL Says:

    I thought some of the Caps, Green especially, were out on the ice way too much. I disagree that Green looked disinterested. I thought he looked exhausted. And Schultz was not, I felt, in game shape. If I knew how to fix it, I’d be a hockey coach. I’m a cost estimator. I can do that. Let’s hope Boudreau can right the ship as he has every other time this season.

  15. jason Says:

    huet was our only redeeming factor yesterday, i think its nervousness more than laziness or disinterestedness…passes were not connecting all day

  16. Funkyglovefacewash Says:

    Game 1 was not that well played except for the 3rd period and I think it was mainly due to nerves. Game 2 I believe was a case of an inevitable letdown that was due after several weeks of “do or die” games followed by the 1st playoff game. They put together a great run at season’s end all while on the outside of the playoff bubble, with no guarantee that it would be enough because everyone else kept winning. That takes a huge toll on a team mentally and physically, then you follow it up with the 1st NHL playoff game for a large part of the team and you further drain the guys. To me, it’s just a crash that was due after the emotional ride they’ve been on and I’m confident that they’ll be able to get back on track.

  17. Funkyglovefacewash Says:

    Also, don’t sweat the NBC coverage, everyone knows they suck. My 7 yr. old niece who doesn’t know or care an ounce about hockey, could give better analysis than Pierre McGuire and the rest of those morons. How many winning teams did Milbury coach? The only good thing he ever did in hockey was beating that fan with his shoe, just because it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in sports.


  18. we often tour, but for a slightly different reason…. i own
    hardhatsafety.com
    , and we try and promote how important hard hats really are to the workers… it is amazing how many of them DO NOT always wear protection… when you go on tours be aware how that simple bit of plastic could save your life and take it seriously….
    cheers,
    w


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