How do you watch two hockey games simultaneously? Picture-in-picture with timely swap-button reflexes, my friend.
The Caps played great against a better team. The Lightning didn’t show up to play a lesser team. Imagine my bipolar disorder kicking into high gear tonight.
Both games were rife with penalites, but the teams that won were the teams that scored on the power play. Both the Lightning and the Capitals squandered back-to-back power plays and at least a full minute of 5-on-3 apiece. If you don’t score 5-on-3, then you don’t deserve to win the game.
But there is some good news…
Differences: The Caps were passing well, the Bolts were not. The Caps were skating hard, the Bolts were not. The Caps were laying out the huge hits, the Bolts were face-down on the ice after being dealt them. The Caps scored two power-play goals, the Bolts got one. The Caps scored a shorthanded goal, the Bolts got none.
A lot of the Ducks’ shots never made their way to Grahame in the first, so I think he wasn’t mentally prepared for the ensuing onslaught where they scored twice less than two minutes apart. After the Ducks’ third goal, the Bolts were deep in the hole, and nobody was playing like they wanted to get out of it (I can only guess they didn’t want to break precedence). The Vinnies brought it to within one goal too late in the third. Way to hang your record-setting netminder out to twist in the wind, guys. You sucked tonight.
Zubrus played hardcore along the boards and in the corners—Caps-era Konowalchuk-esque even—and was rewarded with an assist on the game winner. I didn’t see anyone on the Lightning playing that hard; in fact Martin Cibak spent almost 40% of his “ice time” in the penalty box… Jamie Heward not only got two goals, but played the point better than anyone on all four teams tonight. Ovechkin got two assists, and—I hate to say it—Brenda Twitt even played some decent defense tonight. The Lightning had zero defense.
Other than that five-on-three thing I said before, the Caps worked hard for this win as they have in most of their recent games. But, tonight they actually won, and they deserved it.
AP Photo / Mark J. Terrill