San Jose, California is where we find ourselves to cap (haha, get it? Caps? …ok never mind) off this rather successful road trip. After a hard fought win over the Ducks, a nail biting shootout loss against the Kings, and a successful shootout about the Sharks, the Caps escaped with 5 out of 6 possible points on their California tour.
Some important notes to the game:
- Braden Holtby got the nod at the last second after Jaroslav Halak was not feeling 100% due to lower body discomfort. Mrs. Halak was not available to comment
- Joel Ward entered the game riding a four game point streak; the longest of his career… so far
- Connor Carrick was a healthy scratch which means Patrick Wey made his second straight start
- The Caps have not won in the Shark Tank in my lifetime (since 1993). Peter Bondra scored in that game. Yeah, it’s been that long.
Both teams started out very strong. Dimitry Orlov was making plays and throwing bodies! The resilience finally paid off at 11:25 into the period when the Caps got something to go their way. After a Jason Chimera bomb on net, Antii Niemi was able to deflect it into the slot, which isn’t always the best idea. On a clear attempt by a Shark D-man, the puck went off his D-pair and into the net. The goal was initially given to Eric Fehr but then given to Wardo. Now it’s back to Fehr. My brain hurts.
However, simply because they are the Caps, they just had to let the Sharks get one back with five seconds left in the period. THEY JUST HAD TO DO IT. After a wrap around and stuff attempt by a Sharks forward, and horrid clearing attempt by Mike Green, Patrick Marleau was able to send one past Holtby. If Greenie had just put a little more mustard on the puck, they would have gone into the intermission up by one. But hey, that’s just Caps hockey!
The Sharks went to the power play five minutes into the second. Tom Wilson was called for a minor holding call. It was a softie if you ask me. After a scramble in front of Holtby, the Caps somehow were able to keep the puck out of the net and eventually killed off the PK, which has been very good at a very good time lately.
The PK unit was back at it after Green was sent off for holding. Lots of shots tested Holtby early and the 24 year old stood on his head. Just as the penalty kill was ending, a shot beat Holtby far side but his BFF, the post, made the safe. Phew.
The rest of the period went fairly dull. The Caps couldn’t convert on on power play. Jason Chimera then drew a high sticking with 10 seconds left. The Caps started off the third with a man advantage. Tons of shots and a few chances but alas, the power play is 0/3 so far tonight.
After some good skating by Ward, Chimmer sent a pass to Fehr that went off the shins of James Sheppard. Sheppard was alone in on net and sent a back hand just beating Holtby down low. I’m too tired for emotions. West coast games are tough. We need one back.
Let’s just take a second and remember the Sharks have scored three goals tonight yet they are only winning 2-1. A goal scored by a Caps player would be very nice. (Side note: as I finished writing this paragraph, the next sentence happened)
13 minutes into the third, the Caps finally pulled even. On a Wilson dump into the zone, Dustin Penner was able to retrieve the puck and send it to Chris Brown, who was sitting comfortably, uncovered, in the slot. After hitting some Sharks and the post, it found twine. First goal for Brown! Here’s to many more in the red.
With 2:16 left in the third, the Caps will be forced to kill yet another penalty. Alex Ovechkin was called off for an inadvertent high stick. The last thing the boys in white needed. However, after some crucial faceoff wins by Troy Brouwer and some solid net minding by Holtby, the penalty was killed. Ovi came out of the box and a pass was just too far off the end of his stick to get a possible breakaway on Niemi.
To OT we go…
Lots and lots of opportunities came, but to no avail. For the second time in as many games, the Caps will head to the shootout. But hey, at least we’ll be getting a point out this game!
- Logan Couture tried to give Holtby the “how do ya do” but Holts would have none of that! (0/1)
- Kuzya gives Niemi the “how do ya do” and Niemi had A LOT of that! (1/1)
- Joe Pavelski started slow, went to the backhand, but Holtby got the better of it. (0/2)
- F16 tried to go high on Niemi but missed above the crossbar (1/2)
- Marleau tied up Holtby and tied up the shootout tally (1/3)
- Nicklas Backstrom finally woke up and beat Niemi with a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L move, CAPS WIN! (2/3) TIME TO CELEBRATE