Thursday’s 4-3 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets was nothing short of chaos. The mayhem that occurred in a little over 60 minutes was enough to have Capitals fans on the edge of their seats constantly and displayed the type of determination that the team is currently sporting.
Though the Caps left the first period with a 1-0 lead, there was definitely room for improvement. Maybe it was coming off of the long Western road trip, but the boys lacked their typical energy, and it affected their performance. The Caps gave up possession far too much and were nowhere near as aggressive as they should be when working with a team with as much speed as the Jets.
Passing, however, was remarkable and led to Nicklas Backstrom scoring his first goal of the season, late in the period. The largest problem of the game at this point, though, was most definitely the referees. What else is new, right? At the very beginning of the period, there were two times where roughing should have been called on the Jets: when Tom Wilson was shoved while heading to the bench and when Andre Burakovsky was pushed directly into the Jets bench. As well, after Brett Connolly was sent to the box for tripping, a Jets player literally shoved his stick into a Capitals’ skate blade, but wasn’t penalized. Overall, the Caps needed more energy and the refs needed to pay more attention.
Barry Trotz must’ve agreed, because the second period was ten times period. T.J. Oshie scored within the first two minutes and set the pace for the rest of the period, amount up the energy. The Caps were far more aggressive, and it was the Jets who were taking the penalties. In the first period, the boys had only four shots on goal, while in the second period, the Caps had three shots in the first two minutes alone. Alex Ovechkin was the next up to score, ten minutes in, bringing the score up to 3-0 for the rest of the period. Offense was incredible and the Caps were taking advantage of absolutely every rebound. This energy, aggression, and the great hits throughout those twenty minutes were the kind of Capitals hockey we want to see.
It was in the third period that we realized tonight was almost an exact repeat of Tuesday’s game. The Caps 3-0 lead quickly turned into a 3-3 tie, due to tiny little mistakes. The superstitious who follow the Capitals circle on Twitter may blame this on the fact that Alan May blocked Ian Oland, a writer for Russian Machine Never Breaks who enjoys teasing May relentlessly, for posting a wonderfully edited photo of the former Caps player on Twitter. The last twenty minutes featured penalties galore, on both sides. The first two Jets goals were scored within three minutes of each other, and the tying goal came about five minutes later.
It wasn’t until overtime that the Capitals truly cracked down. With less than two minutes in the sudden death period, Ovi scored from his office and made the Verizon Center go wild.
While there were times where the game lagged, this is what we like to see from the Capitals and I certainly hope this energy and perseverance continues.