Tonight’s 4-3 was a struggle for power between the Capitals and the Blues, exchanging far too many penalties but using their tremendous goalies to stay afloat. This game also saw the return of Lars Eller after he came down with an upper body injury after the Red Wings game. In the end, though, the Caps reigned supreme.
The first period or, as I like to call it, How Not to Play Hockey, featuring an incredible nine minutes of even-strength playing. I honestly feel bad making you read all of these penalties, but here they are. It all started with the Blues having too many men on the ice, served by Robby Fabbri. Less than two minutes later, Jay Bouwmeester joined him in the box for slashing. Next up, Nate Schmidt, sent to the sin bin for holding, which the Blues only got to enjoy for five seconds before their own guy, David Perron, went in for interference. It wasn’t long before Alex Ovechkin had to serve a minor for too many men, as well. Just over two minutes later, Kyle Brodziak was sent to the box for slashing.
The upside of all of this, though, was the Caps’ power play goal, 17 minutes in, and scored by Ovi. As well, shoutout to the beer man, Perry, for joining me in making fun of referee Tim Peel’s broken microphone as he called all of these penalties.
The coaches must not have been very pleased with the constant penalties, because when the teams came back out for the second period, things were much different. It was almost as if they just decided they weren’t going to play to avoid getting penalties, but that still didn’t work. Daniel Winnik went off, early on, for hooking, which wasn’t much with the low energy level that was present. Despite this, though, Braden Holtby continued to be absolutely godly with his saves. It wasn’t long before Ovi scored his second of the night, but Vladimir Tarasenko answered, less than a minute later, with his own goal to put the Blues on the board. The only other noteworthy event was Dmitry Orlov and Colton Parayko’s matching slashing penalties, but the period was dull overall.
While the third period didn’t improve much in terms of penalties, it had plenty more goals than the past forty minutes. But it was terrifying. Things were slow at first, with most of the action happening in the neutral zone, rather than any real offensive plays. That is, until, Evgeny Kuznetsov got in on the action and scored off of a beautiful pass from Orly. Not even a minute later, Ovi earned himself a hat trick with his third goal, making fans go crazy. It got scary when the penalties returned.
Andre Burakovsky went to the box for holding and Ellen soon followed him with a tripping penalty. The Blues saw their chance and they took it, first with Pietrangelo scoring, and then Tarasenko following, less than a minute later.
Despite this, the Caps held strong and closed out the night with a 4-3 win.
Photos by Mel Abernethy