On Monday, December 5th, the Buffalo Sabres were in town to take on our Washington Capitals. With Jack Eichel back in their line-up, Buffalo has another great forward that can torment Braden Holtby. As of lately, Holtby seems to be the only Caps player who wants to win. Most of these guys appear they could care less. Can the Caps get their offensive prowess back? And soon?! PLEASE!!
It was a pretty quiet first period until 6 minutes in when Buffalo had a sort of 2 on 1 and Zemgus Girgensons backhands one past Holtby, giving the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Seems the Caps are in their usual sleepy form as of late. They really need to get the offense back firing on all cylinders. Caps tried for an odd man rush of their own, but were called offsides, much to the chagrin of their fans. With 5:20 left in the first, the Caps got the first powerplay of the game as Evander Kane was called for slashing. However, the Caps do not score. The Caps powerplay is now 3-for-25. With 2:32 left in the first, Caps got another chance at the powerplay when William Carrier was called for slashing Matt Niskanen. Yet again, no goal. Caps end the first down by one.
Another quiet start to the second period until about 6 minutes in when Jay Beagle puts a deflection in past Robin Lehner. That’s goal #5 for Snoopy this year. Orlov had a great chance to give the Caps the lead but couldn’t put the puck in the wide open net. That is the Caps luck lately, isn’t it?
Holtby stood tall and then got piled on during a long whistle and gave the ref a good ear full once he was back upright. The replay showed why the long whistle, as well as why the Caps used up all their good luck on that play. 30 seconds later, the Sabres got one past Holtby but the Caps coaching staff challenged the play. Caps win their challenge as the play was offsides. The game is still square at one goal each.
Another aggressive drive by the Sabres causes another huge pile up in the crease with Holtby doing everything he can to keep the puck out. However, third times the charm. Kyle Okposo put a rebound in past Holtby who had made a great save on the opposite post and couldn’t get over.
That one minute of play was the most exciting hockey in this entire game. Alex Ovechkin was called for slashing and the Caps are on their first penalty kill of the night; which they do successfully. Caps end the second still down by one. Sabres up 2-1.
The Sabres started the third buzzing just like they ended the second. Matt Niskanen was called for tripping. The Caps had some great shorthanded chances, but Lehner was there to prevent a shorty. There was a lot of back and forth and it seemed the Caps had finally remembered how to hockey. With under 7 minutes remaining, Evander Kane was called for hooking that sent the Caps to the powerplay. It was only 5 seconds in and THEY SCORE!!!
Marcus Johansson deflected a point shot from John Carlson, and they tie it at 2. With just over 3 minutes left, Jay Beagle was called for tripping. Crucial kill for the Caps, which they do. Caps had a few chances for shorties again, but no go. Caps and Sabres tied, 2-2. Back to overtime we go!
In overtime, Barry Trotz rolled a fan favorite D-Man pair of John Carlson and Karl Alzner. This pair also lovingly known as Carlzner. As per usual in 3-on-3 overtime, there was a lot of back and forth. Some nervous moments on both ends. About halfway through overtime, MARCUS JOHANSSON SCORES!!! CAPS WIN 3-2!!
I’d be lying if I said this game didn’t almost put me to sleep. The Caps look like they forgot how to pass or shoot or really how to do anything. They seem to always have a similar part of the season every year. There are always some slumps for our best players and top scorers. Who would have guessed that our leading goal scorer this season would be Mojo? Anyone? Certainly not me. He got his 10th and 11th goal of the season and snapped the Caps 3 game losing skid. The Caps are now 14-7-3. Their next game is Wednesday at home against Boston. That game is going to be on NBC and begins at 8pm. See ya then, Caps faithful!