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Capitals vs. Canadiens Recap: Comeback Caps Can't Close, Short Habs 4-3

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The Caps started slow and couldn't finish fast enough to beat the Canadiens, losing in regulation 4-3.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ice Tracker - Game Summary - Event Summary - Shot Report - Faceoff Summary - Play-by-Play - Home TOI - Visitor TOI - Advanced Stats at: war-on-ice, hockeystats, Natural Stat Trick and more via Nice Time On Ice

The NHL's best team lost a game on Wednesday night. You probably heard about it from your friends with weaker constitutions. The Montreal Canadiens bullied the Capitals through forty minutes and even ran Braden Holtby en route to a 4-3 victory.

Here's Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Philipp Grubauer continues to demonstrate his worth even in dark situations, earning himself the Palm Restaurant player of the game coming on in relief of Braden Holtby and earning himself some overpriced-but-exquisite ribs.
  • Minus: 4-1 was too deep of a hole to climb out of, and continually relying on comebacks is basically Russian roulette. Start strong, not sickly, Caps.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Nine minutes into the first period, Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk - a man who grew up in Wisconsin despite his vaguely foreign name, as stressed by the CSN broadcast team - beat Braden Holtby to score his 15th on the year.
  • With three minutes left in the first, and Tom Wilson in the penalty box for hooking, Brendan Gallagher put L'Equipe up by two. After going 6-for-6 against Arizona on Monday, the Caps' penalty kill had to break eventually. "Eventually" was Wednesday.
  • Just over 90 seconds into the second period, with the adorable little intermission Mites barely off the ice at Verizon, former Washington Capital and Guy-Who-Sounds-Like-A-Scandanavian-Superhero Tomas Fleischmann scored to put the Habs up by a trifecta. Why have you turned to evil, Fleisch-Man?
  • A Satan's Tres (an enemy three-spot, look it up) was all she wrote for sexbomb-cum-goalie Braden Holtby. Like placing on a Band-Aid on an internally hemorrhaging spleen, Holtby was pulled after allowing three goals on just eightteen shots. Philipp Grubauer came in for the recently-slumping Vezina candidate.
  • Speaking of less-than-memorable games, beloved youngsters Tom Wilson and Dmitry Orlov did not have their best battles of the war. Wilson took two penalties in the first period (a boarding and a hooking), and Trotz corrected him via the stick by only giving Wilson one shift in the entire second period. Likewise, Dima Orlov: Love Potion Number 9, single-handedly gave away a goal as much as any one player can, presenting an ill-conceived pass on a silken pillow for Montreal's forwards to put away. With Mike Weber waiting in the wings, these types of Big Boner, devastatingly costly mistakes cannot be tolerated in the playoffs, whether that involves Orlov or not.
  • Look at what Mike Condon (who went to prep school with my college roommate) did to poor Mike Richards, ward of the Canadian courts:
  • Jason Chimera got his 17th goal on the season to cut Montreal's lead to two in the second period, but that tease was short-lived as Beezelbub Lucifer Galchenyuk got his second goal of the night and his 16th on the season. Chimdog the Ice Cheetah is still on pace for 20+ goals on the year, which is remarkable for a man who was born during the Carter administration.
  • Hey, we got to see a penalty shot! Brooks Orpik "tripped" Brendan Gallagher from behind on a breakaway, and it was mano-e-mano, Gruby-e-Gally. Grubauer made the save, and Verizon found some life.
  • OH NO, WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT? The Cardiac Caps came roaring back! A beautiful walk-in singlehanded goal by Dmitry Orlov (redemption?!) and a righteous ripper from Andre Burakovsky (his 13th on the season) brought the Caps to within one with 2:53 to go.
  • But not all stories have storybook endings, and sometimes, the Prince and Princess don't live happily ever after; sometimes the Prince gets fat and the Princess watches too much E!. The Capitals couldn't complete the comeback like a bad boomerang, and the home team loses in regulation in Washington for the first time since forever.

Ring your Doom Bells if it makes you feel better and call for aid from Gondor, but even the best can't win 'em all, and I'd still rather have forty victories on the year than be in Montreal's position right now. Onward on upward, bourbon and beer. Next up is the Minnesota Wild at home on Friday.

Game highlights: