Even Alexander "The Great" Ovechkin gets love in Vancouver.
Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks @ GM Place
Washington Capitals took to the ice at GM against the Vancouver Canucks. Out of 11 meetings, Roberto Luongo has defeated Ovie and the Caps 10 times! Only once losing to America's capital city team once last season.
Former Canuck, Brendan Morrison has made his "true" return home. Last season, he was plagued with injury and split his time between two teams. This time around, he's better, healthier, and feeling very good. Despite being all nice and chumy with his former team-mates and coach before the game, once that puck drops, y'all better watch out.
And... Aaron Rome's in the line-up?
We start off on an... interesting note to start the game. Not the best of ways you want to start the game (the Caps, anyways), but we'll take it (Nucks).
6:39 after the puckdrop, we have the first goal of the game. Jannik Hansen fed the puck to Ryan Kesler ahead of the play after picking the puck up. Kesler had the near breakaway, but Mike Green got his stick on Kesler's waist and pulled him down to his knees. Kesler didn't just draw the penalty, but from his knees he also got a shot on Jose Theordore's stick. The rebound came out and an oncoming Jeff Schultz had the worse end of the lucky stick. The rebound came to him and instead of being able to clear it, it hit the inside of his skate and went into the back of his net. Guess you can call it an OG (own goal) if hockey put that on their scoresheet.
But soon after at 8:47, Washington answer back. First, Tanner Glass ran Brooks Laich INTO the Canucks bench! For a couple of moments, Laich was a Canuck. With the hit, Brooks made the pass to Alex Semin on the zip-line. The other Alex snapped it into the Canucks net for their level goal. Laich had no clue the goal happened. When he got out of the Canucks bench, he asked, "What happened?" He looked up at the jumbotron and saw the replay and his expression was adorable! "Oh, HEY!" Big smile and the bench just smiles back. That hit was pretty distracting though.
Under 2 minutes left, Capitals' captain, Chris Clark, gives his team the lead after a Kevin Bieksa blocked shot.
Despite being down one by the end of 20, Canucks played a lot better than the game against Anaheim. It could be better, but it wasn't bad. At least there's some hop in our strides.
After a pretty damn poor performance against Anaheim, I guess Coach Alain Vigneault didn't like his team very much. The benefits of our practices were reaped tonight. The PK was one of the best improvements. Currently sitting 20th in the league in PK, AV didn't like how it was working. Tonight, our penalty-killers closed down the shooting lanes and we had a man at the forefront applying pressure to the defence.
Vancouver's fourth and third lines have been performing better than before. Not only have they given our group energy, but also chances and good pressure.
Everything clicked when we got a 2-on-1 rush after good Capitals pressure. Mike Green got a hard shot on Luongo's pads, but that rebound was picked up by Henrik Sedin. Hank was half of the two - Mason being the other. Against Shaone Morrisonn, Mason dekes, fools Theodore and Morrisonn, and levels for Vancouver.
At some point, the tempo in the game changes. The energy goes up and the momentum is nearly one-way. That point was on a PK. Ryan Johnson (my unsung hero of last season) made the great diving block on a Washington shot on their PP. And that block, after generating some energy, generated a 3-on-2, SHORT-HANDED! And it looked really cool. I do not kid. Three Canucks were in a diagonal and could've had scoring chance, but decided just to get the job done than be fancy. But they were in perfect synchronization!
Soon after, Mason got his second of the night! Getting his 13th of the season (beating his career high), Mase is one happy farmer. Luongo, not much of a puck-handler, played the puck on the boards for Kesler who passed back to the point to Christian Ehrhoff. Theodore made the first stop, but Mase picked it up and buries it during Tom Poti's double-minor!
Washington's hopes are dashed yet though (one goal. Really?) Kevin Bieksa brought Alex Semin down on his breakaway and gave Washington the biggest scoring chance yet; a penalty shot.
Semin headed in... and SEMIN WAS STONED COLD BY ROBERTO LUONGO! Revenge for Roberto after the staredown earlier between the two (I suggest you YouTube it. Quite interesting/epic).
I have to give an honourary mention to Kyle Wellwood. After being benched twice and very poor performances a couple of nights after, Welly really stepped his game up tonight. I saw him get more shots and play a more physical game than ever before this season.
Overall, great job to the Nucks! Not only on the improved PK (0/4), but also on your overall performance. The Canucks also held Ovechkin to just 3 shots and a minus-1 rating. Yeah~!
(1) Mason Raymond
(2) Roberto Luongo
(3) Alex Semin
Where's Laich going?
Lou takes a puck off the mask
Credits to Daylife & the NHL