Trying a live blog from the press box… updates will be ad hoc, and I may take some time away for photos, and finally: please pardon any typos. Thanks.
- My wife will be thrilled — Alex Ovechkin is clean-shaven tonight. Unfortunately he just went to the penalty box… hopefully the two are not related.
- After the Rangers and Flyers came to town, this has all the signs of a let-down game despite Rick Nash’s injury. But the Jackets’ goalie Mason is the only ‘tender in the league with an under-2.00 GAA… I hope I’m wrong, but I’m predicting a close game despite the Caps outshooting Columbus by a wide margin.
- Shots are 5-1 with 12:17 remaining, despite a Columbus power play. And why was it again that Mike Green won’t be at the All-Star Game? Perhaps it should be renamed to the Some-Stars Game.
- Great shift by Steckel — wins the faceoff, keeps the puck deep in Columbus’ zone for most of his ice time, no surprise.
- Rumors of a Malkin trade floating around, though most rightly laugh it off as not even Eklund-worthy at this point.
- Argh, R.J. Umberger hits a wide-open net after a great cross-ice pass from Jakub Voracek. Nice down-ice drive by the Jackets from an own-zone faceoff.
- Breakaway by Semin, nice shot, no love.
- Risky clear attempt by Theodore luckily results in a well-wide shot by Columbus.
- Steckel just scored, if scoring counts as putting your entire body into the net instead of the puck. Still, it results in a Caps PP.
- Nice, a little “Blue Orchid” by The White Stripes… need to add that to the CapsMix playlist!
- Solid PP, Caps leading in shots x4, but no twine-denting yet.
- Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler just got some big-screen time. Go Tara!
- Caps head to the PP again — hooking, even this close to 14th Street, remains illegal.
- Open net on the PP! But a bouncing puck foils both Laich and Backstrom.
- Zoinks — another Capitals PP… let’s make this one count boys, eh? Especially with Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the box… wait, sorry, Alexander, not Jean-Luc.
- No luck yet, but 43 seconds remain in the PP to start the second.
Second Period (Columbus 1, Washington 0)
- So watching the first period’s doldrums, I have to ask: Is it Steve Mason, and earlier Marty Turco, or is it Ken Hitchcock’s stifling (some would say tedious) gameplan? Mason’s clearly talented, but the Jackets’ boring-yet-effective style of play is a Hitchcock hallmark.
- Aaaaand we’re off! Fantastic recovery by Ovi at the point to keep the puck in, but a shanked shot from the wing ends another PP with no goal.
- Remember how I mentioned Ovi looks better sans facial hair? The same is most definitely not true for Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock. Grow back the ‘stache, Ken!
- Wow, nice shot, quick release by Ovi, yet again no goal. Aaaand another scramble, another great save by Mason. Hmm, maybe it is more Mason than Hitchcock…
- An almost-full house tonight, but the energy is about 1/10 of Tuesday’s and Saturday’s games. The fact that that observation merited a bullet should tell you how things are a bit sleepy here tonight.
- Semin with a burst, drives down, taken down — another power play, and hopefully one the Caps convert into their first goal.
- Whoa, too many Jackets! Caps go up by 2 men, and Coach Boudreau uses his timeout — wisely, as the Caps need at least one goal on this PP. And now Producer Scott Brooks breaks out the “Inches” video during the timeout… perfect timing, Mr. Brooks!
- And the 5-3 advantage ends without a SOG.
- Thus ends the PP, with nary a scoring chance.
- Chris Cooley is in the game with his lovely wife, and was the first target of tonight’s SmileCam.
- Ouch, another Colubus goal… Jackets up 2-0, and this is without their two leading goal scorers: Nash (17) and Huselius (12). The leading Columbus goal-getter on the ice is Umberger with 12… yet they’re winning.
- Another tepid period draws to a close. The Caps need some of this press box coffee for the third.
- San Jose, Columbus, Calgary, and Minnesota are all .800 or above against the Eastern Conference, and all four have beaten the Capitals this season. Not good.
- Shared an elevator with a be-suited Eric Fehr during the intermission. Amusing moment as an enthusiastic little girl in the elevator exclaimed, “The Capitals are winning!” Then her slightly less-little brother had to explain that they were losing 2-0.
- And Hitchcock Hockey goes into full effect. Yawn.
- Great chance by Ovi-Semin, hitting the outside of the net though.
- Boyd Gordon UPdate: In case you hadn’t heard on Tarik’s blog, Boyd Gordon was injured during pregame warm-ups and has not skated a shift tonight.
- Just got a text message from my wife: “Tootin! My new favorite hockey name!”
- Wake up, there’s a fight! Brashear makes quick work of Jarret Boll with two quick lefts. Unfortunately Boll never dropped the gloves, so Brash ends up with 4:00 in the box for Holding & Roughing. That, ladies and gentlemen, is game over. And to be honest the Caps are lucky Brash didn’t get 7 minutes — I’m impressed that Roughing now apparently includes two solid punches to the opponent’s face.
- “Ref You Suck” declares the crowd, as a blatant non-call in front of the Columbus net then leads to a Jackets goal at the other end by Boll, who seems to have recovered just find from his beat-down. 3-0 Columbus.
Okay folks, I’m signing off. A late Capitals flurry reclaimed a little energy but yielded no goals (though the pipe was dented). Thanks for reading, and let’s hope the team gets fired up for Montreal tomorrow night.