As I intimated earlier, when I turned on tonight's Caps-Jets tilt, I wasn't all that enthusiastic about them winning. But I watched, hoping to see some good play with a not-so-great result.
Instead, I got one of the best games of the season for the Caps. Green was back, which helped (not as much as usual as he got pushed around a bit and fanned on a shot, leading to a 2-on-1 the other way). But they played an excellent game, keeping play down in the Jets end, especially in the first period.
And they came out of that first period with a 2-0 lead, on goals by Brouwer and MarJo (off a sick feed from OV).
The second period was an amazing amount of nothing, with only seven shots total. But since the Caps were ahead, that was fine.
The third period had the ice pretty heavily tilted towards Winnipeg (helped by a couple of penalties on Oleksy) until Brouwer made a really nice play to pressure Pavelek when he was handling a clear on the second of those power plays. He forced Pavelek to handle the puck just outside of the trapezoid, leading to a delay of game penalty.
That led to a little 4-on-4, and Winnipeg doing a nice job playing keepaway when the power play started. But the Caps eventually got set up, and managed to completely overload one side of the ice. Finally, Backstrom was able to get it across to OV, who was the only player on the other side of the ice. Nobody was surprised when OV's shot hit the inside of the post on its way in.
I actually turned the game off at that point, because I needed to try to get some work done, so I missed Backstrom's goal to really ice it.
The one other thing about the game was that Holtby was on fire. He made several really amazing, "how did he do that?" saves. One of them was that 2-on-1 I mentioned; he stuck his leg out with his head turned away, and still got all of the puck. I'm really glad for him that he was able to finish the shutout; he deserved it.
So I had very mixed feelings overall. It was great to see them play so well, but if Washington higher-ups are still debating trading Ribs, this did nothing to persuade them. And man, if they were able to play like this for most of the season, they'd certainly be in the thick of things. But this season is a lost cause, and I'd hate to see the next couple of seasons ruined by failing to acknowledge what happened this year.