I didn't get a chance to talk about it earlier, but I did enjoy watching a big chunk of the Caps game on Saturday. I had mentioned that the Caps should be in good shape as long as they didn't take Florida for granted.
I was a little worried, at the beginning of the game, whether they were, in fact, doing that. They were playing ok, but nothing great until Erat got hit hard into the boards (haven't heard anything since, other than him being injured. I hope it isn't anything too serious). That got them a major penalty, facing the worst PK in the league (yes, the Caps, while bad, have managed to avoid being last. I sometimes wonder how).
I was a little disappointed that they only managed one goal on that penalty (a pretty stuff by OV set up from a feed on the opposite side of the net by Ribeiro), but they did start playing much better. That was the only goal in that period, but the momentum carried over into the second (helped by a penalty only a few seconds before the whistle).
The Caps scored again only forty-three seconds into the second, when Green's point shot went off the post and behind Markstrom. Ribeiro was the first to find it on the ice, and he tapped it over the line.
OV got another a couple minutes later when Backstrom sent him in 1-on-2, and he skated around the near defender, lifted the defender's stick (looking backwards), and shot it into the top of the net while turning around. Very pretty (although I hope it doesn't encourage OV to attack 1-on-2 more often; that usually results in a harmless turnover, even from him). And that was enough to chase Markstrom from the game, bringing in Clemmenson (an odd choice, given Clemmenson's terrible record against the Caps).
The Caps continued to play in dominant fashion for another twelve minutes, when the Caps got another power play. They ran the same play that scored the first goal again, and with the same result (only difference was Johansson passing to OV instead of Ribeiro). So OV got his second hat trick (and should have been his fourth goal; another goal was disallowed on an iffy roughing call on Hendricks right as the puck was going into the top of the net) of the season.
After seeing how dominant the Caps had been up to that point, and knowing that I wanted to get up at 0500 to take pictures, I turned the game off at that point. And apparently that was a good decision, as the Panthers scored three in the third to make the end of the game more dramatic. Boy, I'd've been ticked if I'd been watching that.
I was pretty surprised that Oates played Holtby in this game; he'd played a bunch in a row, and you'd think Florida's anemic offense would have been a much better time to play a goalie you apparently don't have much confidence in. Maybe that third period was what convinced Oates to play Neuvy last night in Tampa. Don't know.
Anyway, after that it was on to Tampa, last night. Will write that one up separately.