Habitual position

The Caps definitely like going to Montreal; Saturday's game against the Habs definitely didn't change that.

I mentioned that Grabo wasn't available; I don't know how soon he will be.  OV did make it, which certainly surprised me.  To make up for Grabo, Wellman was called up again.  The defense didn't change from the previous game, unless you want to count Holtby in net.

The game started out pretty well, with the Caps having a very solid edge through the first period (13-7 fenwick events, 12-3 on net) but no goals being scored (and that does include each team getting a power play).  Just before the end of the period, Backstrom got tagged for a high stick on Plekanic and Eller got a double against Carlson (after seeing the replay, I'm not sure why that one was a double, though I'm not complaining).  The refs definitely screwed up, though, as they waited to blow the whistle until Washington corralled the puck, even though Washington ended up with the power play.  Not a big deal, but it definitely was weird.

That carryover power play worked out well for Washington, as OV got his 36th of the season less than a second after it ended on a beautiful juggling play.  A shot rebounded in the air, and OV bounced it on his stick twice to bring it back in front of the net, then slammed it home in a tiny hole Price left when he wasn't able to move over after the prior shot.

And that pretty much opened the floodgates, as Erskine scored a minute and a half later.  Then, three minutes later, Wilson had a really pretty assist, backhanding across to Beagle, who had an open net.  And four minutes later, Carlson added another when his (fairly weak) wrist shot was deflected a hair, at the last second, by Beaulieu, past Price.  That was enough to bring Budaj off the bench, although at that point Montreal hadn't even attempted a shot in the period (so, yes, more than halfway through the game, Washington had more goals than Montreal had shots on net).

The crowd was definitely restive at that point, as Montreal's next shot was greeted with a lot of (mock) cheering (the next couple were as well, although not quite as much so).

Montreal closed the shot gap a bit, the rest of the way, but that's about it.  The only other goal scored came on a 2-on-1 with OV and Wellman where everyone (probably including Wellman) was fixated on OV shooting, and he instead passed across to Casey.  Casey took a second to get the shot off, but made sure to get it up, and got his first goal of the season.

I had actually already turned the game off at that point; I might have been asleep when he scored.

It might have been Washington's best game of the season, although it should probably be attributed as much to Montreal's lack of effort as to Washington's skill.  They just looked considerably off, all game.  And Washington certainly had no reasons for complaints with the officiating; they got eight power plays to the Habs' three.

The power play certainly wasn't terribly effective, with only seven shots (fifteen attempts) in that time.  The last PP I saw was with the 4-0 lead already, and was pretty lackadaisical.  Three more of them came after that, so I suspect they were pretty similar.

The PK did a good job, though, limiting Montreal to only two shots in their six minutes with the man advantage.  Certainly nothing to complain about, there.

My biggest worry is that the Caps will slack off after that.  Buffalo's next, and Miller hasn't been allowing them anything.  I guess we'll see, tomorrow night in Buffalo.  Hopefully, OV didn't reinjure himself, and Grabo will be better (I know, that's a stretch).  Go Caps!

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