Week One of the 2018-2019 National Hockey League regular season is in the books and the Washington Capitals have not lost a single game in regulation yet while playing the kind of offense first hockey that would give Jacques Lemaire a stroke. The world is full of joy and goodness and sorrow is nothing but a distant memory. The banner raising put all our demons to death with the fanciest guillotine ever and now there is nothing left to fear, except my punny subject headings.
Record: 1-0-1 (Home: 1-0-0 / Away: 0-0-1)
Standing: 1st Metropolitan / 1st Eastern
Goals For: 13
Goals Against: 7
- Goals: T.J. Oshie (3)
- Assists: Nicklas Backstrom (4)
- Points: T.J. Oshie (5)
- PIM: Madison Bowey (9)
The Capitals returned from the shortest summer break in franchise history with one hell of a bang, earning Braden Holtby his first shutout of the season in a seven goal blockbuster. The banner raising must’ve done something to these boys because wow, they really did bring it home. If this is what Capitals hockey without Tom Wilson is like, I want more.
The night was full of miracles — foremost among them that we got to play (and win) against Jaroslav Halak on Banner Night, the Capitals scoring five unanswered goals against Bruins starter Tuukka Rask before being allowed the ultimate prize — two more against Halak, who stopped them in their tracks during the 2010 playoffs.
Backstrom kicked off the night by scoring his 800th NHL point on a T.J. Oshie goal, Kuznetsov notched his sixtieth point in his last forty-two NHL games (postseason and regular season) with the first power-play marker of the season, and Nic Dowd murdered the entire city of Boston among many, many other highlights, which means the obvious conclusion is that the ritual of banner raising is somehow magic, and that we should obviously win the Cup again posthaste. Maybe even this year. #ItsOkayToBelieve
Our favorite Medium Lad, Habs Rescue Lars Eller, got in his first career fight against Brad Marchand, and boy, did he pick a night to drop the gloves. Marchand, angered by the fact that Lars Eller had accomplished (what felt like) the impossible (for the Bruins) by scoring the seventh goal in a barnburner of a game, decided the only possible solution to the Bruins’ problem was to break Lars Eller’s face instead of, you know, taking another shot.
To echo Lars’ energy: goodbye, haters. The repeat is incoming.
The hell world we live in has manifested itself in the strangest way — Brooks Orpik, after 182 regular season games without a goal, scored a goal against the Penguins. As a reminder, Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky and Brett Connolly have still not scored this season, but somehow, by an incredible act of Chaos probably brought forth by Gritty, Brooks Orpik has.
Braden Holtby’s save percentage finally slipped below 100%, but despite six goals against, he reminded us why we put our faith in him. The save of the year is here, in game two of the regular season. Game, set, match.
From start to finish, this game was a slap in the face to every predictive model in the universe, reminding all statisticians that no matter how much we try to impose order on an inherently chaotic world, sometimes things just have to be like that. Jamie Oleksiak benefitted off a screen in front of Holtby to open the scoring, and less than two minutes later, Jakub Vrana equalized the score off assists from Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, shortly followed by the aforementioned Orpik goal.
Jake Guentzel scored his first of the night a few minutes later, but lucky for us, the Russian Machine truly never breaks, and Stanley Cup Champion Alexander Ovechkin once again made his particular brand of magic happen, gaining the Capitals’ second lead of the night roughly halfway through the first period.
Washington’s second period was harder than the first, Pittsburgh outscoring them (many not thanks to Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel, and Noted Former Ottawa Senator Derick Brassard) three to one, but T.J. Oshie brought the Capitals back strong in the third period, scoring twice in twenty seconds to even the score at six. Of course, as we all know, that lead wouldn’t last, thanks to Kris Letang, but a point was gained and the Capitals still haven’t really lost a game yet, so who’s winning now?
Roster Spot Musical Chairs
Notable transactions this week include:
- To NHL: Dmitrij Jaskin (STL via waivers)
- To AHL: Jayson Megna, Aaron Ness, and Jonas Siegenthaler
- To IR: Michal Kempny and Travis Boyd
- To Suspension: Tom Wilson (20 games, eligible to return Nov. 21 for CHI @ WSH)
Next Week’s Games
- 10th October: Golden Knights @ Capitals, 8:00PM EDT
- 11th October: Capitals @ Devils, 7:00 PM EDT
- 13th October: Maple Leafs @ Capitals, 7:00 PM EDT
To quote Rihanna, cheers to the freakin’ weekend. T.J. Oshie will absolutely drink to that.
See you all next week.