Hockey After Dark: Night 17 ("Caps/Anti-Pens Fans Make Excuses" Edition) by @DXTraeger

 
"...Where Insomnia Hits the Ice"

(Welcome to "Hockey After Dark," a late-night recap of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Topics will include scores, injuries, controversies, the Twitter-verse, and random jokes at the expense of the Philadelphia Flyers.  I strongly encourage clicking on the links)

On Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals, 3-2.

Why am I stating the obvious?  Because apparently a lot of people– most of them centered in & around Washington, D.C.– did NOT get the memo.

Let's start with the big one- the Washington Capitals themselves:

Uhmmmm...does the league know this?
Look.

I think we all know that Donald Trump is President, and that he spends all of his time in Washington D.C. Mars-a-Lago golfing.

We also know that Trump's a little delusional but at least he didn't post the wrong score on the White House website.  ...yet.

The Capitals' own Twitter account blowing the score is either incompetence (and coming from a franchise with zero Stanley Cup Finals game wins, let alone a championship, let's not quite rule this puppy out yet), or desperate wishful thinking.

And judging by some of the people posting on social media yesterday and today, DING DING I THINK WE HAVE A WINNER!

 My personal favorite is this guy:

He's like Bruce Nolan from "Bruce Almighty"
He's a vegetarian, a Friend of Animals, and apparently an ice hockey Rhodes Scholar:

......and a MASTER OF SARCASM.
Apparently, Jory the Vegetarian doesn't know what "Interference" is, and that Ovechkin committed a really blatant (and extremely unnecessary) instance of it.

Russian Machine Never Breaks!  ...or wins Cups, for that matter.

@DrivingPlay.  Content can also be found at @MakingExcuses.

Now, I completely agree that the penalty on Matt Niskanen was of the Michel Therrian "sofffff" variety, but I'm not sure how Capitals fans (or people that root against the Penguins, like, you know, a Philly fan from the above example) can really complain about that call (or any like it) given that the following was NOT called a penalty:

I'm not sure.  Is this a penalty?

If you're still not sure, let me show you the above image with one minor change:

I dunno, I'm pretty sure this is a penalty...
I distinctly remember this play, because I saw a few dozen (hundred?) hands fly up in the air at the same time wondering what the heck was going on.

The entire penalty thing aside (I was surprised the Penguins never had to face an "even up" call to avoid a 2-0 penalty call disparity), the game was dominated by goaltending at both ends of the spectrum.

On the bad terrible side, there was Braden Holtby, he of the Vezina Trophy Pedigree and with no questions from anyone anywhere as to whether or not HE is the person who should be manning the pipes for his team.

And at the other end, there sat Marc-Andre Fleury, He who has been written off but seemingly 5000 times for all kinds of narrative reasons (inconsistency, allowing weak short-side goals, poor puck-handling skills, "not a playoff goalie" etc. etc.), but who never-the-less decided to follow up a 49-save performance in the series-clinching win against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a stellar game in net (while on the road too, since "Fleury can't win on the road").

At the end of the day, the Capitals had too many breakdowns (remember, Kessel had a breakaway too) and the Penguins converted when they had those chances.  T

The NHL stats community just loves them some Corsi, regardless of the fact that hockey is NOT a linear game and having 83 shot attempts, while a reflection of possession, also allows for pucks to bounce (they do that, you know), and the Penguins simply had the transition game & speed (HI EVERYBODY!  HI,  BROOKS ORPIK) and the luck of facing a goaltender who seems to have some pretty serious PTSD about staring down Pittsburgh shooters.


I will do my utmost to have an article for tomorrow night, but I'll be watching the game while enjoying a party for my family, so we'll have to see how that shakes out.  Our second daughter is due any day, and she'll be rocking Penguins gear quite literally from Day #1.  Enjoy the game and your weekend!

 
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