The game wasn't as close as the score. The Caps suffered through a brutal 2:06 stretch in the middle of the second period in which the Habs netted three goals, had only 9 shots on goal at the game's midway point, and added a meaningless (game-wise, at least) Alexander Ovechkin tally with just 10.6 seconds left in the game to make a cosmetic improvement on the game. Indeed things were so bad from top-to-bottom that head coach Glen Hanlon, despite being down just three goals, went as far as to bench Ovechkin for around 14 minutes at the end of the second period through the middle of the third. Hanlon wouldn't elaborate on his reasons for doing so - was it an extra long shift toward the end of the second period? Was it because he let up when he could have levelled fellow countryman and Olympic teammate Alexei Kovalev? Was it to send a message to the rest of the team? We may never know, but that hasn't stopped fans from offering up their own theories (see today's Thread of the Day).
The WaPo recaps the game here.
By the way, Ovechkin's 44th goal (scored last night) came on his 334th shot on goal of the season, which broke Peter Bondra's single-season Caps record for shots on goal.
Thread of the Day: Hanlon's Press Conference (rampant and largely baseless speculation by Caps fans as to why AO was benched)
Elsewhere 'round the rinks:
- Happy 40th Birthday to the eighth-best American-born Capital of all-time, Al "Wild Thing" Iafrate. The 25 goals Iafrate scored in 1992-93 are only two fewer than the career totals of the current Caps' blueline minus Jamie Heward, and his 105.2 mile per hour slap shot is, um, really fast. On his 28th birthday (1994, for those of you who are not mathematically inclined), the Caps sent Iafrate to Boston for Joe Juneau.
- Hart: Olli Jokinen (Game-winning OT goal, 2 assists, +3)
- Ross: Joe Sakic (4 points)
- Norris: Michal Rozsival (Goal, 2 assists, +2)
- Vezina: Kari Lehtonen (20-save shutout win)
- Richard: Martin St. Louis, Scott Nichol (2 goals each)
- Calder: Kari Lehtonen (20-save shutout win)
- Aiken: Mathieu Garon (4 goals against on 13 shots in just 31:34 before being pulled)