Let’s get to it: Ovechkin’s hit on Briere was dirty. I don’t like it, but it was not needed and Briere had gotten rid of the puck in plenty of time. Ovechkin deserved the penalty assessed to him, and if he gets suspended, you’ll hear no peep from me. [Update from OrderedChaos: Per TSN, Ovechkin will not be suspended.]
Unpleasant business. I hope the league deals with it as soon as possible. Buffalo coach Ruff had other problems with the officiating, apparently, but that would only be noteworthy if he didn’t. Some interesting parallels can be drawn as far as teammates sticking up for each other to the Atlanta game.
Lost in all this is the Caps’ excellent start on the best team in the East, and chasing one of the top three goalies in the Eastern Conference to get the win.
The Caps beat the Sabres at their own game — speed. The Caps can bring physicality with their speed while the Sabres have overwhelming skill. Fatigue clearly showed in the Buffalo team tonight, and the Caps did what good teams do in that situation — they jumped all over the Sabres early, and sent Buffalo’s all-star caliber goaltender to the showers early. Flukey goals, breakaways — the Caps took advantage of their chances.
Typically, I’d jump on the Caps for not nailing the game down, but Buffalo has offense to spare, and it wasn’t difficult to think that they’d bring it in close. True, Buffalo’s first goal was something that goaltender Kolzig would want back, but the Sabres have serious, serious firepower. The Caps had to batten down every hatch to get the win, including getting the least-predictable goal you’d think of: Erskine, off the boards, nothing but net.
Strange game. Obviously.
Anaheim next. At this point, the Caps shouldn’t be intimidated, though.