Sunday, April 18, 2010

John Carlson Love

My love for John Carlson runs deep. It has ever since his gold-medal winning goal for team USA against team Canada in the World Junior Championships in January. I liked him before that, but that tournament is what turned it into pure love. Last night, Captain America gave the country another reason to love him, and again, it came against Canada. With 1:21 left in the game, the Capitals had orchestrated an improbable, (impossible for most teams) comeback against the Canadiens. They had been down 2-0 and 4-1 before surging in the third period to tie the game at 4. With about 5 minutes left, the Canadiens scored on a two-on-one to re-take the lead at 5-4. It was deflating, but if anyone thought that the game was over, they don't know these Capitals. With 1:21 remaining in the game on a delayed penalty call against the Canadiens for slashing, Nick Backstrom, having already scored two goals of his own, left a perfect drop pass for not-even-technically-rookie John Carlson, who ripped a shot passed Halak to tie the game at 5. Backstrom went on to complete his hat trick in overtime and the Caps took game 2 6-5.

Anyone watching last night's game knows how good Carlson really is. He is so composed at the ripe age of 20. Having not played the minimum games required to be considered a rookie, he will be in the Calder race next season, and in my opinion, is the early favorite. If they Caps are to win the Cup, they need performances like this from players like Carlson. They need their depth to be strong. They also will need Carlson to be on the ice against every Canadian team they face. John Carlson = Canada Killer.

Gomez's fight with Tom Poti last night was possibly the dumbest thing the midget could have done. First, he tries shoving Ovechkin, cause, you know, Ovi is roughly 2 feet taller than him and weighs about 50 pounds more. So smart. When Poti steps in to tell Gomez that isn't going to fly, he picks a fight with Poti. I repeat: he picks a fight with Poti. Gomez, your team is ahead. The crowd is waiting to jump on something to grab some momentum. And your smaller and weaker than every single Capitals player except maybe Scott Walker or Brendan Morrison, and neither of them are on the ice. He subsequently got his clock cleaned by Poti, who doesn't fight often, and the crowd immediately got back into the game. That energy lifted the Caps to a come-from behind OT victory. It was possibly the stupidest fight since Carcillo decided to fight Max Talbot last spring, changing the momentum of the game and the series in Pittsburgh's favor.

It seemed that the Capitals were able to solve Halak last night, although after allowing six goals, he might not be the goalie they face on Monday. Either way, last night's game was huge. It was a coming out party for Carlson, and it reminded the Caps that they are the better team, and it's time to play like it.

Game on.

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