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Jason Chimera’s first goal of season a relief for Capitals
“I know someone is going to be there,” Brouwer said. “In his case he was screaming so loud it almost scared me. So I knew he was there.”
Chimera might have scared his way out of this slump, but coach Adam Oates knew it would end sooner or later. He talked to Chimera before the Buffalo game and reminded him that he was involved in six of the Caps’ 11 chances a day earlier at the Boston Bruins.
“That means you’re doing some good things and you’re involved in the game, the opportunities,” Oates said. “Obviously been a tough road for him. But I really feel like the last five, 10 games he’s played much better hockey and that’s why he’s getting those chances. And finally went in for him.”
Chimera said he was reassured to hear his coach and a Hall of Famer say: “You’re playing well. It’s going to go in, keep it up.”
“I think you’re doing some stuff well and for whatever reason, it hasn’t been for lack of trying,” Chimera said. “Hasn’t been for a lack of shooting, that’s for sure, I was just snake-bitten a bit. Maybe that’s an understatement.”
Chimera’s first goal of the year came on his 59th shot. He figured something was going to go in.
“Probably about 10 or 12 times, three or four posts,” he said. “Winnipeg I remember one and [Saturday] I had a good chance, and thought I had one there were about 10-15 times I thought I had one.”
It was Chimera’s first goal since May 9, Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Rangers. It was his first regular-season goal since April 2.
That the drought was to start the season made it feel like a bigger deal.
“I went 30 games without scoring a few years ago, and the thing is, if you do that in the middle of the season nobody really sees it, but when you start the season and you don’t have a goal [it’s more noticeable],” center Mike Ribeiro said. “I went 16 games one year at the start of the season without a goal, and it’s a lot more pressure when you start to the season and don’t score [as compared to] having two or three goals and then maybe you go 15 or 20 games without scoring and you don’t really see it as much.”
Going 27 games without a goal was especially jarring considering Chimera scored a career-high 20 last season. Oates was upbeat during the past two months, but sometimes it’s hard to convince a guy who’s used to scoring that it’ll happen.
“A little bit harder at the beginning of the year because he had success last year,” Oates said. “You know, the game’s not that easy. Maybe he thought that it’s just going to continue that way.”
Chimera started to be concerned when he went five games without a goal. Then it kept going.
“Some goalies made some world-class saves against me, and maybe I’ll be on Don Cherry’s ‘Rock’em Sock’em [Hockey],’” Chimera said. “But it was coming. I felt I had been playing pretty good, and it wasn’t one of those things where you were playing terrible and not getting rewarded. You’ve just got to keep going, and I scored 20 goals last year, and it’s not like I scored 20 goals 10 years ago. It was just last year. You know you’ve still got it in you and you’ve got to keep going.”
Sensing a goal coming isn’t the same as actually scoring it, though. So the Caps had some more fun with Chimera on Sunday night.
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