Johansson Scores

A game-altering fight? Matt Bradley fights Paul Mara immediately after Travis Moen's fluky goal. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowic)

A game-changing fight? Matt Bradley fights Paul Mara immediately after Travis Moen's fluky goal. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowic)

#Winning (Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz)

Returning to the Bell Center for the first time since the ill-fated 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Washington Capitals got a little bit of revenge Tuesday night, extending their winning streak to nine games in the process.

The game got off to a positively wild start with two goals and a fight in the first 1:48 of play. After Tomas Plekanec was called for a hooking penalty the Caps headed to an early power play. With a  lot help from the end boards, Marcus Johansson put the Caps up 1-nil as the dump-in from Dennis Wideman bounced right in front to the waiting Swede. Just 26 seconds later, however, Travis Moen tied things up on another odd play behind the net. Washington netminder Braden Holtby attempted to rim the puck along the boards but instead passed it right to Moen in the corner who fired the biscuit into the wide open net. Just over 20 seconds later the action continued with Matt Bradley and Paul Mara dropping the gloves right off the face-off in a bout that ended in a draw. At 13:23, Brooks Laich put the Caps on top 2-1 after picking up the perfect outlet pass from Karl Alzner, who was on the ice for nine more scoring chances and just one against. Whew. Another calm night in Montreal, I see.

Andrei Kostitsyn continued the back-and-forth play 3:28 into the second period, firing a wicked wrist-shot pass Holtby’s catching glove. Washington put forth a fury of shots in the remainder of the frame, racking up 19 for the period. It would be to no avail, however, and the teams would head to the third knotted up.

Johansson would strike once again at 6:43 in the final period, putting home a perfect backhand pass from Alex Ovechkin to give the Caps the lead. Just over ten minutes later, Mike Knuble would seal the deal converting on a two-on-one with Marco Sturm after Sturm delivered a perfect pass to the veteran winger. Take that, Frenchies. Caps top Habs, 4-2.

  • Ovechstreak! Ovechstreak!
  • Marcus Johansson‘s two goals were clutch. But it’s his skating, forechecking and willingness to shoot that’s impressed us. After chucking a game-high seven shots against Chicago on Sunday Johansson followed up that performance with four shots against the Habs. He was also on the ice for nine scoring chances for and only four against. Johansson’s confidence appears to be growing by the day.
  • But it was John Carlson who might have been the Capitals player of the game. He drew the Caps first power play of the game 45 seconds in, rifled six shots at Carey price and blocked two more. He was on the ice for 14 scoring chances for — 10 at even strength — and only one against.
  • Per Katie Carrera, Washington has outscored their opponents 13 to two in the third period during their current nine-game winning streak. That’s what I call a killer instinct.
  • Braden Holtby gets a bullet not for his goaltending, but for his secondary assist on Johansson’s opening tally. It was the first career helper for the young ‘keeper and prompted this tweet from Caps prospect Andrew Gordon:

    If holtby gets more NHL points than me this year im going to be upset. Haha. I currently have a one point lead.less than a minute ago via txt

  • Scott Hannan blocked a game-high six shots, twice as many as the next closest player.
  • The quote of the night goes to Joe B.’s simile in the third period. After Holtby quickly broke up a scoring chance with his stick, Beninati said of the NHL’s reigning number one star “Holtby flashes the poke-check like a lizard tongue.” Wow.
  • It appears Eric Fehr may have re-injured his shoulder just a minute into the second period after a collision just inside the Capitals baseline. After falling to the ice awkwardly he skated off the ice, seeming to favor his right side. The Capitals said after the game that he had an upper-body injury and would be re-evaluated tomorrow. Before sustaining his injury Fehr was on the ice for five chance -for and none against in 4:23 of even-strength ice time. It will be a huge loss for the Caps if Fehr’s services are gone for another long stretch of time.
  • Matt Bradley gets a bullet for his heads-up first-period scrap with towering defenseman Paul Mara. After Holtby’s flubbed clearing attempt found its way into the back of the net 20 seconds after Johansson’s game-opening goal, it was Bradley who grabbed momentum back from the Habs with his dust-up.

  • FYI: Matt Hendricks‘ no-goal was a goal. Someone tell the guys in Toronto to stop hatin.’ Regardless, Hendricks finished the game with five shots while registering three hits.
  • Finally, Caps fans should send Pernell Karl Subban a thank you card for tonight’s victory. After Alex Ovechkin entered the offensive zone with a full head of steam the 2007 second round pick unwisely went for the big hit.
    Joe B.'s Suit of the Night

    Joe B.'s Suit of the Night

    Naturally, Ovechkin pushed him aside like a rag doll, found the puck in Subban’s skates, and tossed a pass to a wide-open Marcus Johansson for the game’s deciding goal. How did Subban react after Johansson scored? Immaturely. The Toronto native slammed his stick to the ice twice before pouting all the way to the Montreal bench. Subban is a great player, but he needs to grow up.

Now, it’s on to the Motor City as Washington will look to extend their winning streak into double digits. Won’t you join us?

Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg and Ian Oland.

  • Pat

    I have a wonderful feeling Neuvy is gonna play an amazing game, because he wants his starting spot back! :)

  • K4

    I get the feeling Neuvy likes to be pushed and Holtby is sure pushing him. I thought Holtby looked like he was fighting the puck most of the game. The night off tonight will help.

    I thought the angle behind the net clearly showed the Hendricks’ stick and Price’s arm move the puck into the net. What do I know though.

    Carlson played a better game than he has recently (hasn’t played BAD, just not at as high a level as he stared out). Sloan looked just plain awful. Gave up lots of odd man breaks and had trouble clearing the zone. Semin looked like he was skating in sand. Another bout of flu going around?

  • barb

    poor eric fehr. the hockey gods clearly have it in for him this year. i realize it’s impossible to avoid contact in hockey, and if guys know where you are hurt, chances are, that’s where the bums are going to aim when they hit you. just feeling sorry for eric today, that’s all.

    really hope there is not another flu-bug going around. and if there is, somebody better be for isolating whoever is sick and sitting their butts for a week or two until they feel better, instead of letting the yuck run rampant through the team.

  • http://twitter.com/chris_gordon Chris Gordon

    For some context on the Bradley-Mara fight here’s a quote from Mike Vogel’s recap:

    “Band Of Brothers – We’ve seen the Caps coming together like a band of brothers over the last month or so, and we saw more evidence of that process early in tonight’s tilt.

    On his first shift of the night, Caps center Jay Beagle laid a clean but hard hit on Montreal’s Travis Moen. Veteran Habs blueliner Paul Mara took exception, and responded with a hack to Beagle’s beak, giving the center a cut that required some stitching on the bench.

    Caps winger Matt Bradley noted Mara’s unpenalized whack, and on the very next shift challenged Mara to a scrap. Bradley has played that brand of stand-up hockey since arriving in the District in 2005-06, so it’s no surprise to see him take a stand for the injustice done unto Beagle.

    Good stuff.”

  • Don

    Hardly revenge for getting bounced in the playoffs in the first round last year. A regular season victory is no comparison!

  • Charles DeBoni

    Carlson did pick up his game lastnight, although overall I think he’s been on the ice for 35+ goals against. Schultz’s play this year is of concern. With his big body he’s able to block alot of shots (lastnight however not one blocked shot). It is painful to watch him skate — he seems to only have one gear (low) with zero acceleration, which means he always seems to be last one to the puck or lets guys get around him. 61 games played … no goals, only 8 assists (a far cry from last year). When he played with Hannan, Hannan always seemed to be out of position trying to compensate for Schultz and that wasn’t good either. Too bad about Fehr … perhaps he came back too early as well. No one seems to know what happened to Arnott. Is it an old injury that has resurfaced or something new?

  • mootown

    I watched the game, but could we get a video of the matt hendricks no-goal goal?

  • http://twitter.com/chris_gordon Chris Gordon

    @Don – I wasn’t implying this made up for last year’s ousting, merely that it was good to get a win in Montreal for the first time since then.

  • http://twitter.com/chris_gordon Chris Gordon

    @mootown – I couldn’t find video of it anywhere online but this picture clearly shows the puck over the line before the net is fully off its moorings.

  • Tim

    If you go to TSN’s website and watch the highlights, they show multiple angles. The especially revealing one is from the goal cam at about :45 in, where the puck is clearly at least 3 inches past the goal line and the net is on its moorings.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    I would have loved to be a fly on the glass to hear what the official said to Bruce on that no-goal. The thing that bugged me the most was that the refs screwed this up twice: 1.) with the early whistle 2.) with not calling a penalty on the Habs for shoving a Capital into the goal and knocking the net off it’s moorings. How that play ended with nothing beneficial for the Capitals is a bunch of hogwash. But hey, that’s how the Hockey Gods work sometimes. Mojo’s first goal was a gift from the heavens. I suppose it all evens out in the end.