Vokoun isn’t sure when this hug is going to end. (Via carrotbazooka.tumblr.com)

Coming into tonight’s game, the Capitals have won six straight at home. During that stretch, they’ve outscored their opponents 19-7 and have never trailed. Their recent dominance in front of their home fans has put the Caps back into contention for *gasp* — not only a playoff spot — but the Southeast Division lead as well. In fact, with a win tonight, the Capitals overtake world-beating Florida.

After a scoreless first period, Brooks Laich Alex Semin started the scoring off in the second period with a high, short-side blast by Cam Ward. 2:46 later, Jussi Jokienen knocked in a pinballing puck on the power play. Dmitry SCOARlov scored his first NHL goal in the third period. And that, my friends, would be the game-winner. Caps beat Canes 2-1.

Joe B on Cam and Joel Ward: 'No relation.'

  • The Caps now lead the Southeast Division for the first time since mid-November. They would also be the third place team in the Eastern Conference if the playoffs started today. Thanks, Dale.
  • In Tomas Vokoun‘s ninth straight start, the 35-year-old Czech net minder came up huge, stopping 43 shots, 18 of which came in the third period. Maybe Bruce Boudreau switching his goalies every other game was, in fact, a bad idea.
  • The Caps are now 8-0-1 in last nine games against the Hurricanes.
  • Brooks Laich‘s second period no-goal in the second was, um, a goal. Laich went strong to the net, and as the puck deflected off Cam Ward’s shoulder, Brooks knocked the puck home from his knees. Ward was maybe swiped. Yet, the on-ice officials deemed the game’s first tally null-and-void because of incidental contact with the goalie. Oh, if only Eric Furlatt and Kyle Rehman were officiating when the Flyers knocked the Caps out of 2008-09 playoffs. Maybe we’d have a Cup by now.
  • Undaunted after hitting the post for the third time in two games, Alex Semin hit the back of the twine with one of his patented rocketships. It was 11th goal of the season.
  • Hey, Ovi! You have to score with the puck, not yer body, silly!
  • The best part of Dmitry Orlov‘s first NHL goal was the look of pure joy on his face after he realized he scored. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of that as the season goes on.
  • Marcus Johansson had another fine effort centering the Capitals’ first line. He finished with an assist in 19:44 of playing time. What’s concerning is his penchant for losing face-offs. Tonight, he was six of 17. Nicklas Backstrom can’t return soon enough.
  • Via Ben Raby, Mike Green’s first career game, Michael Neuvirth’s first career shutout, and John Carlson, Cody Eakin, and Orlov’s first career goals have come against the Canes.

Joe B suit of the night

The Capitals will now turn their attention to the New York Islanders on Tuesday and try to finish their four-game homestand undefeated.

Finally, we have to give a shoutout to Alan May, who was inside the glass for the broadcast team tonight. Besides giving his usual straightforward insight, he also pretty much served everybody. While the Caps had an odd man break and Joe B and Locker were chatting, May interrupted, “Hey! I’m trying to pay attention to the game down here, guys.” After the Great 8 told an on-ice official to “check the replay” after a non-call, May responded, “Ovi was a lot nicer to the referee than if I would have been talking to him.” CSN, keep this man right here. We like it.

  • brian!

    And let’s not forget Johansson keeping his composure after nearly being wiped-out by a sliding mascot.

  • Anonymous

    The other thing that I enjoyed about this game was when everyone finally just decided they had enough of Jeff Skinner biting their ankles all game at the end. Dude can’t even rent a car, don’t try and fight Hendy.

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  • sean

    Semin really cares, no really.

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  • RegularStan

    Semin has 13 points in 12 games. Dale’s a wonder.

  • Ana

    And only one stick penalty in the last 9! He’s been scared straight, by George. 

  • DClark1032

    He looks silly doing so sometimes (see The Leap: http://www.csnwashington.com/pages/video?PID=i38qIQROcX_FyNgaPAoTwvRpQD5ccB02), but I am glad to see Semin playing with some joy and verve. The smiles he has begun flashing are more than I recall from seasons past, and may be signaling the victory of Good Sasha over Bad Sasha.

  • serpent

    Having May on the ice should be a given for CSN. He knows what he’s looking at and pays attention to the play.

  • serpent

    Ditto! I hope that idiot Skinner has his rabies shot up to date. What a pain in the tookas!