Photo: Rob Carr
If the Caps squeak into the playoffs, you might have to thank Karl Alzner. Not for his defense — something a bit lacking on the Caps lately — but his offense. With 10:15 left in an important game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Karl unleashed a wrist shot from the near point, which went through traffic before beating Mike Smith over his right shoulder. Though Washington looked lifeless for the first 50 minutes, that goal ignited an incredible comeback, featuring two goals in 32 seconds and two points in the standings.
“I was excited,” Alzner told reporters after the game. “Everyone seemed really excited. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was me who scored it and not a guy who normally scores, but people seemed really up after that. It was the perfect momentum swing and the perfect line to come out right after that. It was the perfect storm for us.”
GIF by Ian Oland
It was just the second goal of the season for Alzner, his first in over four months. Halfway through the third period, Eric Fehr gathered the puck in the near corner, dishing it out to Alzner at the point. Karl took two steps to his left before firing a snap shot at Smith. After missing four players, the puck hit the near corner of the net.
“We practice that every single day at practice,” Alzner said. “Non-stop, just taking a step and slinging it at the net.”
“Usually I shoot those way too high or I miss it and put it right onto the ice so that’s the rare occasion where it works out perfectly,” he said.