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.
What actually happened was somewhat different. Neil plowed Ovechkin in the corner before the hit in question. Ovechkin recovered from and skated off in tandem with Neil. As Ovechkin accelerrated, his stick went into Neil’s midsection. Kinda hard. And by midsection, I mean yambag. And by yambag, I mean scrotum.
“I call him fat #$%&* and 10 days later he fired.” (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
It’s okay. We understand.
Not everyone was a Capitals fan in the 1990’s. Some of you weren’t even alive. You’re not expected or required to know the ins and outs of Bonzai, Langway, Hunter, and Chris Simon (who Peter stubbornly demands be included in Mt. Capsmore). When you heard that the Caps named Dale Hunter their newest head coach, you might’ve said something like, “That name sounds familiar.”
Marco Sturm seems, let's just say, pleased with his goal. (Photo credit: Graham Hughes)
Less than 24 hours after being shutout at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, the Washington Capitals turned the tables against the Montreal Canadiens on Holtby — err — Hockey Night in Canada. The 21 year-old stonewalled the Habs on the way to his tenth victory this season.
The Capitals dominated the play during the first period of play, outshooting the Canadiens 12 to three and scoring the only tally of the frame. The goal came just 84 seconds into the contest when Marco Sturm knocked in a rebound off a Nicklas Backstrom wrist shot.
Washington continued their strong play in the second stanza, outshooting the Habs once again while Braden Holtby held the fort in net.
In the third both teams managed good opportunities, but it would be the Caps who would convert. After, guess who, Marco Sturm poke-checked the puck away at center-ice, Backstrom started a three-on-one break before Alexander Semin finished the play off by flicking the Swede’s pass past Montreal goalie Carey Price. SHUTOUT FOR BRADEN! Caps stonewall Habs, 2-0.
Eighty-four days and thirty-eight NHL games later, that streak would finally end for Ovechkin against a team he consistently has success against: the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tonight, the Capitals managed to get on the board first for the second consecutive game. Jeff Schultz unleashed a howitzer from the point, and a hard-charging Russian Machine tipped Sarge’s shot past Maple Leafs’ goaltender, Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Despite both teams combining for forty shots through the games first two periods, scoring would not resume until the third.
One minute into the games final’s frame, Ovechkin would strike again, as he set up shop in his new home in front of the net. Unfortunately, the two-goal lead would only last a minute and a half. Leafs’ fourth-liner Tim Brent ended Braden Holtby’s shutout bid, going five-hole after Jay Rosehill’s shot from the point was muffled. The Leafs then astutely seized the momentum and came at the Caps in waves for the next several minutes. That is until Bruce Boudreau wisely called time-out after an icing call.
Above, are highlights from the Caps Pens Alumni Game where the two-period exhibition ended in a 5-5 tie. One of my favorite All-Time Capitals, Peter Bondra, tied the game in the final few minutes with a wicked slap shot from the middle of the circles. In Bonzai’s post-game scrum with the media, he revealed that the scrimmage actually got quite intense.