At this point in the year, we all know what tension is about. The Caps-Rangers series is mostly a low-scoring affair, a goalie battle if you will. And in a goalie battle there is one matter that eventually comes up.
Braden Holtby‘s 35-stop afternoon in Manitoba puts him in a three-way tie in shutouts (3) alongside Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and Phoenix’s Mike Smith.
I guess the first thing I should say is that shutouts, while awesome, are kind of a silly way to evaluate a goalie. Goalies don’t control the number of shots they face, just the percentage of that number they stop. That in mind, I thought we’d do a quick comparison of how these guys came to be the league’s shutout leaders.
The Washington Capitals looked like a troubled team before Saturday’s game at the Winnipeg Jets. With a grinder on their top line, a goal-scorer in Wojtek Wolski scratched in favor of a tough guy, and more injured players than you can shake a groin at, expectations were low for the early afternoon rumble in Manitoba. For twenty minutes, those expectations were met, and then the Capitals took control of their destiny and looked like a damn fine hockey club.
On March 25, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Mitchell Layton
After letting the Jets steal two points on Friday, the Washington Capitals direly needed a win against the Minnesota Wild to keep them off the golf course come April 8th. Aware of this fact, the Capitals played a smart game– even after getting the lead.
A little over 30 minutes in, Alex Semin accelerated into the Wild zone and set up Jason Chimera for a smart opening goal. Mathieu Perreault crashed the net for a goal on an undeserved power play. Alex Ovechkin did the Alex Ovechkin thing in the third. Caps beat Wild 3-0.
On February 7, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Greg Fiume
The Washington Capitals reclaimed the Southeast Division lead with a thunderous victory over the Florida Panthers, who kind of sucked. It’s possible that the Panthers expected to play the doughy 2011-2012 Capitals. When the Caps came out all tumescent instead, the Cats were probably bewildered. Great game.
Mathieu Perreault scored on the games first shot, a plucky shut set up by Jason Chimera just 13 seconds into the game. Alex Ovechkin zipped past the Florida D to convert on the power play. Jason Chimera opened the second period with a shorthanded goal, his second of the year. 10 minutes later, Alex Ovechkin’s blazing fast wrister surprised Scott Clemmensen. No goals in the third period. Caps beat Cats 4-0.
On February 4, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Francois Lacasse
On Saturday afternoon The Washington Capitals got to feed at the trough of the league’s sideshow, the Montreal Canadiens. That doesn’t mean this game was zany and fun or anything, just kind of sad.
Dennis Wideman scored off the faceoff, firing a weird knuckle puck that dropped behind Peter Budaj. The Caps held Montreal scoreless through a sloppy second period. Matt Hendricks swept in a goal on a yawning net to make it 2-0. Alex Semin drew a penalty shot and slapped home the three-spot goal. Caps beat Habs 3-0.
On January 18, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz
The Washington Capitals invaded Montreal like pillaging barbarians, and they only needed 16 shots to do it.
Hometown boy Mathieu Perreault ripped a wrist-shot high on Carey Price’s far side to score in the first five minutes. Marcus Johansson had to fence with Andrei Kostitsyn, but he got a shot off to make it 2-0. Alex Ovechkin’s puck slipped through a few legs during a supersized power play. Caps beat Habs 3-0.
On October 18, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
First rule of hockey writing: if there’s a photo of a guy hit in the junk, USE IT. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
The Florida Panthers were still coming down off blowing out Tampa 7-4 when they showed up for their game with the Washington Capitals. That big win must have taken a lot out of them, ’cause they just didn’t show up to play on Tuesday.
Three penalty killers gravitated to Alex Ovechkin, leaving Marcus Johansson enough space to score his third of the season. Early in the third period, Alex Semin effortlessly ripped the puck far side to make it 2-0. With an empty net, Alex Semin fed goal-scoring leader Jason Chimera, who lobbed it in for the coup de grace. Caps beat Cats 3-0.
Is Arnott happy or angry he scored? (Photo credit: AP)
Thanks to tallies authored by the two Alexes Wednesday, the Capitals opened up their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Rangers with a 2-1 overtime victory. Who would pot the goals in game two? Um, obviously the Jasons.
After a scoreless first period, Brooks Laich decided to hold a forechecking clinic at 2:11 of the second period, taking on towering Rangers’ defenseman Matt Gilroy. After being knocked to his keister not once — but twice — Laich pushed the biscuit with only one hand on his stick to Marcus Johansson. Mojo — acutely aware of all of his surroundings — immediately sent a tape-to-tape pass to Jason Chimera, who roofed the puck high and glove side past a stunned Henrik Lundqvist.
1:57 later while on the power play, Jason Arnott would win a face-off. Alex Semin then passed it back to Alex Ovechkin at the point. Ovechkin, when pressured by a Ranger penalty-killer, skated across the blue line with the puck and fed Mike Green who was rotating down to the slot. Green then wound up to the sky with all his fury and released a slap shot. Gilroy blocked the attempt both with his skate and stick. Unfortunately for him, the muffed puck then deflected across the ice directly onto the blade of Jason Arnott’s twig, who was skating towards the net already looking for a rebound. As Lundqvist panicked and made a quick move to block the right corner of the net, Arnott made a veteran move and waited as he fell down and then shot the puck past. ANGRY SCOAR FACE.
That would be all she wrote. Michal Neuvirth would get his first career playoff shutout. Caps beat Rangers, 2-0!