Capital Collision: Capitals beat Hurricanes in Game one 4-2
Finally! Playoff hockey is back and boy was it a fun one. Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes was a highly anticipated match-up going into the evening. A clash of opposites. After a little bit of drama, the Washington Capitals captured the series lead with goals from Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and Lars Eller. Braden Holtby collected the win for Washington, stopping 27 of 29.
So this game started off…slow? Lots of hitting to begin, with both teams dealing body blow after body blow. It seems that Carolina was determined to prove that they could hang with Washington physically. After 10 minutes it was 0-0 and Washington had only two shots, until…
Nick Backstrom. The silky Swede carried the puck into the zone and snapped an absolute bullet between the defenseman, beating Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek high glove.
Slick Nick got the second goal too! After a Hurricanes penalty, Kuznetsov found a wide open Backstrom. Backstrom deflected the puck into the net, and within four minutes, the game went from scoreless to a 2-0 game in favor of the Caps.
Remember that deadly Capitals power play we’ve been waiting for? It seems that they decided to suck all season to throw opponents off, because Carolina happily gave Washington another power play. This time, the Captain, Alex Ovechkin tallied one. After mad scramble in front of the net, the puck found Ovechkin’s stick, who found the net, beating Mrazek five-hole to make it 3-0 with less than 3 minutes remaining in the period.
This wasn’t a boring period per se… but one could describe it as cautious when describing the Capitals play. They played prevent defense, suffocated Carolina’s attack, and refused to give up ice for free. All in all, a good period for Washington. Limit shots and scoring opportunities.
As I watched this 3rd period, I caught myself wondering, is this fun? I’m not typically accustomed to watching a 3-0 Capitals lead in the playoffs. But.. five minutes into the 3rd period, Canes rookie Andrei Svechnikov, the 18 year old that scored 20 goals this season as a rookie, tallied his first career playoff goal on a strong net drive.
Three minutes after that, Svechnikov tallied another goal, this time on a one-timer off a pass from Linus Wallmark to bring the game within one. Big time hockey from the former number 2 draft pick.
But.. just when the Caps looked doomed, they locked it down, weathered a bad Oshie penalty, and Lars Eller struck the empty net to make it 4-2.
Great Eight Thoughts
- Braden Holtby looked fantastic in net tonight. I’m not entirely sure he could’ve done much else on either goal, but I’ll have to look at the tape tomorrow to find out.
- Didn’t love the Kuznetsov-Oshie-Hagelin line tonight. It might just be me, but I like Hagelin a lot more on that 3rd line, despite the defensive presence he brings to Kuzy’s line.
- Boy, Nick Backstrom showed up, didn’t he? 2 goals from the top-line center is a hell of a way to show up.
- Capital One Arena was rocking tonight. More of that please.
- HC Todd Reirden started the game using Carlson on the left side, his off-hand. About half-way through the game, he switched Carlson and Nick Jensen, which I think is the right thing to do. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Djoos on the top defense pairing on Saturday.
- Carolina responded really well after that first period. Shades of Columbus in Wednesday night’s action. Strong response, and damn are they quick.
- I think the Canes 3rd period will be the strongest period they play this series. I don’t think they have the horses to hang with Washington for 3 full periods across multiple games.
- Game 2 is on Saturday. 3 pm puck drop at the COA. LETS GO CAPS. 15 more.