On a team loaded with such stars as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin, and Mike Green, the leading goal scorer is… Jason Chimera. Chimera led the Capitals to victory with two goals, including the game winning goal in overtime.
Chimera has been a very pleasant surprise for the Capitals this year. Last year, he had a total of 10 goals. The most goals he has ever scored in an NHL season is 17. This year through 20 games, Chimera already has 8 goals. All his years of hard work and dedication are finally starting to pay off. Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau had the following to say about his speedy wing:
“He’s been engaged. He has been on one of those rolls that he hasn’t been on in awhile. I’m pretty happy for him, because he is a guy that comes, works every day and he always has a smile on his face, and he keeps the team loose.”
Chimera has been huge for the Capitals this year, and he scored what might have been his biggest goal of the year last night in overtime. Chimera chased down a dump in the offensive zone and was able to get it to Marcus Johansson. He passed it back to a trailing Dennis Wideman. After faking out Jets goalie Ondrej Pavalec, he passed it to Chimera near the post who had the easy wide open net goal. Chimera has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. That’s something that you can’t teach.
Alex Semin delivered on his promise to have a big game by scoring an early goal and moving the puck down the ice. He had two breakaway chances, but the Jets took away the easy goal each time. Each time though, Semin was able to almost score, missing just wide each time. Most importantly, Semin was a force on defense and committed no penalties. Judging by his performance, I’d say that Semin has learned his lesson.
The 5-on-3 penalty kill for the Capitals in the second period is something that could have a long-term positive effect on the season. As the game became increasingly physical, Mathieu Perreault got a boarding minor. Just forty seconds later, Mike Knuble found himself in the sin bin for hooking, leaving the Capitals having to play a total of 3:20 with at least one man down, including 1:20 with a two man disadvantage. The tensions boiled over when Brooks Laich lost his stick and the Jets wouldn’t let him get a new one. After blocking a shot, he had enough and went at it with Jets center Nik Antropov. Matt Hendricks immediately stood up for his teammate, and in typical Hendricks fashion, threw a few punches. Laich and Antropov received off-setting roughing minors. That stand-off was the turning point of the game as it re-energized both the Verizon Center crowd and the Capitals bench. As the Capitals killed the 5-on-3, the entire crowd got in their feet and gave the PK another burst of energy. Perreault deserves a ton of credit because he came in after his penalty was over and gave it his all for 35 seconds, clearing the puck twice.
The most important stat of the game was 35-27. No that’s not shots on goal (that was 37-25 in favor of the Capitals), that was the number of hits. After being physically dominated by the Jets last week in a 4-1 loss, the Capitals returned the favor by physically dominating the Jets. Jets coach Claude Noel had the following to say about the Capitals:
“They played with a lot more emotion. They got energized by scoring early. They got energized by the crowd. They got energized by physical hits. They played hard and they played with some emotion to the game and it showed.”
After their recent patch of lackluster play, that’s a compliment I’m sure Bruce Boudreau and the Capitals would love to hear again.
- Joel Ward was a healthy scratch for disciplinary reasons. He missed a team meeting on Tuesday.
- The power play woes continue: The Capitals have gone 28 5 on 4 chances without scoring. I think it’s safe to say that Mike Green is missed.
- Dmitry Orlov scored his first NHL point with an assist on Nicklas Backstrom’s second period goal. Orlov continues to impress. With the way he’s been playing, Orlov is going to make it almost impossible to send him back down to Hershey.
- Mike Knuble had a third period goal waved off because the refs said that Matt Hendricks interfered with Pavelec. It would have been his first goal since his shootout goal against Roberto Luongo on October 29th.
- Roman Hamrlik continues to struggle as he missed a clearing opportunity to leave Dennis Wideman to defend a two man rush with led to the first goal. He also allowed Blake Wheeler to move down the ice without putting up much resistance, which led to the Jets third goal.
- Interesting tidbit: Before the game against the Jets, Perreault had just 12 seconds of ice time during penalty kills for the entire season.