Capitals End Skid, Beat Devils 3-1
The Washington Capitals did not play their best game on Friday night. At times they looked a bit sloppy, especially in the first period. All that doesn’t matter because at the end of the night, the Capitals won the game 3-1. Tomas Vokoun had a very solid outing, and the offense finally woke up despite all the line shuffling.
The first period did not go well for the Capitals. Adam Larsson, who has been phenomenal for the Devils so far this year, scored his first NHL goal on a beautiful wrist shot 13:06 into the period. That was not the most noteworthy thing to happen in the period though: Alex Semin committed a lazy hooking penalty in the offensive zone. He wasn’t himself after that. I’ll touch on why that was so significant later on. Also, Mike Green had to leave the game late in the first period due to a collision with Devils forward Ryan Carter. The Capitals are being very quiet about it, which definitely concerns me. The Capitals need Mike Green. The Capitals mustered just six shots on goal in the first period, while the Devils managed to get seven, but the Devils missed a ton of opportunities. One good thing came from this period: The Capitals penalty kill was extremely effective, killing the two power plays that the Devils got.
The second period didn’t start off well either. The Capitals had three power play opportunities during the period and failed to capitalize on any of them. Losing Mike Green had a lot to do with that because they got practically nothing from the point during all three of the power play opportunities. Just when it looked like the Capitals were about to give up, captain Alex Ovechkin gave them just what they needed: a hard fought goal. Ovechkin fought hard near the post to get in position for a deflection off a Dennis Wideman shot, but he missed. Luckily, the rebound came in his direction. He got to the puck before Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and scored to tie up the game. Wideman and Nicklas Backstrom were both credited with assists on that goal. The Capitals, however, did not end the period on a good note: Jason Chimera got called for roughing to give the Devils another power play chance.
Alex Semin saw virtually no time in the second period, and he would see none in the third period. Boudreau implied that he was benched for his lazy play and for his knack for committing penalties. It was done to send a message, and I think the message was sent. Cody Eakin was also benched, but I think that was because he was just having one of those nights where absolutely nothing goes right for you, and Boudreau wanted to make sure that he was rested. It will be interesting to see how Semin reacts to his benching. Maybe this will put the fire under his butt that he so desperately needs right now.
The third period was all about the Capitals taking advantage of the Devils’ mistakes, and the Devils being unable to capitalize on the Capitals’ mistakes. Immediately after the Capitals were able to kill the penalty by Chimera, Mike Knuble committed a tripping penalty. 44 seconds after the penalty was called, Jason Chimera showed why he is so dangerous on breakaways by speeding down the ice, weaving through the Devils defense, and scoring a shorthanded goal to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. That was a HUGE goal, and the momentum really shifted to the Capitals after that goal. Troy Brouwer and John Erskine were both credited with assists on Chimera’s goal. The Capitals managed to kill the rest of Knuble’s penalty, and then immediately went on the attack again. It was a back and forth battle until Marcus Johansson made the Devils pay with a wrist shot from a rebound off a slap shot from Karl Alzner. Several times before that goal, the Devils had the opportunity to get the puck out of their zone, but failed to. MoJo made them pay. Alzner was credited with the assist. The Devils tried desperately to get anything going after that goal, but Vokoun and the Capitals defense were able to lock it down and the Capitals left Jersey with a victory.
The three stars of the night were:
- Jason Chimera
- Adam Larrson
- Tomas Vokoun
Dennis Wideman had an incredible night. Not only did he have the assist on Ovechkin’s goal, but he was all over the place and really stepped it up when Green had to leave the game. He wound up with 27 minutes of ice time.
Tonight, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to try a live blog during the game. I’ll be in a suite, and I’ll try to update what’s going on both on and off the ice. Hopefully everyone enjoys it, I’m sure I’ll enjoy writing it.
I think a huge reason as to why the Capitals have been struggling lately is due to Boudreau’s constant shifting of the forward lines. Lines aren’t being able to get any form of chemistry together at this point because the lines are getting changed so often. What do you think the forward lines should be? Let me know in the comments. I’ll give my thoughts either tomorrow or Monday.