Capitals Potent Power Play Puts Out Flames In 3-1 Victory
In the 2011 portion of the Capitals’ season, the power play was a weakness. The New Year might not be the only change in Washington right now. The Capitals got two power play goals and added a goal at even strength to win their fourth straight game. Tomas Vokoun added his new-found consistent solid play in net to ensure the victory.
Alex Ovechkin started off the scoring early with a power play goal just 1:11 into the game (his 17th goal of the year), and the Capitals never really lost momentum after that. Troy Brouwer fought his way to score the second goal of the night (his 11th goal of the year) 8:49 into the second period. Ovechkin fired a shot from the point, and Brouwer knocked it to the ground and put it into the net after some digging. The Flames started to gain momentum after a second period goal by Curtis Glencross, but Dennis Wideman immediately shifted the momentum back to the Capitals with his seventh goal of the year 17:01 into the second period to put the Capitals up 3-1.
The Capitals were energized by the return of Mike Green, who had missed 29 of the last 30 games due to groin injuries. He didn’t register a shot on goal and only managed 44 seconds of ice time during power plays, but did register three hits and two blocked shots. He was rusty, but that’s to be expected. You could tell that his return had the entire crowd and team pumped up, and the Capitals were definitely able to feed off that energy. Marcus Johansson had an understated night with two assists.
Nicklas Backstrom had an incredible night with three assists. Unfortunately, his night was cut short in the third period after a hard elbow to the back of the head by Rene Bourque (who wound up getting a five game suspension for the hit). Backstrom is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Sharks, although he did participate in an off-ice practice with teammates on Wednesday, so that’s a good sign.
I’m surprised that nothing was done in response to Bourque’s actions. Backstrom is the Capitals’ best player at this point and they can’t allow him to get cheap shotted like that without some form of retaliation. Not necessarily fighting, but somebody really should have put a stick to Bourque’s gut or at least reminded him that certain actions have consequences, if you catch my drift. Sadly, this has been a recurring thing for the Capitals this year. No one is standing up for Vokoun when he gets iced by opposing skaters or even when he gets hit after he covers the puck. All that ‘s needed is a little shove or a little whack. Let them know that you’re there. I know the Capitals have lost grinders like Matt Bradley and DJ King, but I’m worried because the great teams seem to protect each other. Next time you watch the Bruins, see if anyone messes with Tim Thomas. If anyone does, there are two or three Bruins in their face immediately afterwards.
The Capitals (namely John Erskine) talked today about how they wanted to do something. I really hope that next time, they do something, and if they don’t, that Dale Hunter helps this team to understand that they need to stand up for each other. The Capitals next game is on Saturday, when they travel to the west coast to play the San Jose Sharks at 10:30 PM.