Caps Remain Undefeated And Dominate Red Wings 7-1
The Capitals are 7-0 for the first time in franchise history after defeating the Red Wings 7-1 last night. This was probably the best game overall that the Capitals played all year. The Capitals were able to take advantage of an exhausted Red Wings team starting their backup goalie. With this win, the Capitals are now the only undefeated team left in the NHL.
This game was very fast and exciting for the entire first period. Tomas Vokoun did a good job, making ten saves in that period, including two phenomenal saves that denied Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk of two goals. His positioning also caused Detroit’s offense a ton of headaches, as Vokoun gave them virtually nothing to work with. The scoring began on a perfectly executed power play goal by Mike Green (assists by Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom) after Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi got called for boarding. The Caps began the power play by moving the puck around trying to find a seam. Mike Green found one and did not hesitate to blast it into the back of the net. The next goal came just a minute later, as Alex Semin found Marcus Johansson close to the goal, and Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin simply could not catch up to Johansson’s deadly wrist shot. Semin and Mike Knuble were both credited with an assist on that goal.
The second period was not pretty, and it could have been a disaster for the Capitals. Luckily, the Capitals have Tomas Vokoun. After a high sticking penalty by Red Wings center Cory Emmerton, the Capitals scored at the 4:59 mark off a power play goal from Mike Green (assists by Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman). With his assist, Wideman now has at least one point in each of the Capitals first seven games. After that, the Capitals showed a lack of discipline, committing four penalties and allowing Detroit to get two 5 on 3 chances. On a 5 on 3 chance just over 11 minutes into the period, the inevitable happened: Detroit scored. Niklas Kronwall blasted a slap shot into the goal. Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom (who played in his 1500th NHL game, just the 14th player in NHL history to do so) each were credited with an assist on Kronwall’s goal. That was all the scoring Detroit was able to do for the rest of the period, as Tomas Vokoun and the Capitals PK really locked it down after that. Vokoun made 15 saves in the second period, which killed any chance the Red Wings had of winning. The Capitals added another goal with just eight seconds left courtesy of Mathieu Perreault. Matt Hendricks got a shot off and Perreault was able to get the easy rebound for a goal. Hendricks and Mike Green were both credited with an assist on Perreault’s goal.
The third period was dominated by the Capitals, as the Red Wings just didn’t have enough energy to keep up with the Capitals. The Soul Brother Checking Line joined the party 8:17 into the period with a beautiful goal off a wrist shot from the Soul Brother Joel Ward. Brooks Laich and Mike Green were credited with the assists. Matheiu Perreault scored his second goal of the game just three minutes later, fighting for another rebound and putting another wrist shot between the pipes. Jeff Halpern and Matt Hendricks were credited with the assists. At the 17:21 mark, Nicklas Backstrom put an exclamation point on the Caps win by tipping in a rebound for the Capitals seventh goal of the game. John Carlson and Troy Brouwer were credited with the assists.
Mike Green is my player of the game. He scored two early power play goals and added two assists for a total of 4 points. He also did a very good job defensively. I’m glad that I’ve been able to say that about him quite a bit this season. Tomas Vokoun had another very strong performance with 32 saves and allowing just one goal. Mathieu Perreault continues to do the little things right, and now it’s really starting to pay off. He’s not the fastest or the quickest. He doesn’t have that good of a slap shot or wrist shot. What Perreault does so well is fight for every rebound and puck against the wall. He also plays smart hockey. Each forward line scored at least one even strength goal. The Capitals really showed tonight that their forward depth is second to none, something that they could benefit from come the trading deadline (I’ll examine in a later post who I think the Capitals should try to move).
Overall, a great game from the Capitals. However, the Capitals need to stay humble and realize that they did get a bit lucky tonight. First off, the Red Wings had to play in Detroit on Friday, so they didn’t get an off day in between games. Secondly, the Capitals faced Detroit’s backup goalie. Jimmy Howard is far better than Ty Conklin. Thirdly, the Caps should consider themselves lucky that they only allowed one goal in the second period. You can’t give good teams that many power plays and expect them to not take advantage of them. Their next game is on Thursday when they go to our northern neighbor Canada to take on the Edmonton Oilers.