SOB line leads Capitals to 4-1 victory over Rangers
The Washington Capitals have tried numerous combinations on the first line to try to see which combination is the most productive. The Capitals might have found the perfect combination in their version of the Big 3, the SOB line (Semin, Ovechkin, Backstrom). The trio built off each other’s energy and truly dominated on both ends of the ice. Semin led the way with his first two goal game in almost ten months, Ovechkin added two assists to go along with his physical play, and Backstrom had an assist to go along with his steady play on both ends of the ice. Marcus Johansson scored his 7th goal of the year early in the first period and had a solid night moving the puck up the ice. Troy Brouwer scored his 10th goal of the year in the second period and made his presence felt with his hits and gritty play.
The Capitals defense had a strong night as well. Tomas Vokoun had a solid night and showed why the Capitals cherished him in free agency. He was particularly clutch in the third period, as he turned away all of the Rangers’ 15 shots. Roman Hamrlik had an understated game in which he did precisely what the Capitals signed him to do: kill penalties. In shutting down a hot Rangers team featuring Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, and Marian Gaborik, John Carlson and Karl Alzner showed why they are considered one of the best pairs of defensemen in the Eastern Conference. Carlson and Alzner each had an assist as well. The Capitals were especially strong on the penalty kill, as they killed all five of the Rangers’ power play chances.
The Capitals simply outplayed the Rangers after the first period. The Capitals were outshot by the Rangers 32-23, but almost half of the Rangers’ shots came in the third period when they were down 3-1 and desperately trying to get something going. The Capitals refused to give the Rangers anything in the middle of the ice, save a goal by Callahan that was eventually waved off after review. The Capitals outhit the Rangers by a 22-15 margin. Ovechkin set the tone early on with a huge hit on Rangers’ defenseman Dan Girardi. When Ovechkin is aggressive in the hitting game, good things tend to happen for the Capitals. Brandon Dubinsky scored the lone goal for the Rangers. Ryan Callahan had an assist and a goal that was called back because he kicked it in.
Jay Beagle played in his first game since being injured by Asham in October. In just under six minutes of ice time, he committed a penalty, but he was very aggressive and had a big hit that thwarted an early scoring chance. Seeing him play so aggressive in his first game back is definitely a good sign.
The Capitals will return to the Verizon Center on Friday to play the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are 2-0 against the Capitals this year.
The Capitals will return to the Verizon Center on Friday to take on the Buffalo Sabres, who have given the Capitals a lot of trouble this year in their two meetings.
- Mike Green expects to make his return next week. General Manager George McPhee said on 106.7 FM in DC that Mike Green is “at about 80%”.