Threes Are Wild As Caps Beat Pens 3-2 In Overtime
In a battle of unbeatens, the Washington Capitals took down the Pittsburgh Penguins last night. It was the Caps’ third win in this young season, and their third OT victory at that. These guys just don’t seem to want to win in regulation, but whatever it takes, just keep ’em coming. It was a great game to watch as both teams played tough, physical hockey, but that being said, the skill guys on each side had open ice to shine. Overall, Just a beautiful game to watch. There is no love lost between these two teams, and you can be sure that after this one, that trend will continue. Now the particulars.
The Caps came out with some lines we had not seen in the prior two games. Boudreau definitely did not like what he saw from the big guns, so he decided to mix things up. Would his mixing/matching work? Things got off to an inauspicious start as the Pens got off to a quick 1-0 lead on a goal by James Neal just 2:27 into the game. I could hear the words “oh oh” ring out from Caps fans way out here in California. Tomas Vokoun, who had just given up 5 goals in the game prior (granted he played a stellar OT vs Tampa Bay), was already behind the 8-ball. You had to wonder if he was lacking a bit of confidence. However, he is a veteran, seen it all, so after the early goal, he held strong. He had to be good, because the Pens were all over the Caps in this first period. Like bees around a hive, the Pens were buzzing. They outshot the Caps 12-3 in the period, had two power plays, yet Vokuhn held strong. Great bounce back performance from him. Another slow start by the Caps, however, leads to 1-0 deficit.
The 2nd period was fantastic hockey, if you like it physical, grinding, but at the same time free-flowing. “Penguins killer” Mike Knuble got the Caps on the board the only way he knows how: driving hard to the net, willing himself to the spot, and putting in arguably the ugliest goal you will ever see. I will take it, though. That was Knuble’s 12th goal in the last 13 games vs the Pens, and 31 overall vs them, most by any opponent. Both teams were end to end this period, and you just knew this would be one of their classics, even without Sid the Kid on the ice. Vokuhn was so much better; his positioning was fantastic, making several tough saves look easy. This is what the Caps hoped for when they signed him. I would be remiss without mentioning the much more inspired play by Ovechkin. He was “paying the price”; getting in the corners, playing the body, being a leader. Still goalless at this point, but I would take this effort six days a week and twice on Sunday. 2nd period ends 1-1, a great setup for the 3rd period and potentially OT.
The Caps score quickly to start the 3rd…unfortunately the only people who knew that were wearing the white jerseys. After a stoppage and review, it was confirmed. Ovie on a redirect, a very un-Ovie-like goal. Again, he was “paying the price”, working in the office in front of the crease, taking a subtle slash here and there, but it paid off. Love seeing these kinds of goals from the Captain. 2-1, Caps. Sidenote: kudos to the NHL for having the best replay system in sports; it’s quick, efficient, and they get it right. Sets the standard. Something that will very likely be discussed and debated all over sports media today is the Jay Beagle/Arron Asham fight that occurred at the 14:06 mark. It was brutal. Beagle had never fought before, and Asham is top enforcer. I’ll just give my 2 cents and move on. I don’t love fighting in the game. It’s unfortunately a necessary evil. I do absolutely HATE it, however, when one dude gets completely crushed and a chance of serious injury could happen. Beagle lost teeth, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the jaw is broken; luckily he was wearing a helmet or things could have been much worse. Asham’s antics after were bush, but he did acknowledge they were and I give him credit for that. This isn’t an MMA blog, so on to the actual sport. Trailing 2-1, the Pens upped the pressure, and with the help of yet another extra man advantage (Caps had none to this point…none), they tied it up, again Lean with 3:45 to go in the game. The Pens outshot the Caps 18-3(!) in the 3rd period. Again, kudos to Vokuhn for this game even going to OT.
The Pens were all over Vokuhn early on in extra time, but (finally) got called for a penalty, and with 2:12 to go, Nicklas Backstrom delivered a pretty saucer pass to defenseman Dennis Wideman, who was jumping up on the play. Goal! Game over…careful driving home Pittsburgh fans. A beautiful victory. Give me these over 6-5 shootout wins any day. Tough, grinding, against essentially your blood rival. Let’s face it, any win over a Pittsburgh team is a great day. 3 games, 3 OTs, 3 wins…the 3’s were definitely wild last night!