Capitals 3, Lightening 2 OT
Capitals started the game with dumb penalties. Allowing the Stanley Cup champions 6 powerplays in a period usually means losing the game. But the penalties seemed to wake up the Caps. Caps keep the game close with goals by Chris Clarke and Dainius Zubrus.
For the first time the Capitals beared down and played good defense against an explosive offensive team. The Caps began to play gritty and tough. They stopped over pursuing and biting on big plays. Caps defensive core finally were able to put together a solid good 2 periods. Mike Green filled in nicely and played very well in the new NHL.
They may not have won in regulation, but the Caps did force overtime and finally to the shoot out. And Olaf Kolzig played like a champ versus the likes of Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent LeCavalier (LeCavalier the only one to score in the shootout). When Kolzig made the second save on Richards, he pumped his fists in celebration and a little bit of relief. And it was a well deserved win.
Overall Grade: A
The Caps have finally realized that hard work in the defensive end can lead to good opportunistic goals on the offensive end. The Caps spent their time off working on even strength defense and it paid off. Kudos to the coaching staff for getting tougher on the team to perform better in front of Kolzig.
The Wash Post covered the details of Kolzig's performance in the net, and how the Caps played better when following the system.
Capital Petr Sykora received the number one star and Steve Eminger who had greatly improved his play of late got star #3. Only 10,002 in attendance, the Capitals are in last place for Fan turnout in the NHL. Don't look for that to change any time soon.
Caps take a few days off before playing in Florida on Thursday.