It was a game of firsts for the budding Capitals. First game the Capitals scored more than 3 goals, first game the Capitals won when scoring the first goal, first game the Capitals had a two goal lead, first game the Capitals shot more than 30 shots in a game, the Capitals first back to back wins. Was it any surprise that the Capitals finally found their nitch, using their offensive talent to keep good teams off kilter?
Alexander Ovechkin scored twice (including the game winner) earning the first star of the game. Jakub Klepis got his first NHL assist and Olaf Kolzig stopped 26 to give the upstart Capitals a winning record at home at 5-3.
The Maple Leafs looked tired and uninterested the whole game, even up to the end of the third period they looked as if they were simply going to win. In short the Capitals outworked the Leafs in one on one battles and made a point of throwing the puck to the net more. Special teams were the key for the Caps as their first two goals came off a powerplay shot from Bryan Muir, and a shorthanded tally by Matt Pettinger.
When the Leafs scored back to back goals late in the first, I knew the Capitals were thankful for the horn at the end of the period. And they used that intermission wisely, coming back on the ice and in 1:21 scored the only even strength goal the Caps could muster.
Overall Grade: A
Wash Post covers the details including Kolzig praising special teams:
"Special teams was the difference tonight," Capitals goaltender Olie Kolzig
said. "Penalty killing was unbelievable, even though we gave up that
five-on-three goal. Other than that, we were terrific."
The Caps need to continue their hard work against the Leafs Tuesday night. The home and home games played back to back will test the Capitals in a playoff like setting, games against the same opponent back to back. The Caps do have a lot working against them, like their away record, which is a disappointing 1-4.
Most of the talk around Toronto was about Brendan Witt, who many think the Leafs should trade for. The Leafs need a solid defenseman that can come to the plate and make smart plays and Witt matches a lot of what they need. The problem is the Leafs have nothing to trade for him. The Capitals need more experienced defensemen in their line up, so a trade seems unlikely now. However, closer to the playoffs, it may be a different story.