Capitals 3, Mighty Ducks 2 OT
All the Capitals needed were two men: Alex Ovechkin and Brent Johnson. Both played phenomenal versus a good Western Conference team, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. It was all the Caps needed.
The Caps came into this game needing a win, needing to give Olaf Kolzig a rest, and needing to produce more goals. It was the return of Jeff Friesen (who changed his number from 12 to 41 out of respect of Bondra’s scoring record in DC), both back in the line up for the Capitals and back in Anaheim where he played. There was so much behind this game for the Caps that the Mighty Ducks could no longer contain the super rookie getting his first career hat-trick.
Not only did Ovechkin score all three goals, but won the game with less than two minutes left in overtime. It was almost poetic. And as Mighty Ducks fans looked on in awe and shock, a collective scream of joy rippled through the homes of Caps fans in the Capital City close to 1 in the morning.
The Mighty Ducks did not go quietly in the night, it only seemed that way with some of the miraculous saves by Johnson (Johnny). He had 32 saves which included defusing a 2 on 0. Johnny looked good in net with great pad stops and glove grabs.
Some other players that played well but was not found on the score sheet were Brendan Witt who played the best all year, I thought. Brian Sutherby was another that seemed to find the puck and was always tough on the boards in the forecheck.
Overall Grade: A
The Caps fought this one out. Plus leaning on Ovie doesn’t hurt either. The Caps need to find a way to continue this hard working play. It was quite obvious the Mighty Ducks were not ready for the speed of the Capitals.
Bad news, Steve Eminger was hurt badly with either a tweaked knee or ankle. Either way, it was a heart breaker to see him fall in pain in overtime. When Eminger was helped off the ice with the help of the trainer and teammates, he did not put pressure on the injured leg. Bad sign.
Wash Post will love to fill you in on the sayings and stories of the night (if they stayed up past their bed time). The Caps play the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday, traveling overnight after this game. Kolzig is a likely starter versus Gretzky’s squad. The game is 4 pm local time in D.C.
1/14 Editors Correction: Caps play the Coyotes on Monday which is Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, hence the start time at 4 pm eastern.