Capitals 5, Canadiens 1
Scoresheet – Wash Post – Canada.com
On the verge of losing their 6th straight, the Washington Capitals such needed a couple of friendly bounces. They got it tonight as they faced down the Montreal Canadiens and took control of this game and never looked back.
Dainius Zubrus and Alex Semin both scored a pair and Lawrence Nycholat scored his second career NHL goal and Alex Ovechkin grabbed the playmaker. The Canadiens scored the first goal, but the Caps answered quickly on the next Power Play. Olaf Kolzig had 27 saves including a fantastic save were he robbed Michael Ryder from a wide open net goal with an outstretched glove.
Caps get back their killer instinct and finish the first half of season at .500 (17-17-7). The ship looks to be righted, but there was a caution tone in the post game interviews. Kolzig talked about absorbing the win for tonight and getting back to work at practice Friday.
Overall Grade: B
The turning point of the game was the Saku Koivu’s goaltender interference penalty that would have tied the game for the Canadiens at two a piece. Instead the Caps kept their lead and added one to boot.
This is a different team that the one that limped through their five game slump. They had a better jump in their stride, a more confident look in their play. The Caps knew they needed to put a good 60 minutes together and they got it done. There was a killer instinct about the Capitals. Not an instinct to fall into a defensive shell, which they could have easily done in the third period up 4-1.
Caps face the Thrashers Saturday night, and look to get some divisional points to keep their nose in the mix of teams positioning for the post season. Caps need to come out shooting and play physical. Or they might as well not show up.