Scoresheet - Wash Post - Ott Cit
The Caps were just setting up the Ottawa Senators. They lost those games just to get the Senators right where they want them. They wanted the expectation level so low, that when they visited Scotiabank Place they would catch everyone off guard. Or the Caps were just due for a big win.
Viktor Kozlov had a huge night with a goal and two assists. When Kozlov scores the Caps win, apparently. Nick Backstrom finally got a goal, his NHL first off a Kozlov assist. Tomas Fleischmann snapped a pretty wrister past Ray Emery and Alex Ovechkin finished the scoring putting the Ottawa Senators away in the third. I even got the wife to start the cheer "Beat the traffic - beat, beat the traffic" to the 19,666 Senator faithful heading to the exits after Ovie's goal. What a great game!
The Capitals simply outworked the Senators in the pivotal second period. And when Kozlov outworked his defender off the side boards to score, the Caps could smell the blood in the water. Last season the Caps would lay off a little after the first goal. It has been a significant improvement to say the least. The Caps penalty kill was also spectacular. And the fact that the Capitals could kill off a 5 on 3 then turn the offense on was something Caps fans have been waiting almost 2 years to see happen.
While my poll may say different, Olie Kolzig finally showed that spark that we all know and love. He played one of the best games thus far. He challenged shots, read the plays beautifully and recovered better. He was worthy of the number one star but settled for the second. Kozlov took top honors. And talk of firing Glen Hanlon should lessen a little, thankfully.
Caps face the Lightning at the phone booth Saturday. Their work ethic must still be as potent as it was against the Senators. If not, it will be another 4 games for the next win.
Update: Allen Panzeri from the Ottawa Citizen wrote the following:
The Washington Capitals aren't going to win the Stanley Cup this year.
The Ottawa Senators might.
It was tough to tell them apart on Thursday night.