Capitals 5, Hurricanes 1
Scoresheet - Wash Post - News Ob
For anyone who was worried about Alex Ovechkin's lack of scoring, tonight's game should quell some of those concerns. As well as concerns about Nick Backstrom's lack of scoring considering the second year forward has 6 points in the last 3 games. Ovechkin opened the scoring for the Washington Capitals and Backstrom put the nail in the coffin as they dominate the Carolina Hurricanes in a divisional game for first in the Southeast.
Both teams came into this contest tied in points, and one would think that this game would be a battle royal of sorts. But the Caps, who seem to play better with something on the line, kept the 'Canes on their heels for most of the night. Ovi started the scoring, and that was followed up by a couple of tallies by Alex Semin who took the lead as top scorer in the league (with goals 12 and 13). Mike Green and Nick Backstrom (his first of the season) both added to the scoring to make it a nice rounded number at five goals.
The five who scored where the only point getters on the night as well, Semin finished with 5 points, Backstrom had 4 points, Ovi with 3 points, and Green with a goal and assist for 2. In all, these five players accounted for all 14 points the Caps scored tonight. In a game when you would think that the 'Canes would start Cam Ward in net, back up Michael Leighton was a bit shelled shocked after a 3 goal opening period by the Caps.
Brad Johnson looked smooth in net, before he was injured at the end of the first period. However the Caps were moving right along with Jose Theodore filling in. Johnson looked as if he over stretched on a pad save (groin possible), but was back in the backup goalie seat for the third. So I don't think it's too serious. Thoedore came in relief and played solid making 13 stops.
The big story here really is the Caps penalty kill. Only allowing the single 'Canes tally was sort a fluke off the boards caught Johnny off gaurd. Other than that, the kill did it's job even killing off a minute and eighteen of a 5 on 3. The power play did an okay job at 1 of 5 chances. But I see promise there as the Caps seem to be able to move the puck with much more authority and quickness. As their confidence continues to grow, so too will the power play's danger.
This is just one game, even though the build up was the two top teams in the Southeast Division walk into this one tied in points. The Capitals stretch a win streak to four games. While it's nice to celebrate this one, the Caps have little time to enjoy the top seat in the division as they are on a plane back to DC for a home and home with New Jersey.
Highlights courtesy of NHL.com: