Capitals 3, Bruins 1
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Globe
The Capitals had bad news, good news before the game against Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins. Bad news, Tomas Fleischmann would sit out this game with an injury and Oskar Osala got his number called up. Good news (and it was very good news), Tom Poti and Alex Semin were back in the line up. The Caps used it to their advantage as they beat out the Bruins 3-1.
Alexandre Giroux scored the game winner in the second. He could have had two goals when he was awarded a penalty shot but he missed just wide. Nick Backstrom's deflection opened the scoring in the first. It actually quelled any concerns early as the Caps got off on the wrong foot taking a penalty before the game was a minute old. Alex Ovechkin finished with an empty netter goal and an assist.
In a very tight checking game, the Caps held their own. Having Tom Poti back on the blue line was a welcomed sight. He played solid even getting an assist on the game winning goal. In fact a lot of this win was due to a great defensive effort.
Milan Jurcina had one of his better games. When a Boston shot from the point went wide of the net and bounced off the boards on the other side, Jurcina was there to knock over a Boston player that was looking at a wide open net. It was the defensive play that saved the game for the Caps.
Karl Alzner played one of his best games too. In fact he looked very much like a veteran out there, boxing players out, finding the open man and just making good decisions with the puck. Sean Collins has also played very well and nearly had a goal in the first following Backstrom deep in the offensive zone.
Brent Johnson played an inspired game. Even when it looked like the Caps' goaltender was injured, Johnny played through it and came up with some great saves. He was much better about his rebounds, although he still needs to control them better.
Whenever the Caps broke down though, Johnny was there. The only Boston goal was off a bad dump and a bad change late in the second. It ended up being a two on one with Phil Kessel feeding Milan Lucic a dynamite pass and Lucic buried it, Johnson didn't have a chance.
Call-up Oskar Osala played okay, but looked a bit lost at times. There were more than one occasion where he seemed to be on top of one of his linemates as if they were playing the same position. Most of that comes with spending time with your linemates.
Semin's return was okay too, nothing really special. He looks just a step off as one would assume after sitting out for a while. I am sure with a couple more games he will be able to shake off the rust.
Ovehkin's battling with Zdeno Chara was another one of those epic battles that I say ended up in a draw between the two. Chara plays with a lot of confidence against Ovi, and Ovi seems to welcome the challenge. The two were fun to watch all game long.
The Caps sent Bryan Helmer and Keith Aucoin back down. They decided they needed some size against the Bruins. It payed off as the bigger players seemed to cancel out the Bruins big bad guys up front. The Caps have some time to rest up for back to back games against Ottawa at home and then at Montreal Friday and Saturday nights. This is definitely a game the Capitals can build on going forward. As more players return from the infermary, the better this team will be.
Highlights by NHL.com:
Photo AP, Lawrence Jackson: Washington Capitals' Alexandre Giroux, left, celebrates his goal against Boston Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez (35) in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008. The Capitals won 3-1.