Saturday, January 31, 2009

Caps Beat Defending Stanley Cup Champs

Capitals 4, Red Wings 2
Scoresheet - Wash Post

The Verizon Center hasn't been a house of horrors for the Detroit Red Wings or their fans. Anytime the Wings would be in town, the building seems always split in two. Red Wings fans even out numbered Caps fans for the last couple of years when the Wings were in town. And the Wings had no problems winning in the nation's capital with their last loss in DC was in 2000. That changed today as the Capitals keep their winning ways at home beating the Wings 4-2.

Alex Ovechkin, the game's first star, came up with two very big goals including the game winner. Mike Green also grabbed a goal and Viktor Kozlov scored after a Milan Jurcina shot ricocheted off his leg and past Ty Conklin. Jose Theodore snared 25 shots for his 18th win of the season.

The first two periods were tense filled chess battles that saw the Caps sometimes smothered in the Red Wing trap. The second period was not the Capitals' best as the Red Wings seemed to keep the Caps deep in their defensive zone. Both teams were able to answer goals scored against them.

Eric Fehr had better chances than most through the first two periods. Fehr matched Ovechkin in shots getting at least three golden opportunities in front of the net to score. He didn't score and Ty Conklin did make a couple of huge saves on Fehr. But Eric Fehr needs to start burying those goals.

In the third, Alex Ovechkin turned it up a notch. He even let Conklin know.

"I tell Conklin," Ovechkin told reporters after the game, "'It's coming, it's coming - and it's coming in the third period.'"

His game winning goal came off an errant pass from Kozlov, but Ovi wrangled it in from behind him, through his legs and got the puck from his back hand to his forehand sneaking the shot just under Conklin's glove for the tally. The goal broke a stalemate between the two teams.

The Caps got into a little penalty trouble late, although Tom Poti's late delay of game penalty was perplexing because the puck clearly hit a Winger stick. The Caps had to kill off a 5 on 3 in the final seconds and a lucky ring off the post they were able to keep Red Wings at bay to get their 31st win of the season.

The next game is another 12:30 pm start against Ottawa here at Verizon Center. The Caps have fallen to third in the Eastern Conference off of some bit wins by the New Jersey Devils who are making a late season push themselves. Boston also won their afternoon game to keep a 12 point lead for first in the East. The Caps have to walk a fine line of winning without wearing themselves out if they want to catch the Bruins.

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