Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Perfect Road Game

Capitals 4, Bruins 1
Scoresheet - Post - Times

Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals played their season opening game against the Boston Bruins and things went just about text book. The Capitals got goal production from the power play, killed all of their penalties, got a pair of goals from Ovechkin. All in all a good road game for the Capitals as they beat last year's number one team in the East 4-1.

Ovi had a great start to the season netting a pair of goals. His first goal was off of a bad line change by the Boston Bruins and Ovi was the late man in. He beat Tim Thomas with a wrister 5 hole. His second goal was off a feed from Tom Poti who had carried the puck from his own goal line. Poti just sent the puck toward a breaking Ovi in the slot who had Milan Lucic all over his stick. But he over powered Lucic and sneaked the puck past Thomas to put get the game's fourth goal.

Ovechkin was one of three players who had a three point night. Brooks Laich scored a pair of goals on the power play, one off of a great set up pass by Nick Backstrom and the other when Thomas failed to cover the puck on a Backstrom shot as well getting an assist on Ovi's second goal. Backstrom himself finished with three assists.

Alex Semin had a pair of assists while Poti had an assist as well.

The Capitals' special teams did its job. The power play was a dangerous aspect of the Caps game as they were 2 for 4 with the extra man. The penalty kill took care of all 5 of the Bruins power plays and only allowed one Boston shot on net.

But what impressed more than anything was the Capitals ability to come into a team's building on their home opener and steal a game away. The Caps were able to nullify the Bruins' aggressive forecheck with quick passes up the boards. Boston certainly could have used some more speed against their foes, maybe the missing piece was traded to Toronto.

The Caps were also solid on defense. They only allowed Boston seven shots in the second period and only three shots in the third period. Only when David Steckel lost control of the puck sending Patrice Bergeron on a break away. He beat Jose Theodore with a great deke. For the most part, the Caps defense did a great job of stepping into the Bruins' shots. Those that did get through to Theo were stopped.

There wasn't much need of an enforcer, but John Erskine went to fisticuffs with Shawn Thornton anyway. I was surprise that Thornton didn't get an instigator penalty after he clearly dropped the gloves before Erskine did. The Bruins did get burned after Ovechkin cleanly hit Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chara cross checked Ovi in response. The Caps didn't take long to score on the ensuing power play proving that the Caps would rather score on any retaliation penalty rather than just have a fighter out there to protect.

There is not too much to complain about as the Caps first game. It was a good road game win. For all the drama of Micheal Nylander and Chris Bourque being claimed on waivers by a rival, the Caps put all the off ice problems behind them to get the win they needed against a very good defensive team in Boston.

The Caps come home to face Toronto Saturday night at the Verizon Center. They will face a grittier and tougher team in the Maple Leafs who nearly won their home opener against Montreal before they fell to the Habs 4-3.

Puckhead's Player of the Game is Alex Ovechkin who started off much like he left off from last season. He was also the game's number one star. He is well on his way to defending his title league's most valuable player.

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