Monday, October 11, 2010

Caps Edge Sens In OT

Capitals 3, Senators 2 OT
Game Summary

It wasn't the prettiest game the Capitals have put together. A struggling power play, some bad turn overs leading to goals and a couple penalties to boot, the Caps found away to take the Ottawa Senators into overtime. Alex Ovechkin would net the winner with just 31.1 seconds left in the overtime frame, giving the Capitals two points and win.

It was a relatively quiet game for Ovechkin. He had been tagged with two penalties in regulation. One a cross check to Daniel Alfredsson who was already off balance. The second was a clear dive by Jarkko Ruutu that saw Ovechkin go off for interference. It had seemed the Senators had kept the Capitals' captain in check. But in overtime, with extra space on the ice and time winding down, an innocent skate up the rink led to a game winner. His faked pulling the puck inside before shooting it outside. The momentary fake opened Pascal Leclaire up and the shot slipped in five-hole.

"I played a minute (into my shift) already," Ovechkin said. "I was kind of tired so I just want to shoot the puck and go change. A lucky goal and a good win."

Also scoring for the Caps, Alex Semin gets on the board for the season. Brooks Laich chased the puck into the corner and dug out the puck to the open Semin on the other side of the net. Semin made no mistake putting the puck top shelf.

Eric Fehr would score after doing double duty after Matt Bradley left due to an undisclosed injury. Fehr stepped into the fourth line and Matt Hendricks found him from behind the net. Fehr just had to tap it into the net.

"I just saw the big one-six going hard to the net, yelling and screaming like a big freight train," Hendricks said of the play and his assist. "I tried sliding it out there and fortunately he got on his stick and he did the rest."

Fehr earned the game's number one star with a goal and an assist on the night.

The player of the night, however, was goaltender Michal Neuvirth. The rookie stayed calm and collected in the net. The two goals scored against him came from bad turnovers by his team. He is looking more and more like the goaltender the Caps need.

"(Neuvirth) keeps getting better every game," Bruce Boudreau said. "That is a good sign for a young goaltender."

Neuvirth made a slew of third period saves to force overtime and even calmly iced the puck just before Ovi's game winner. At the moment, Neuvy is making it very hard for Semyon Varlamov who also is trying to be the Caps number one goaltender. Neuvirth was also robbed of a game star, even though he stopped 29 of 31 shots.

While the overtime winner was a thriller, it didn't even need to get to that point if the Caps' power play could convert on any of their 5 chances tonight. Their passes were not crisp, there was little to no movement and the play seemed forced and predictable. Even with tweaking the lines, the Caps could find little success after the set up in the zone. Even with back to back Ottawa penalties, the Caps just couldn't get any momentum going.

"The powerplay will get better," Boudreau promised. "It just seems to be out of sync a little bit and when we get chances we are not burying them."

On the flip side, the Capitals' penalty kill was pretty solid. They killed off five Ottawa chances tonight. Washington is one of six teams that has not allowed a power play goal this season (the only team that is 100% on the PK and three games under their belt). That is due, in part to the Caps rookie goaltender Neuvirth who stopped all 6 shots on the Ottawa power play.

The Caps did lose a couple players due to injury in this tilt. Tom Poti, who skated warm up, did not show up on the roster come game time. He was a game time scratch and is listed day-to-day with a lower body injury. Matt Bradley only played three shifts before he retreated into the locker room. Bradley is also listed day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Caps Notes:
  • Next Capitals game is versus the Islanders on Wednesday night (Oct. 13).
  • Mike Green's 31:53 of ice time was more than he had in all but one game last year. He led both teams in power play minutes (8:37) and penalty kill minutes (5:42).
  • The Capitals keep their sell-out streak alive, official tally for tonight's game is 18,398.

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