Capitals 3, Hurricanes 2
Perhaps it was the break for Christmas, but both teams had sloppy starts the day after the December 25th holiday. But the Washington Capitals got the lucky bounces and they edge the Carolina Hurricanes for their fourth straight win against the Hurricanes and an important two points in a much tougher division. The 3-2 win would also end a long scoreless drought for Alex Ovechkin.
The Caps had to rely on a bit of luck to win tonight. Mathieu Perreault would open the scoring on a pretty "no look" pass from Alex Semin to the front of the net. The lucky pass would avoid the poke-checking sticks of Cam Ward and Eric Staal and Perreault got his stick on the pass and tipped it passed the 'Cane goaltender.
David Steckel would benefit from an Ovechkin misstep with the puck as he tried to deke around the defender. The puck went through Ovi legs and luckily to an open Steckel who scored the goal. Even Ovechkin's big goal was due to a bit of luck as the point shot from Mike Green hit traffic in front to a wide open Ovechkin crashing the net. It would break a goal drought of 8 games and only 2 goals in the past 19 starts.
While the Caps take home a win, they do take some damage as Tim Gleason ran Perreault into the boards. MP85 would leave the game with broken nose. Gleason was given a five minute major and was ejected from the game. The loss of the defenseman seemed to blow the wind out of the sails for the 'Canes.
The Caps did have a 3-1 lead in the second intermission but allowed an early third period goal just :30 seconds in. The goal gave the Hurricanes some life and the Caps were constantly on their heels through out the final frame. Their defense would bend, but not break as they killed two big penalties. Even a few misses in the final minute with Ward pulled, the Caps would hold on to their one goal lead and go on to win the game.
Injuries seem to hinder the team's defensive core. Tom Poti missed the game after taking a stick to the face in the Penguin game from his own teammate. Jeff Schultz remains out with a broken hand. The core is beginning to thin.
Power play woes continue for the Caps as they failed to take advantage of three minutes of a five minute major late in the first period. Not that they would have a lot of chances, but they were 0 for 2 with the extra man.
The two points takes points away from the Hurricanes, but the Tampa Bay Lightning stay hot as they down the Thrashers in overtime to stay tied with the Capitals in the Southeast. The Caps have two very tough games ahead, and it is important that the Caps come away with 4 points in those next two games. They can't overlook the Montreal Canadiens as they come to the phone booth on Tuesday night.