Saturday, February 23, 2013

Afternoon Delight

Capitals 5, Devils 1
Game Summary - Event Summary

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Very rarely do you get a do-over. But the Washington Capitals had that chance with a second game in three nights against the same team at the same place. A second home game versus the New Jersey Devils proved to be the antidote to what's ailing the Capitals. The lose the season series with the Devils but go out with a bang beating them 5-1.

Alex Ovechkin scored his first hat trick since Jan. 22 2011. It is his 11th hatty of his career and is 71st multi-goal game being a Capital. He would have four points on the afternoon adding an assist on the fifth goal scored by Troy Brouwer. Eric Fehr has the Caps' first shorthanded goal of the season as he broke in on Johan Hedberg behind the net and wrapped around the net to score.

Here are just a few thoughts on the game:

- Ovechkin continues his shark play. His attack is better measured and he gave the NHL a different look on the break out that led directly to a goal. I diagrammed it here "A Different Look". He was dynamic in the last game against the Devils but the late parade to the penalty box late prevented him from being much of a factor. This afternoon he had better luck.

- Braden Holtby continues his stellar play. He has seemed to settle down into his game. With just a one goal lead, the Caps were penalized again when Tom Poti took a hooking call on a breaking Steve Bernier. Bernier was awarded a penalty shot and Holtby stood tall making the stop. Ilya Kovalchuk would score late in the second period, but if Holtby didn't stop the PS, the Caps would have been down 2-1 going into the second intermission. Holtby has given his team a chance to win in the last five starts or so.

- The only line change from Thursday night was switching Wotjek Wolski with Eric Fehr. The change seemed offer a few chances for Wolski who missed a wide open net in the first period. The change was a plus for both wingers who seemed to improve or keep both lines' forcheck effective.

- Nick Backstrom is close, but is still scoreless in his last nine games. He does have seven assists in that stretch but his offensive numbers have been sluggish. Hopefully that stat turns around with better success the Caps have had 5 on 5 of late.

- The Caps' PK was flawless this afternoon. They were able to kill off all three minor penalties and Holtby's heroic save on the penalty shot kept the Devils off the scoresheet a man down.

- While the PK did it's job, the power play is not the hottest in the league. The extra man went 2 for 3 against a historically pretty good PK in the Devils. After some tough times early on, the Caps now have the second best power play in the league, trailing only the St. Louis Blues.

Caps Notes:
  • The Capitals scored the first goal in their seventh consecutive game. They had a streak of nine games where they had the first tally of the game back in October/November of 2009.
  • Brouwer, who scored the "Free Wings" goal, has eighth goal of the season and has seven points in his last six games (5g 2a).
  • Mike Ribeiro continues to be a factor on the ice for the Capitals. He had two assists for his seventh multipoint game of the season. Re-sign the kid.

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