Tuesday, March 05, 2013

All's Fehr In Overtime

Capitals 4, Bruins 3 OT
Game Summary - Event Summary

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The Washington Capitals rallied from 3-0 to over come the Boston Bruins with a highlight reel goal by Eric Fehr in overtime to win 4-3.

The Capitals got contributions from a wide swath of players tonight. Mike Ribeiro, Tomas Kundratek, Wojtek Wolski and Fehr all scored for the Capitals. Recently signed and called up Steve Oleksy got his first career NHL point on an assist and Kundratek scored his first NHL career goal. Fehr's game winner capped off a three point night for the winger with the goal and two assists. He was also the only Cap with a +3.

It was looking a lot like the Capitals were set up for another disappointing outing, even though they were playing solid through most of the first period. On the Capitals' first power play opportunity, Brad Marchand broke up the play near the blue line and John Carlson blew a tire on the skate back. Alex Ovechkin had no choice but to hook the speedy forward drawing the penalty shot for Marchand. The Bruins would go up 1-0 on his penalty shot goal. Things then broke down for the Caps late in the first when Zdeno Chara picked up his own rebound to make it 2-0, and Ovechkin again was penalized and Dougie Hamilton scored on the ensuing power play.

Down 3-0, the Capitals entered the second period sticking to their game plan. They were solid five on five play and Braden Holtby came up with the next 24 saves combined in the last two periods. The Bruins cracked when a point shot by Oleksy was knocked down by Ovechkin who made a sparkling pass to a wide open Ribeiro at the side of the net. Nearly five minutes later, the Caps cut the lead to only one goal off of a nice face off win by Nick Backstrom to Fehr who dropped it to Kundratek. The Caps' rookie defenseman shot it and it glanced off of a Bruin and past Tuukka Rask. The Caps would tie it in the third period when Fehr chipped passed the puck on a fast break and the puck trickled through Hamilton to a waiting Wolski. He slid the puck under Rask for his first goal since Feburary.

Adam Oates must have been feeling the good mojo from Fehr and Backstrom because he started the pair in the overtime period. Just 37 seconds into the extra period, the Caps would complete the comeback with a spectacular highlight reel goal by Fehr. The entire four man unit broke the puck out of the zone with some good passing and good speed through the neutral zone. Backstrom saw Fehr streaking into the zone and head manned the puck near the Bruins' blue line. Fehr split the defensemen who both closed in on him and as he fell he chipped the puck up over Rask's left shoulder, squeaking the game winner just past the leaning goaltender. Two big points for the Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin didn't score, he had a beauty of an assist on Ribeiro's goal, but he was certainly a factor in the game. Not once did he crash the net, but three times Ovechkin knocked the goal from its pegs. The aggressive move seemed to spark the rest of the team. Backstrom had three assists by playing a very controlled game. Something we have not seen from him in some time. 

Quietly, the Capitals have strung together a nice little winning stretch here with 7 W's in their last ten games. The Caps still need to play the division tough as they will take on rivals Florida Panthers Thursday night.

Caps Notes:
  • The Capitals have outscored their opponents 9-0 in the third period in their last five games.
  • This is the second time in Fehr's career he has had a three point game, the first was against Boston on March 3rd 2008 where he had 3 assists.
  • The Bruins were 9-0 after scoring first and 9-0 when leading after the first period this season. The Caps tarnished that perfect stat tonight.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Recipe For Road Win

Capitals 3, Jets 0
Game Summary - Event Summary

It was a perfect road game for the Washington Capitals. A recipe fit for some tasty win against a bitter divisional rival who leads them in the standings. A shut out by Braden Holtby helped the boys in white to a win over the Winnipeg Jets 3-0.

First part of the recipe for the Capitals is to cool a hot Winnipeg Jets. A team that has done well at MTS Centre, the Jets have found success by scoring early. The Caps would have to put water on a team that loves to score early in their home sweaters. That was done with Holtby turning aside 15 shots while the Capitals could only muster 5 of their own. But getting to the first intermission tied at 0-0 was a small victory unto itself for the Caps.

Second, break the hostility tension with a good fight. New comer Aaron Volpatti added that break with a fight with a bigger Anthony Peluso. Although Peluso seemed to have won the bout, the Capitals seemed to play better. Peluso would also leave the game after the fight with an "upper body injury" and would not return.

Add some timely scoring. After the Capitals worked back the momentum from the streaking Jets, it would be a goal by Matt Hendricks that would break the stalemate in the second period. Started by a heavy shot by John Erskine who took out Jets' forward Blake Wheeler. Since the Caps retained possession of the puck, Erskine faked the second slapper and passed it to Mike Ribeiro on the opposite side of the ice. Ribeiro snap passed it to Hendricks in front of the net. Hendricks scored his fourth goal of the season.

That opened the play up for the Capitals, but some fantastic saves by Ondrej Pavelec including a glove save on a certain goal shot by Jason Chimera. The Jets gained some momentum from those saves and Holtby would answer every shot that came his way. He would get his sixth shutout of his career, his third of the season. Holtby was solid in net, calm and cool with every save. Credit his team in front of him keeping a slew of those shots to the outside and clearing the slot so Holtby could see those outside shots.

Add some insurance goals by Troy Brouwer (his ninth of the season) and Mike Ribeiro cleaning up an Alex Ovechkin shot for his seventh goal of the season. With the Jets trying to get back into the game, things opened up in the third for the Capitals and they took advantage.

The Caps were able to kill off all the penalties they took. Their first minor came in the waning minutes of the second period. The Jets would go 0-3 on the power play, the Caps would also go with out a power play goal on the afternoon.

Mix well and you have the perfect recipe for a win on the road. A big win for the Capitals who are looking to climb up the Southeast Division standings ladder. As long as the Caps are able to play their division tough, it should help them to make the playoffs. Mike Green was scratched with a "lower body injury" or groin injury for the rest of us. Wotjek Wolski was a healthy scratch.

Caps Notes:
  • Holtby would finish by turning away all 35 shots against him for his career sixth shutout, his second in three games. 
  • The Capitals were out shot (35-21) and out hit (32-13) by the Jets. 
  • Troy Brouwer scored his 9th goal of the season that now puts him in the scoring lead for the Capitals this season.