Well the Caps did it again, another two (2) point night. In a goalies duel and nail biter, the Caps prevailed. Brent Johnson played an awesome game stopping 28 of 29 shots (save percentage 0.966) including a penalty shot by Rangers star Chris Drury. The Caps scored the first two goals of the night by following up and getting traffic in front of the net and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. First at the 9:14 mark of the first period the Caps tallied on a relatively bizarre power play goal. Brooks Laich scored his 3rd goal of the season when Alexander Semin took a shot from the right circle that bounced off goalie Henrik Lundqvist, hit the back glass and came back toward the net. The puck ricocheted off the crossbar and struck Lundqvist on the top of the mask before Laich tapped it in midair into the net. "After further review" it was determined that Laich's tip-in wasn't a high stick and the goal stood. Later at the 17:06 mark, Tom Poti's first goal of the season was also the result of solid follow-up and traffic in front of Lundqvist. Boyd Gordon skated down the left side toward the net, where his shot was stopped by Lundqvist. Poti skated in from the right side with sold follow-up and was in position to stuff in the rebound. Once again, "after further review" (New York tried to argue the net was knocked off its moorings during Gordon's rush) the goal was upheld.
Ranger's all-star goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, was stingy for the rest of the game and didn't allow another Capital goal, he finished with 25 saves on 27 shots (a save percentage of 0.926.) The only Ranger goal came on the power play at 6:27 of the third period when Aaron Voros got a wrist shot by Brent Johnson. This goal was also "old time hockey" - in heavy traffic in front of the net.
Perhaps the biggest, most exciting moment of the game came with 10:35 left in the third stanza, when New York captain Chris Drury was awarded a penalty shot. But as Drury was about to take a backhander, Brent Johnson slid to his right and poke checked the puck away from him preserving the Caps one goal lead. The final burst of excitement for the night, was provided when at the 17:45 mark Alexander Semin was called for tripping. At the time of the call, most of us watching probably thought it was merely just a simple bad call for slashing against Semin, however, it was an even worse/horrible call for tripping, since no one tripped and Semin's stick never touched anything but the Ranger players stick. The Caps penalty killing unit and Brent Johnson were very solid holding the Rangers at bay even when they pulled Lundqvist 19:13 opting for the 6-4, 2 man advantage. After exiting the penalty box Semin, intent on redeeming himself, got the puck at the 19:54 mark, deep in the Caps end, and rocketed a slapshot the length of the ice, dead center into the empty net, for the insurance goal; his 11th of the season.
The three stars of the game were: 1) Brent Johnson, 2) Henrik Lundqvist, 3) Boyd Gordon. Other notable good perfromances by Captials were turned in by: Tom Poti; Tomas Fleischmann, Tyler Sloan, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jeff Schultz, David Steckel, Donald Brashear, and Brooks Laich. Michael Nylander had a "light night", only 14 shifts and 12:52 of TOI but he won 7 of 9 faceoffs. No words on any blogs indicating any injury problem but we'll be watching the "wires". Sloan recalled to Washington from Hershey for his fifth (5th) NHL game, turned in another solid performance: 24 shifts, 16:49 TOI, had one (1) shot on goal, and two (2) takeaways, and was +1 on the night. Semin had a two point night - the empty net goal and an assist and was +1. Tom Poti and Boyd Gordon were both +2. Alexander Ovechkin led the Caps in Hits for the second game in a row with 4 and had 3 shots on goal, and though he failed to score for the ninth (9th) straight game, he was a factor in the game. John Erskine had perhaps his best game of the year so far, logging 17:40 of TOI on 19 shifts, 2 shots on goal, 2 hits and 2 blocked shots. Once again tonight, the Caps played disciplined hockey and had fewer penalties then their opponent for the second straight game.
Next up - Olie Kolzig and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Monday evening at "the phone booth", I'll be there watching in section 103, Rockin' the Red, with one of my USMMA Class of 1982 College Buddies, Rob. I can't wait, this season just keeps getting better and better.
LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!