Saturday, December 26, 2009

Caps 4 - Devils 1; A Two Point Night That Ends With The Caps Once Again Atop the NHL Standings

Lots of good news for Caps fans today in the vein of taking care of first things first. Before tonight's game the Caps signed a contract extension with Alexander Semin, tying up the 25 year old, 6th year pro to the Capitals organization for another year. Then the Caps came out and played a great game for sixty minutes to down the New Jersey Devils 4 -1 in regulation and capture two more standings points. Now that's a pretty good day by any measure.

Readers here know I've been a proponent for resigning Alexander Semin for some time. Semin reportedly signed a 1 year extension for six million. That's a pretty good deal for both he and the Capitals and it should leave more than enough room to also enable the Capitals to now turn their attention to signing an extension with Nicklas Backstrom, - how's that for focusing on taking things one step at a time. Speaking of Semin, Backstrom and the last link in the SOB line, Alexander Ovechkin, they had a pretty dandy night tonight. Ovechkin started off the scoring at 4:09 of the first period with a laser that he put past Martin Brodeur. a goal that was assisted by Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom scored the Capitals third goal of the evening at 9:52 of the second period assisted by Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin. A strong shift by the Capitals ended with Ovechkin shoveling the puck to the end boards, where Alex Semin chipped it in front to an unguarded Backstrom. Backstrom stickhandled before putting a backhand shot over Brodeur's catching glove for his 15th goal of the season; it was the only goal of the second, and restored Washington's two-goal lead.

Later in the third period Ovechkin and Backstrom each got their third points of the night when they assisted on the fourth and final goal of the evening. The "SOB's" had 7 points and were a combined +9 against the best defensive team in the NHL tonight. Ovechkin had a goal and two assists and was +3. Backstrom a goal and two assists, and went +3. Semin had an assist and was +3 for the evening as well.

The other goals scored by the Caps were potted by Matt Bradley and Mike Green. Bradley scored on a breakaway where his shot was deflected up off of Mike Mottau's stick and then up over Martin Brodeur's left shoulder into the net at 13:54 of the first period. Green's tally came eight seconds after the Devils had killed off Andy Greene's hooking minor just 39 seconds into the third period, when Ovechkin set up Green's eighth of the year. Ovechkin found Green breaking in from the right point for a shot that beat Brodeur's catching glove.

In between Bradley and Backstrom's goals, the Devils cut the the Caps lead in half on Rod Pelley's marker late in the first period. However after that it was basically "All Caps". Overall the Capitals played a solid game top to bottom of the roster though some special mention is probably due Michael Neuvirth who stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced for a 0.967 SV%, as well as Karl Alzner and John Erskine who both had good evenings tonight Tom Poti and Brian Pothier were both out tonight.

Next up the Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center on Monday.


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