Beninati: Better late than never

Beninati: Better late than never
January 17, 2011, 6:05 am
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Monday, January 17, 2011 12:15 a.m.


By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-by-Play

Please accept my apologies for getting this report to a bit late. I had to make a mad dash for the airport to fly to Dallas, where I have the Kings and Stars tomorrow night on Versus.

I wasnt the only one who was late todaythe Caps took their time before dispatching the Senators, but thankfully they sent everyone home happy.

Fans, players, and coaches alike were shaking their heads early in the game. With all the jargon about the team needing a fast start, the last thing they wanted to see was Mike Fisher stabbing in a loose rebound just 72 seconds into the game.

Fisher, Nick Foligno, and Ryan Shannon may have been the most dependable of Head Coach Cory Cloustons line combinations. They produced a number of spirited shifts during the game that kept Michael Neuvirth hopping in the Caps goal.

Neuvirths flexibility was in full display throughout the game. Not half-bad for a guy whos been dealing with a minor groin muscle twinge. He went to the splits in explosive fashion a bunch of times and kept his team within striking distance.

The Czech rookie made the save of the game in the second period. Just when it looked like Ottawa defender Filip Kuba was going to have an easy lay-up, Neuvirth came lunging across the crease to make an acrobatic blocker-pad save.

Bruce Boudreaus team had a tough time generating much in the way of an offensive attack at the other end through 40 minutes. Whenever they did break through, goalie Brian Elliott had their numberuntil period three.

Rarely will you see veterans Chris Phillips and Daniel Alfredsson make an unwise decision in their defensive zone, but both of them had to be irritated with the goal they gift-wrapped for Brooks Laich. Phillips hurriedly made a pass from the back-boards that appeared to catch Alfredsson unsuspecting. The puck went straight to Laich 15 feet in front of Elliott and the Caps winger buried his chance.

Soon after, Washington was afforded a power-play, which has been a sore spot for them to say the least in the last month. Just 45 seconds after Laich had tied the score, Nicklas Backstrom won the offensive zone draw directly to John Carlson, who blasted home a vicious slapshot.

Jason Chimera made sure the good vibrations would continue throughout Verizon Center by banking a severe angle shot off of Elliotts shoulder and into the net. Jason knew what he was doing the whole time, and received exactly the friendly bounce for which he was hoping.

That was a big comeback victory. It has extra meaning when you consider all the road work that lies ahead for the Capitals.

So it should be a whole lot of fun up I-95 in Philly Tuesday; please dont miss it on CSN!