On the front side of a home-and-home set with the Devils, the Capitals had to go the extra mile for a victory. After spotting the home team a 1-0 lead, Washington rallied with three unanswered goals for the win, and created a few more questions in the process.
One question concerns Mike Green, who returned from injury tonight after missing three weeks with an ankle problem. We witnessed several instances where he could have aggravated the old injury or suffered a new one.
Questions two and three would address wingers Cody Eakin and Alex Semin, both of whom had their ice-time cut significantly by Coach Bruce Boudreau. I am sure that CSNWashington.com will have follow-up from the coach on why he chose to play basically 10 forwards for a large chunk of the hockey game. Come to think of it, the Devils barely played Brad Mills, Vladimir Zharkov, and Cam Janssen so, in essence, they only played nine forwards.
The logical guess on Semin sitting on the bench would stem from a sub-par performance in the first period, plus another offensive zone penalty he committed in the opening frame, the kind that have irritated coaches and teammates in the past and during this season.
The Devils appear to have a keeper in 19 year old defender Adam Larsson, who ripped his first NHL goal in the first period by the catching glove of Tomas Vokoun. Larsson gets a ton of ice-time from Coach Peter DeBoer and shows poise well beyond his years.
Vokoun was perfect after that, steadying himself nicely after his last outing on Long Island in which his play was spotty. Michal Neuvirth has been very good against the Devils in his young career (unbeaten with a .970 save ), and well see which way Boudreau goes in goal for the back-end of the double-header Saturday at Verizon Center.
Alex Ovechkin helped kick-start the comeback tonight. He popped in a rebound from close range past Martin Brodeur that turned the tide. Alex threw a number of crunching hits tonight (one that crushed Larsson) and was in the right place at the right time to tie the score at 1-1.
Jason Chimera made the play of the night while the Caps were shorthanded in the third period. He demonstrated speed, power, and stickhandling ability to finish off a brilliant deke to the forehand on Brodeur. I must admit that Jason and I were ribbing each other this afternoon (playfully I would say, but he may have felt otherwise). After he gave me a verbal jab, I reminded him that it would be a good time for him to score a goal on the road. He was miffed at me for the rest of the day (with Mike Knuble pouring just enough salt in the wound to get 25 even more angry with me) Well, Jason responded when it counted tonight ,and I want to take credit for firing him up! But I had better lay low, or else I could be in big trouble.
Marcus Johansson capped the scoring with a backhander in period three to make it 3-1.
The Caps won the special teams battle and were gritty enough at even strength to claim the victory. It wasnt the prettiest game youll ever see. But it stopped a mini losing skid at two.
It will be interesting to see how the messages that were sent this evening will be received for the rematch. Stay connected to CSN for news on Green. Keep your fingers crossed.
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