Beninati: Green Light, Red Light

Beninati: Green Light, Red Light
November 8, 2010, 6:10 am
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Monday, November 8, 2010 12:52 a.m.

By Joe Beninati


The frequency of all these overtime games is alarming, but I am not complaining about the results. Mike Green lived up to his Game Over nickname with a vicious slapshot just 29 seconds into the extra session to propel Washington to a 3-2 win over the rival Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. The Caps are now 5-0 in games settled in the overtime period this fall, and strangely enough have never lost an overtime decision to the Flyers at home. Not in Landover and not in wins, no losses, and six ties, remember those?

The Caps were afforded a four-minute power-play late in regulation when Chris Pronger was saddled with a double minor for high-sticking. That time would spill over into the OT and was coupled with a Sean O'Donnell penalty for boarding late in the third. The 5-on-3 would last for just five seconds in overtime, but shortly after Pronger was set free, Green laced a shot past a screened Sergei Bobrovsky which brought the curtain down on a good game. It wasnt the usual Caps-Flyers barnburner, but it was pretty entertaining.

Lets start with the young goalies in the match-up. Id give thumbs up to both Bobrovsky and Braden Holtby. The Caps 21-year-old netminder was solid throughout. His idol was Patrick Roy, and it was cool to see Braden display eccentricities similar to those of St. Patrick. To me, his end-of-period post-rattling was reminiscent of former Flyer Ron Hextall, who used to wield his goalie stick like a samurai sword around the cage.

Holtby made several quality stops, showed good reflexes, and has well above average stick-handling skills for a goalie. He shoots the puck and moves it much better than either Michal Neuvirth or Semyon Varlamov. Bruce Boudreau gave Neuvirth the day off, and Holtby rewarded him with another win.

There was little he could do to stop Nikolai Zherdev in the first period. Zherdev oozes with talent and his snapshot was the perfect finish to a 2-on-1 break. Ville Leino deflected an Andrei Meszaros slapper in the second, but that would be Phillys last strike.

Bobrovsky was very impressive as he tried to equal the late Pelle Lindberghs rookie record for consecutive wins by a Flyer goalie. Out of obscurity, the man they nickname Bob has the look of a winner. He stays very square to shooters, has excellent footwork, and by many accounts is a solid pro even at the tender age of 22.

Caps winger Eric Fehr has one of the best wrist shots on the team, and he showed Bob who was boss in the first period. Alex Semin converted a pretty feed from Nick Backstrom on the power-play to tie it at two in the second.

Semin now has goals in four straight games, as does Green, who appears to be very confident at the moment. Hes handling the puck extremely well in traffic, there arent very many bobbles, and when he shoots the puck lately its just exploding off his stick.

The Flyers present a number of match-up problems with their fine compliment of forwards. I thought the Caps did a nice job defensively, and I was especially pleased by the blueline pair of John Carlson and Karl Alzner.

Lets hope Brooks Laich is okay. He did not move off the Caps bench in the third period. After the game, Bruce Boudreau said that he had suffered an upper body injury.

The Caps take on the New York Rangers Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. Its a 7:30 p.m. start with coverage on Versus. See you then!