Saturday, January 23, 2010
By Joe Beninati
Wow! That was an exceptional week of hockey. The Caps showed me something very special this evening. Any club would have been set up perfectly for a letdown after disposing of their arch rival 48 hours ago. After producing wins over Philly, Detroit and Pittsburgh, the home team had enough left in the tank to hold off a hard-working Phoenix team.
Let's give credit to the Coyotes before we heap praise on the Capitals. For a team saddled with so many off-ice distractions concerning their ownership, Dave Tippett's team sure doesn't let it affect them on the ice. They work their tails off, they're well-coached, they have an imposing netminder, and they received a pair of goals from Lauri Korpiskoski, but they still came up short. The main reason why is named Alex Semin. He has been blessed with an insane arsenal of skills, and when he puts his mind to it, he can dominate a game like few others. He had the puck on a string all night long. When it was all done, he factored in on all 4 DC goals, scoring one of them with his patented wrist-shot from close range.
The Washington power play received a work out this evening, and as usual they helped deliver in the clutch. Two more power play goals from the number one ranked unit in the NHL put the home team ahead. For a while, it appeared as if Phoenix forward Vernon Fiddler would ruin those extra man opportunities all by himself. Michael Neuvirth robbed him on a short-handed breakaway in the first period. The young Cap's goalie looked very secure late in regulation when the Coyotes were buzzing around the crease. The defense was stable in front of Neuvirth, only looking scrambly a couple times.
The word of the day for the Capitals was patience. They knew the Coyotes were going to be bunched up tight defensively. Washington did not fall into the Phoenix trap. They kept their poise and remained patient, and that type of safe performance earned them a win. Great to see Eric Fehr and Brooks Laich convert on the power play. Nice to see John Erskine back on the blue line. This club is the talk of the NHL right now, and it's thrilling for all of us at Comcast SportsNet to be part of it. See you Tuesday on CSN Plus from Long Island.