Beninati: Oh Henrik!

Beninati: Oh Henrik!
March 17, 2011, 5:58 am
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Thursday, March 17, 2011 2:10 a.m.
By Joe Beninati

Take your pick. It could be Lundquist or Sedin or Zetterberg. All of them Henriks, and all have played a role in stopping the Caps this season. Tonight, the Henrik who works in Detroit helped put an end to the Capitals nine-game win streak.

Prior to this match-up, Zetterberg had done very little in the month of March. A number of the Wings top players hadnt been producing up to par lately, but Zetterbergs game awakened just in time for a visit from Washington.

The Wings have not been their usual invincible selves at Joe Louis Arena this winter. They had lost six of their last 10 home dates, but the more 20,000 fans who came to see the Caps knew they were in for a good night when Zetterberg broke the seal on the scoring in the first period.

He was parked 30 feet in front of Michal Neuvirth and unleashed a wicked one-timer that beat the Caps rookie over the catching glove.

Neuvirth was playing for the first time since he left at the end of the first period in Tampa, a game in which he was dinged in the head by Nate Thompson.

Jimmy Howard was in goal for Detroit this evening. Earlier in the day he spoke about his only previous encounter with Alex Ovechkin, back in 2003 at the World Junior Tournament in Halifax. Howards Team USA was scorched by Ovechkin and Team Russia in that tournament, and the great eight would bring back bad memories for Howard again tonight.

John Carlson was the first Cap to punch one past Howard. He blasted a slapshot on the shortside to tie the score at 1-1, just 33 seconds after the initial Zetterberg goal.

Brian Rafalskis return to the line-up was a profitable one for Detroit. He picked up the first of his three assists on the night with a slap-pass to Valteri Filpulla, who timed his move through the slot perfectly to connect with the feed of Rafalski.

The Caps would squander their chances on the power-play tonight, and it turned out to be one of the reasons for their downfall.

Ovechkin tied the score in the middle period with one of his pet moves. He raced in one-on-one against Brad Stuart and, while using the defender as a screen, snapped a shot with tremendous force through the legs of Stuart, off the crossbar and into the net, leaving Howard helpless.

But Detroit would earn the win thanks to its own power-play success. Zetterberg worked down his off-wing, and when it appeared he no longer had much of a shooting angle, he still managed to sneak a backhand off Neuvirths shoulder and mask and into the goal. It was the type of goal that netminders hate giving up.

The Caps last chance to tie came from an Alex Semin long-range missile that rattled off the cross bar with about 13 seconds left. It fell harmlessly to the side of the goal as the Wings and their fans breathed a sigh of relief.

The team is on its way to New Jersey for a Friday night showdown with the remarkable Devils, who have been on an unimaginable hot streak. You can catch all the action on CSN at 7pm.